Is senior assisted living or dedicated dementia care more suited for my loved one?

It is not an easy decision to make when the time comes for you to move an aging loved one into a care facility. There are so many aspects to consider and your options can often overwhelm or confuse you, making it even harder to decide what is best for your family. Not only is the idea of moving, or the actual move, difficult for the family making the decision – but also the loved one being moved from their home that they’ve known so well. This is why it is so important to make the right decision once to avoid needing to move them again should it not work out.

There are a few options available to you, but two of the most popular options are senior assisted living and dedicated dementia care. Both senior assisted living and dedicated dementia care facilities offer the basic services like access to medical care, emergency call systems, health and exercise programs, housekeeping, laundry services, social activities, 24/7 supervision, security, three daily meals, and transportation.

Your loved one’s specific needs will determine which type of care is more appropriate. While many care facilities that offer assisted living do have memory care units on-site, it is not synonymous with the care and services provided by a dedicated dementia care facility.

 

The difference between senior assisted living and dedicated dementia care

Senior assisted living is ideally suited for those who are still quite active but cannot safely live independently. They would need assistance for everyday activities like getting dressed, bathing, eating, managing their medication, and transport. Senior assisted living facilities provide 24/7 care but their residents still have a lot of independence. They are designed to keep that feeling of independence with apartment-style living, restaurant-style dining, and social spaces where arts and crafts as well as board games are available for residents to partake in.

 

A dedicated dementia care facility is designed with the needs of people living with Alzheimer’s and dementia in mind in a number of ways. Specialised, long-term nursing care for age-related issues like Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other types of memory problems is provided 24/7. Structured activities or programs are designed to nurture the residents and provide them with stimulation and fulfillment. Meaningful activities are of the utmost importance to those living with Dementia. Dementia can cause people to withdraw from activities and enjoyable interaction with family and friends so it’s important to try and maintain those relationships and interests to help people living with Dementia lead a better and more enjoyable quality of life.

It is imperative for the person with dementia to be stimulated with appropriate activities, outings and creative endeavours, as these can assist in preventing them from becoming frustrated, lonely and depressed. It can furthermore assist in supporting the individual’s memory, keep them engaged within the family and community for as long as possible, and meaningfully improve quality of life.

Even the physical layout of the environment they live in is designed to suit the memory impaired. A great risk for those with memory-related problems is wandering off; it can be a very frightening thing for both the loved one and their family should they leave their place of safety and get lost. Dementia care facilities such as Livewell Villages, have 24/7 security that ensures that your loved one is safe and sound. The physical layout of these kinds of facilities are often designed to be easier to navigate, with circular walkways, consistent lighting (less shadows), and access-controlled exits.

 

How to choose what is best for your loved one:

If Alzheimer’s disease or dementia are not an immediate risk or concern for your loved one, and they are still quite independent (it is not difficult for them to navigate stairs at home or if driving does not pose a risk) then assisted living might be fine for them for now.

However, if your loved one needs more complex care associated with memory impairment, then you need to look at dementia care facilities. While many senior assisted living facilities have memory care units, they are nowhere near as suited to looking after your loved one as a dedicated facility.

A dedicated dementia care facility such as Livewell Villages have a specialised team who focus specifically on the needs of memory care residents. Our tranquil Villages located in Somerset West and Bryanston are also equipped for younger dementia residents with early onset dementia. We craft an individualised dementia care plan for each resident and take into account their age, cognitive function, hobbies, interests, dislikes and more. This ensures that your loved one will still enjoy the things that they once liked. If your loved one is still high functioning, our friendly companions and qualified team can accompany them on personalised outings such as visiting a museum or going to the theatre.

It should be a lot more clear now whether your loved one is in need of dedicated dementia care or whether they can join an assisted living facility. If you still need more information as to whether you are making the right decision for your loved one, Livewell Villages can help you and your family figure out a plan together. Please contact us for more information.

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Arrive as family, live with dignity and purpose.

Since 2011, the Livewell Group has been at the forefront of dementia and Alzheimer’s care in South Africa. We are motivated by a personal and heartfelt concern for the dignity and care of our elders and our efforts continue to be encouraged by the strong market need for specialised individual care.

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