September 14, 2021
What Is Compassionate Care for Loved Ones Diagnosed with Dementia?Senior Health
Seniors who deal with a degenerative memory disease like dementia face a number of challenges that can make everyday life both difficult and stressful—not just for them, but also for the people providing care to them. Even with an unlimited reserve of love and good intentions, caregivers who look after loved ones diagnosed with dementia may not have the necessary skills or means to deliver high-quality, compassionate care. The truth is seniors facing this type of memory decline require unique, specialized support and assistance to maintain overall health and well-being.
So, what exactly does compassionate care for seniors struggling with dementia look like? What must family members or caregivers consider as they prioritize optimal care solutions? You want to feel confident that your loved one is being nurtured in all areas of their well-being. That means procuring the kind of care that integrates a keen understanding of dementia needs and challenges. Ultimately, compassionate care for loved ones diagnosed with dementia can be defined by the following qualities.
It’s care that’s attuned to individual medical and nutritional needs.
As seniors cope with the effects of dementia in their everyday lives, there are basic needs requiring attention in the areas of medicine and nutrition. They are likely to necessitate ongoing health checks or monitoring by a physician and/or specialists. Many are prescribed one or more medications for the management of their various physical and mental health concerns. These medications or the dementia itself could have a significant impact on their dietary needs or nutritional outcomes.
Therefore, compassionate care for seniors diagnosed with dementia involves ensuring that these requirements are well attended to. Memory care communities offer a greater degree of support in these areas than a sole caregiver might be able to provide on their own. With ’round-the clock staff members working to coordinate with doctors, administer medication consistently, monitor physical and mental health, report on individual changes and follow dietary orders, there’s greater peace of mind that your loved one is receiving the medical and nutritional attention they truly need.
It’s care that emphasizes human dignity and respect.
A dementia diagnosis often precedes or follows other changes in physiological and emotional functions. As a result, a senior facing this type of memory decline may have increased difficulty with activities of daily living, such as bathing and grooming. Or they may exhibit signs of emotional struggle in the form of frustration or fear. In these cases, it’s important for their caregiver(s) to do their best in emphasizing human dignity and respect.
Communities staffed with personnel uniquely trained to afford this kind of compassionate care are positioned to tackle these challenges head on. From ensuring hygiene and respecting one’s dignity across various activities of daily living, to diffusing emotional outbursts and fostering a sense of comfort and calm, memory care communities are well equipped to support these aspects of dementia care.
It’s care that prioritizes personal safety and security.
Memory decline can go hand-in-hand with more frequent accidents, injuries and other emergencies. From mobility issues and forgetfulness to impaired sense of place and direction, there’s an abundance of safety and security risks associated with a dementia diagnosis. What happens if a stove is left unattended and it starts a fire? What danger might be at play if your loved one can’t remember how to get home? Or if they forget to lock up at night? What about shower slips and falls, or accidents that occur while climbing stairs? These are particularly prevalent when memory decline affects medication management.
Memory care communities provide some of the safest and most secure living conditions for seniors facing dementia, starting with fully locked security systems, entrance/exit monitoring and 24-hour supervision. Many are designed with circular walkways that minimize obstacles and make it less frustrating for residents to get around the community. Of course, the ongoing presence of staff makes safety and security for seniors with dementia even more accessible.
It’s care that focuses on human connection.
Oftentimes, a degenerative memory disease like dementia brings on a state of sadness, loneliness or even dementia. Seniors facing these struggles can easily become isolated and disconnected from the people and sense of purpose they once knew. Major declines in emotional well-being have detrimental implications on physical and mental health as well. That’s why compassionate care must include a strong focus on nurturing human connection.
In a community environment, residents diagnosed with dementia have the advantage of ongoing opportunities for human contact, socialization, engagement and support, which go a long way in terms of enabling a loved one to thrive. Staff become intimately familiar with each resident and can recognize changes in emotional state much more quickly, and then identify solutions to bolster emotional well-being. Many offer engaging options like music therapy and organized activities to aid in providing this type of compassionate care.
It’s care that supports the management of ongoing responsibilities.
As dementia progresses and managing daily life becomes more of a struggle, a person’s daily responsibilities don’t simply disappear. Bills can pile up, cleaning and maintenance chores can go unchecked, and other basic tasks can be overlooked. Given these realities, it’s important for compassionate care for someone facing dementia to include routines, structure and assistance that ensure effective management of these needs. Memory care communities generally eliminate the need for residents and their caregivers to have to worry about these wide-ranging responsibilities, simplifying things for everyone involved.
If the aspects of compassionate care highlighted here are just what you seek for your loved one, it may be time to check out memory care communities in your area. Take some time to learn about the available options and get a feel for which one’s approach to care best fits the needs of your loved one. The right community will work to ensure that your loved one can live as independently as possible, reinforced by compassionate care rooted in their individual needs and preferences.
To read more health and lifestyle articles related to seniors living with Alzheimer’s and dementia, check out our blog. For information on how The Springs of Vernon Hills Alzheimer’s Special Care Center provides the utmost in memory care and support for this community, contact us today.