What is Memory Care and Who Is It For?
The process of aging, along with concurrent illnesses, tends to take a toll on our cognitive capabilities. Depending on a patient’s specific health condition, aging could affect their motor functions, complex thinking processes, spatial perception, mood regulation, and even involuntary functions like swallowing (dysphagia).
Since most of our voluntary and involuntary cognitive functions are based on acquired and innate memories, cognitive decline in elderly people is almost always a direct or an indirect result of memory loss. Therefore, preserving existing memories and reinforcing the brain must be a priority for people susceptible to cognitive decline.
Memory Care: What is It?
Memory care is a long-term program designed to care for seniors suffering from neurodegenerative diseases. The help comes in several steps that are built around regular support, medical support, memory preservation, brain stimulation, sleep hygiene, social interaction, mental well-being, and physical safety. Due to the very nature of memory care services, they can only be offered by adequately qualified and trained professionals, inside a senior living community.
Although there are guidelines based on the facets mentioned above, memory care programs are not universal. It means that the facilities offered in the program will vary, depending on two factors:
- The facility offering the program.
- The senior’s particular needs.
If someone in your family has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, vascular dementia, Parkinson’s, or any other neurodegenerative disease, do a quick online search for ‘memory care near me.’ The results will help you find assisted living communities that offer memory care programs near your location. If you are searching from your smartphone, make sure that the location is turned on. On computers, simply add your desired location at the end of your search.
The Vital Importance of Preserving Memories
Alzheimer’s patients in the later stages of the disease may forget how to breathe, which is not an uncommon cause of death among the afflicted elderly. Others may suffer from a permanent case of depression or bad temper, simply because their brains have forgotten how to regulate emotions. Muscle memories are some of the longest-lasting, acquired memories in humans, but even they can be compromised.
Dysphagia refers to swallowing difficulties that a lot of older people must deal with on a regular basis, even if they do not have a deadly neurodegenerative disease. Unfortunately, even dysphagia can be deadly as several elders choke to death every year, just because their esophageal muscles forgot how to push food down. In the absence of a properly devised memory care program, such tragedies would be even more common than they are today.
Memories are what make us who we are. Whether it’s a genetic personality trait that you inherited, a skill you perfected over the decades, or the lifelong experiences that shaped your very being, neurological decline can erase it all. Although we cannot really prevent it yet with certainty, the combined effects of medication, diet, exercise, and memory care can certainly delay the process and lessen its impact quite significantly.