“When you are taking care of someone with Alzheimer’s, at some point in time, you know little things are going to start getting worse,” says Garry, the husband of a memory care resident at Villa at Terracina, a memory care community in Naples, Florida. “For me, one of those was the first time she wandered. So, I had to make that decision, the hardest decision of my life.”
Maintaining a sense of independence is significant for aging seniors. They want to drive themselves to doctor's appointments, church, the bank or grocery store. They often want to stay in the comfort of their own home, but challenges such as falling and forgetting to take medication can make that more difficult. So, what are some ways to help mom and dad stay home longer while ensuring their safety?
Animal and pet therapy has long been recognized as calming and soothing for seniors — especially those in dementia and Alzheimer’s care. Many senior living communities sponsor animal therapy programs, where residents can interact with animals periodically. While those programs are wonderful, they depend on the availability of the animals — which can be limiting. That’s where Companion Pets come in.
It’s no surprise that caregivers need care, too. That’s especially true for professional caregivers, as Katie Westberg, National Director of Life Enrichment for The Goodman Group points out. “In senior living and health care, there’s a high percentage of stress and burnout in the workplace," she says. "That can lead to higher turnover, and we don't want to see that. We want to take care of our team members.”
“Oh gosh, they are awesome – from the housekeeper to the nurses,” exclaims Wendy Wells, daughter of a resident at Terracina Grand, a senior living community in Naples, Florida. “They really embrace the residents and make them feel at home.”
As life spans continue to increase, more and more seniors are moving into senior living communities as couples — rather than individually. That, of course, is wonderful. At the same time, it can present some logistical questions. Especially for couples moving into assisted living. Some questions may be, “What happens if each person has different care needs?” This is a common occurrence, and there are solutions.
Topics: Senior Living Communities
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, six in ten people with dementia will wander. It is a common occurrence. However, the term wandering isn’t always an accurate description of what’s really going on. Most people with dementia — just like those without dementia — have a purpose in mind when they set out on a walk. It just may be that their purpose gets waylaid.
Topics: Memory Care
“How are you doing?” It’s rare that a caregiver is asked that simple question. People usually focus on the one receiving care, not the one giving it.
If a friend’s mom is in the hospital, people want to know how she’s doing. If a relative is in memory care, the family wants to know the latest news. Yet the caregiver’s well-being is equally as important. It often falls on the caregivers themselves to prevent their own burnout. That’s where respite care can help.
“My advice would be to get as much information about the disease as you possibly can so that you understand the things your loved one is doing and why they are doing them,” says Joe Bonanno, the husband of a resident at Villa at Terracina, a memory care community in Naples, Florida. “Always remember that it’s the disease that is causing them to do that, not the person.”
“When can I go home?”
“What is this place?”
“Why are you leaving me here?”
These are examples of some of the difficult questions that memory care residents may ask their family, friends, and caretakers. To many of us, the questions can feel heartbreaking. However, there are compassionate and meaningful ways to handle them.
Topics: Memory Care