Dedicated memory care facilities are rare. Properly staffed and well managed Memory Care Communities are even rarer. We will explore why that is the case in this blog post. To start, let’s define what a Memory Care Facility or memory Care Community is.
What is a Memory Care Community?
A Memory Care Community is Licensed by the Community Care Licensing Division (CCLD) of the Department of Social Services. Its license is the same as any other Assisted Living Community (RCFE). The requirements by this licensing agency are different however, for a Memory Care Community. In order to market oneself as a “Memory Care” or “Dementia specific Community” under an Assisted Living license there must be additional Dementia specific training for the caregivers annually. Since many dementia residents wander, become agitated when restricted from wandering and are at risk for falls, additional safety protocols and physical plant modifications are viewed as the standard of care for these residents. It becomes a delicate balance between allowing a resident to wander and preventing them from injuring themselves or others.
What’s the Difference Between Assisted Living Communities and Dedicated Dementia Care Facilities?
In larger Assisted Living Communities there is almost always a “dedicated” area for Dementia residents. The entrance and exit to these areas is secured by a code. Many times the space in these areas is limited and wandering residents can feel trapped or crowded by other wandering residents. They often dine separately from non-dementia residents, even if the mildly cognitively impaired spouse lives in the same facility he/she would be required to eat on the Dementia wing side of the door.
For Dementia Residents their wellbeing and quality of life can be negatively impacted if their physical environment is confining or restrictive. These residents may be more difficult to redirect and may require more sedative medications in order to relax. These medications in turn increase the risk of falls and families notice mom or dad is “always sleeping”.
Dedicated Memory Care Communities like Olivenhain Guest Home have a lot of space to allow safe wandering and relaxing visits with family members without being constrained to a Memory Care Unit. Specially dementia trained staff are better equipped to deal with redirection and fall prevention. Mats with alarms are installed bedside and activated whenever the resident is in bed. When combined with chair alarms while the resident is out of bed they can alert staff that the resident is on the move and allow time for the caregiver to come to their assistance hopefully before they fall.
Dementia Residents require much more care than the average Assisted Living Resident. Mixing dementia and non-dementia residents requires modifying the physical plant to the point where cohabitating as spouses is impossible.
If your loved one suffers from dementia you would be well served focusing your search on Dedicated Memory Care Communities. At Olivenhain Guest Home, we have dedicated dementia and Alzheimer’s care for our residents. The care includes researched programs to stimulate cognitive abilities, specially trained staff, a lush space, an ADA-compliant building, and more. To see if your loved one would be a good fit for our facility, please send us a message or give us a call today.