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Ingleside at Rock Creek Blog

IRC Blog
Posted: Wednesday, September 2, 2020

The value of community life for those living with Alzheimer’s

For those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, it’s common to begin the journey at home. During the early stages of the illness, it can be easier to adjust to the changes in a familiar and beloved place.

However, dementia is a progressive disease. The severity of symptoms will continue to increase as the ability to respond to the world declines. Eventually, families may find the needs of their loved one exceed what they can provide. Seeking out the right memory care community is usually the next logical step.

However, if that day comes, this solution shouldn’t be thought of as the last resort. Families often see an improved quality of life for their loved one once the move to a memory care community has occurred. And many will tell you that what they regret is waiting so long to make the decision.

Limitations of home care

Those who have cared for a family member whose behavior escalated often found themselves unable to effectively react. Here are a few of those common situations:

1. Wandering: Restlessness and wandering can occur, causing the person to try and leave home. If successful, becoming lost and unable to recall an address or phone number often results.

2. The caregiver’s health suffers: The stress and strain can cause their own health to deteriorate. They may not be able to keep up with the juggling act of caregiving and the duties of everyday life.

3. Isolation: Living with Alzheimer’s can cause self-isolation. As the disease progresses, it can become too much of a challenge to go out in the world, which can create an unhealthy and lonely lifestyle.

4. Boredom and lack of engagement: Although Alzheimer’s does affect the abilities to participate in certain events, there are still activities that they can still enjoy. Engagement in life remains important but there may be limited resources at home.

5. Threatening behavior: Those with Alzheimer’s can become a threat to harm themselves, the caregiver or others. They may begin to believe that the caregiver wants to bring them harm, especially if they no longer recognize who they are.

6. Sleeplessness: Many who struggle with a cognitive illness get their days and nights turned around. They may sleep during the day and at night become restless. This usually means the caregiver doesn’t sleep well either.

7. Round-the-clock care needed: As the disease progresses, your loved one will need to be watched over 24/7. When this happens, you’ll need to find respite, in order to carry out the daily activities of your own life and take well-needed breaks.

Advantages of the right memory care community

If you’re starting to experience the above situations, you might want to consider a memory care community for your loved one. They are designed to answer and respond to the escalating behaviors of dementia in a compassionate and effective way. Consider these advantages:

1. You are still the caregiver

Some family members hesitate to engage with community care because they feel guilty turning the responsibility over to someone else. But you will still be the primary caregiver in your loved one’s life. You will simply now have help and will no longer need to shoulder the daily tasks alone.

2. Specially trained staff

Knowing that those who care for your loved one are trained in the latest and best practices of dementia care is a huge relief to the family. Many caregivers become concerned that they couldn’t always provide the level of care at home that their loved one deserved.

3. Specifically designed environment

The residences, common areas and outdoors are all designed to help your loved one connect in the most meaningful of ways. The physical space has been created to minimize frustration and confusion. The environment fits their needs instead of asking them to adapt to their surroundings.

4. Social interaction with others

A memory support community is not isolating. They understand the importance of social interaction and relationships. Even those who struggle to communicate with the world still need human touch and contact.

5. Activities and engagement

Memory care communities also understand the significance of providing a variety of activities and ways to help your loved one connect. They are a great resource for the families for ideas on what they might try to create and share meaningful moments.  

6. Safety

Communities are designed with safety and security in mind. Those living with Alzheimer’s may wander and it’s important to address these types of behavior without creating an unfriendly or confining environment. This is their home and all efforts are taken to make it as welcoming and safe as possible.

7. Special therapy treatments

Many communities offer a variety of therapies, ranging from art, pet, light, music, aromatherapy and sensory stimulation. They can help residents express their emotions, interact with others and assist in recalling memories or resulting in a positive change to moods.

8. Ease of mind for families

For perhaps the first time since this journey began, the family may rest easy knowing that their loved one is safe and that if they need anything, there is someone there. Caregivers have carried a lot of responsibility over the months and years and may have had little respite or relief.

9. Family support

Memory care communities offer education, resources and staff availability to help the family learn how to interact or communicate with a loved one that no longer is able to use words. Cognitive illnesses can leave people feeling alone. Knowing that they’re not can be a huge weight lifted.

Ingleside at Rock Creek Memory Support Assisted Living

We understand the difficult decision of choosing the right memory care community for your loved one when home care is no longer possible. But we are here to offer our resources and assistance to make this time a little easier.

At Ingleside at Rock Creek, we work together to provide the best environment and support everyone to achieve a high quality and meaningful life experience. Our well-trained and compassionate staff, along with our programs and beautiful living spaces will welcome you and your loved one home.

Call (202) 905-0018 if you have any questions or would like to schedule a personalized tour today.


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