Dementia is a progressive illness of the brain that impairs a person's ability to remember things, think logically, and carry out everyday tasks. It typically affects seniors, although younger people occasionally get it as well. Worldwide, an estimated 5% to 8% of people over the age of 60 are living with some type of cognitive decline.
Dementia has three main stages. In the earliest stage, people with the condition are typically still able to function well. They may have occasional lapses of memory — for example, they might have trouble thinking of a common word, or they might become disoriented in a familiar place. But for the most part, people with early-stage cognitive decline can still live independently, socialize, and do all the other things they're accustomed to doing.
Symptoms become more severe in the middle stage of cognitive decline. At this point, most people will struggle to live independently and take care of themselves, so they will need a significant amount of outside care. Seniors with middle-stage cognitive decline may get confused easily, have difficulty carrying on conversations, get lost frequently, and have trouble with daily tasks like grooming and eating.
Once cognitive decline progresses to the late stage, people with the condition require almost constant care. Seniors with late-stage cognitive decline may forget where they are, struggle to recognize loved ones, and become unable to walk. Good care can make all the difference in keeping people with late-stage cognitive decline comfortable and happy.
For seniors with dementia (as well as their families), it's very important to find the right care before the condition progresses too far. People can live for a long time after their illness is first diagnosed — often 10 years or longer. High-quality home caregiving can help seniors stay active and independent for as long as possible.
5 Benefits of Memory Care for Seniors with Dementia
Memory care is one of the best home care services for seniors with cognitive decline. This type of care is tailored towards people with dementia-related conditions. Home caregivers are specially trained on how to interact with seniors living with cognitive decline. Memory care involves all the typical things that home caregivers do, such as helping clients bathe and dress, cooking meals, and taking clients to appointments. With memory care, home caregivers also help to stimulate clients' memories by doing activities like listening to music and looking at photos.
Overall, this type of care is ideal for helping seniors with cognitive decline live fulfilling and meaningful lives after their diagnosis. Here are five main benefits of memory care for seniors who have dementia:
1. Living at home is comforting for people with cognitive decline.
Living in familiar, well-loved surroundings is important for everybody, but especially for seniors with Alzheimer's or another form of cognitive decline. Seniors who live in their own homes know where all their belongings are, and they're less likely to get lost or disoriented.
By contrast, seniors who move out of their homes to receive care often find the experience confusing, upsetting, or frightening. Even healthy people would not enjoy moving into a sterile, un-home-like environment with lots of strangers — it's certainly not an ideal way for someone to receive care while they're struggling with Alzheimer's or a related disease. Living at home also allows seniors to keep doing things for themselves as much as they can, which is good for both their brain health and their outlook on life.
2. Memory caregivers understand dementia illnesses.
Not all home caregivers are trained on how to interact with clients who have cognitive decline. A regular caregiver may not know how to calm down a client who is confused and upset, for instance. This is one reason why it is important to hire a home caregiver from a reputable home care agency.
Caregivers at Alegre Home Care receive training that is specific to dementia. Our home caregivers understand cognitive decline and its symptoms very well, and they have specifically learned how to help clients who are forgetful or who need a lot of assistance to function. With memory care, a home caregiver doesn't just help seniors carry out the activities of day-to-day living — they also help their clients stay active, find happiness in the everyday, and maintain some independence for as long as possible.
3. Cognitive decline progresses more slowly in seniors with proper care.
Cognitive decline may be progressive and incurable, but that doesn't mean it cannot be fought. Seniors who live a healthy lifestyle and continue to do things for themselves have slower rates of cognitive decline (and much better quality of life) than seniors who simply give up after their diagnosis.
Receiving care at home is a great way for seniors to maintain some control over their lives and continue doing their favorite activities, whether that means cooking, taking walks around the neighborhood, or simply puttering around the house.
4. Caregivers with memory care training know how to unlock memories in their clients.
Memories are precious — a person's memories help to shape their identity. Home caregivers who are trained in memory care are able to help seniors hold on to and enjoy their memories for as long as possible, which then helps them to feel happier and more secure. Home caregivers may use a client's favorite music to unlock their memories, or they might help their clients reminisce by asking them questions about the past. Affirming a senior's memories and sense of self can help them feel like their life has been meaningful.
5. Home care services help seniors and their families stay close.
It's ironic, but family caregiving can actually drive a wedge between seniors with dementia and their families. Caring for an ill loved one is a heavy responsibility, and many family caregivers feel stressed or burned-out all the time. Hiring a professional home caregiver helps relieve some of the pressure on family members. This, in turn, helps seniors and their families maintain healthy and close relationships.
The Best Home Care Services in California
With the right care, seniors with dementia can continue living well for years after their diagnosis. Home care services are typically the best choice, since living normally in a familiar environment is important for seniors with this condition. Memory care at home can help seniors living with dementia to enjoy their time in peace, dignity, and happiness.
Memory care at Alegre Home Care is provided by a patient and compassionate care staff who undergo specialized Alzheimer’s and dementia care training on an ongoing basis. If you are looking for the best home care services in California, please contact us at one of our locations!