In the early stages of cognitive decline, people with dementia or Alzheimer’s might still seem to be their usual selves. In time, however, persons suffering from these kinds of conditions can develop a tendency to walk off unexpectedly. It’s not unusual for a memory care resident to have previous experiences that correspond with this.
At our memory care unit, we understand that if they are not properly and safely looked after, individuals can wander away without knowing what has happened. This exposes the individual with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease to many risks including falls, bone fractures, inclement weather conditions, hypothermia, heat stroke and a general increase in overall emotional distress.
Fortunately, our memory care unit is designed to provide access to the outdoors, community spaces, and private living all within a secure environment. This can bring huge peace of mind to you and your loved one. When we feel safe, we can live our happiest and healthiest lives. For this reason, a memory care unit can mitigate the suffering and slow the degenerative cognitive processes associated with these age-related conditions.
During the early stages of onset, many people are capable of handling some signs and symptoms of dementia from their loved ones, but it's amazing how quickly you — and the disease — can get far out of your depth.
The staff at our professional facility here at Heritage Assisted Living are specifically trained to care for people with dementia and certified to operate our memory care unit. We rotate our staff less frequently so that our clients have the opportunity to see familiar faces and build meaningful connections.
We are also trained to ensure the safety of all our residents. Supervision is provided 24 hours per day, 7 days a week, and all monitoring staff are professionally trained to accommodate the specific needs and requirements of those coping with dementia. Whether your loved one has a tendency to wander or needs assistance in acquiring proper and consistent nutrition, we have the resources, expertise, and compassion to keep them as healthy and happy as possible.
Just because an individual has a condition like dementia or a disease such as Alzheimer's doesn't mean that he or she should in any way be precluded from fun and joy. This is precisely why we structure each and every day in our memory care community to be as enjoyable, stimulating, and welcoming as possible.
In social settings, we encourage and facilitate conversation, provide guidance on ways of obtaining personal growth, and overall stressing the fundamental practices that allow for simple enjoyment of life. We design our programming in such a way so that every resident has the ensured opportunity to engage with peers and personnel in a safe, supportive, and hopeful environment. Thriving is the inevitable result in most all of our residents.
One of the most painful challenges anyone faces as they grow older is the struggle to maintain quality of life. When it comes to conditions of progressive neurocognitive decline, eventually, it is impossible to maintain this quality by oneself. Many times, it is too difficult even with the investment, love, and time of family members.
At Heritage Assisted Living, we know that you want the very best for your loved one. We are also cognizant that you need a certain peace of mind, knowing that your loved one will live in a place where he or she can thrive, enjoy life, stay safe, and socialize among friends and caretakers. That is why we pour all we have into memory care efforts every day, working diligently to make our community the very best assisted living organization in New Jersey for persons with dementia or Alzheimer's.
Memory care assisted living is different than other types of senior care like nursing homes or less intensive assisted living residence. Because those with memory impairment caused by dementia or Alzheimer’s disease present cases with additional challenges, it takes a highly specialized team to help correctly and adequately.
At Heritage Assisted Living, our memory care facility is a special place for seniors with cognitive decline and impairment. Read on here to learn how our designated memory care unit differs from our other senior care or assisted living programs.
It’s not unusual for those who suffer from neurocognitive impairment to also struggle with mobility issues. Whether minor or major in its destabilizing effect, mobility issues can present many challenges.
For instance, those who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease or other manifestations of dementia often forget what a healthy individual might consider to be simple things. The person may become confused, frustrated, or angry when their body does not respond the way it should or the way it used to. Once easily executed motions made without much thought may now take a great deal of mental effort to achieve.
If an individual with dementia pushes themselves too far or doesn’t understand their own limitations, their actions can lead to falls and serious injury. If they are already recovering from an injury such as a joint replacement, a broken or fractured bone, or a dislocation, these factors can all too easily aggravate the injury, leading to painful and sometimes fatal complications.
Specially trained staff know and understand on a fundamental level the challenges these residents face. In our memory, dementia, and Alzheimer’s care units, all staff are more attentive and receptive to the physical needs of those with mobility needs, from mild to severe. Our amenities and accommodations for mobility issues include assistive devices, specially trained nursing assistants, certified physical therapists, and an entire community of compassionate residents willing to help. If anything goes wrong, there’s no need to fret; our memory care team will always have the expertise to know what to do and how to resolve the issue.
In those affected by age-related memory impairment, pain can manifest in a plethora of different ways. More often than not, those who suffer from dementia struggle with emotional identification. That is, they are not aware of what they are feeling or how to express it in understandable terms.
In addition to emotional distress, pain management can be especially difficult when it arises. Pain may manifest in various forms, such as anger or combativeness; this is due to the resident’s sense of helplessness in their situation. It is difficult to imagine how terrifying and saddening this state feels to be in. When one is not able to identify and express their own needs, as much as they may wish to, anxiety and unease are not uncommon reactions.
This intense distress, coupled with the fact that some pain management methods and medications alter the mental state of healthy individuals, can further exacerbate cognitive impairment and confusion.
Thankfully, the nursing staff at our memory care unit are well trained and highly experienced with identifying pain symptoms in patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. We treat pain — whether emotional, physical, or a combination of both — with minimally disruptive methods that will not sedate residents or cause them any more emotional distress.
In our general assisted living environment, most residents require little assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs). While certain individuals may require some assistance in setting up meals, they are generally able to feed themselves without much trouble.
Conversely, when working with minds affected by dementia, it is crucial for staff to remain acutely aware of meal times. Additionally, they must record and monitor how much nourishment a resident is taking in. The basic physiological processes of the body, including hunger and fullness cues, are things that the memory care resident is not always aware of.
For some residents receiving assistance with ADLs, the act of getting food into the mouth may be completely or largely intact. However, depending on the severity of the cognitive impairment, remembering to properly chew and safely swallow the food may be compromised. This is where a specially trained staff comes in, to help remind the dementia client of what they have and have not done in regard to personal hygiene, personal care, toileting, and feeding.
Throughout our memory care community, our dedicated nursing assistants and patient care technicians are skilled, trained, and patient. They have the compassion and the experience to help those who cannot help themselves. Whether a resident needs accommodation in finding their room, getting dressed, bathing, brushing their teeth, or simply drinking enough fluids, we maintain a close eye on each individual to ensure their fundamental needs are taken care of.
When your loved one suffers from dementia, Alzheimer’s, or age-related neurocognitive decline, you need someone that you can count on to provide quality care, day in and day out. At Heritage Assisted Living, we are proud to provide that in our world-class memory care facility. Please contact us as soon as you can to schedule a tour, get more information about our program, or just to talk to a professional who understands what you’re enduring.
When someone you love is struggling with a neurocognitive impairment like dementia or Alzheimer’s, every day can feel like an uphill battle. But despite the challenges, there can also be a great deal of rewards associated with learning how to care for your loved one.
Exhaustion, fatigue, and overwhelming emotions are not uncommon sensations to experience when caring for an individual affected by dementia. You may also feel lonely, isolated, or too busy to maintain other important relationships because so much of your time is devoted to caretaking. On top of all this, the expenses and work interruptions caused by looking after someone’s cognitive health can create an enormous financial strain.
As difficult as giving memory care to a loved one or patient may be, you may be pleasantly surprised to see that your bond is actually growing throughout the experience. In addition, you’ll refine abilities in solving problems, finding uncommon solutions, and practicing considerable patience with others. If there is one gift that can come out of the tragedy of cognitive disease, perhaps it is the compassion one develops in order to keep fighting — and loving — another day.
As much as you may feel obligated to take care of your loved one, try to remember that you too deserve the time to receive support, assistance, and respite. In order to facilitate this, consider setting aside a bit of time every day to do something for yourself and your own wellbeing, whether it is attending a support group of others going through similar difficulties, taking a long walk out in nature, hitting the gym, or reading a favorite book.
You’ll need to look to the future eventually, as much as you may not want to. The best way to prepare yourself for the difficult, upcoming stages of mental decline is by finding a memory care facility as soon as possible and making decisions about how caretaking will proceed as the illness progresses.
Lastly, learn how to communicate with your loved one struggling with dementia or Alzheimer’s. They may not always speak to you in ways that you understand, but try to avoid verbiage that comes across as patronizing, impatient, or offended at their inability to remember certain words and phrases. Communication with a mind undergoing cognitive decline is not always easy, but it is possible, and so long as you use simpler language and practice excellent listening skills, you may be surprised at how much you and your loved one are able to discuss.
About Memory Care
Several characteristics distinguish a memory care facility from, say, an adult day center or a respite care provider, but the most significant is that these units are specifically designed to accommodate the unique needs of individuals suffering from dementia and related conditions.
If you don’t believe your loved one would need the intensive level of care offered by treatment specialists of neurocognitive decline, remember that there are many kinds of assisted living facilities available for seniors. What’s important to keep in mind is the severity of your loved one’s condition. Next to end-of-life nursing homes, memory care tends to be the most intensive and highly accommodating of all senior-centric communities.
Assisted living is a broad term that encompasses care facilities for individuals who may require help in completing some daily tasks, like cooking, cleaning, or carrying objects. However, these people do not yet need the close monitoring and skilled accommodations offered by a memory care or specialized medical facility.
Because their health and autonomy are more stable than persons with cognitive impairment, residents of an assisted living community may live alone or with a roommate to lower living expenses. That being said, assisted living is not totally independent. Like memory care units, staff is available to residents 24/7, usually to aid in tasks like driving, recreation, and various household chores and maintenance tasks.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Medicare is available for some persons with dementia or cognitive conditions that require memory care. If the patient is 65 or older and has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, they are likely to qualify for coverage of inpatient hospital care, some doctor fees, and many prescription drugs.
In a limited number of situations, Medicare will cover up to 100 days of care in a skilled nursing home. In general, however, long-term care is not guaranteed, and durations of stay longer than 100 days are not accepted. That being said, end-of-life and hospice care is most always supported by the medical insurance, especially for persons experiencing the difficulties of neurocognitive disease.
At Heritage Assisted Living, we are proud to call ourselves one of the few memory care facilities that does accept Medicaid.
The short answer is both yes and no. In the early stages of dementia, the affected individual may experience milder symptoms and be able to function completely on his or her own. However, the early-stage dementia will become apparent through increasingly frequent lapses of memory, including inability to remember where objects are located or to recall specific information or names of objects and people.
In cases of middle-stage dementia, at some point a moderate form of assistance will most likely be required. However, this period tends to be the longest, often lasting for years at a time. Forgetfulness will increase along with mood disruption and possible isolation from former groups or social environments. The middle-stage dementia patient may struggle to remember what used to be basic information, even about themselves, like their birthday or address.
Other symptoms include dressing inappropriately for the weather or the occasion, experiencing disruptions to normal sleep habits, and thinking in delusional and paranoid ways. What’s very important to remember about moderate dementia is that this is the period when one’s risk for wandering off and getting lost or hurt can become a viable threat. At this time and when symptoms are deemed sufficiently serious by a medical professional, some form of assistance should absolutely be consulted.
As the neurocognitive disease progresses to its later and final forms, professional care is virtually non-negotiable.
When symptoms of late-stage dementia start becoming apparent to others around the affected individual, it may be time to look into memory care options.
Memory loss will not only affect recall of long-past events, but recent ones as well. Changes in physical ability or independence may occur, such as difficulty swallowing, a suppressed immune system, or having an extremely hard time walking without assistance.
If acts that the individual with dementia could once complete on their own — such as eating, cleaning, bathing, or driving — become too difficult to execute unassisted, there’s little choice left but to look into memory care, both for your own wellbeing and the wellbeing of your loved one.
Dementia and Alzheimer’s are both manifestations of neurocognitive decline that tend to appear in the later years of life. Unless an individual suffers from the comparatively rare early-onset Alzheimers, noticeable symptoms of dementia occur no sooner than age 60.
The primary difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s is a matter of scope, specificity, and prognosis. Dementia refers broadly to the symptoms associated with declining neurocognitive performance in relation to memory, linguistic abilities, and the completion of daily tasks. By extension, Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia, but this particular variety gets progressively worse with time and has no known cure.
Essentially, you can differentiate dementia from Alzheimer’s by considering the former a syndrome (a collection of symptoms) and the latter as a progressive disease.
Different insurance providers will have differing approaches to coverage of memory care. Please contact and check with your personal insurance provider to determine if care will be covered.
So long as the individual receiving memory care is a relative and/or a listed dependent on your insurance claims, the treatment may be tax deductible. In general, you should be able to count the full amount of expenses incurred at a memory care facility on your behalf and receive deductions accordingly.
Yes, Heritage Assisted Living is proud to be a leading provider of memory care services in New Jersey that accepts Medicaid.