Typically, as seniors age and require some level of assistance with activities of daily life they initially look to move into an assisted living community. Once someone receives a memory impairment diagnosis, such as Alzheimer’s Disease, Dementia or even Parkinson’s, determining when to make the move into a memory care assisted living community is often difficult, but it doesn’t need to be. Below are some of the key differences between assisted living and North Woods Village, a memory care assisted living community.
- Design- North Woods Village is architecturally designed specifically for those with memory impairments. The two dominant concerns addressed by our building design are wandering and security. At North Woods Village all our exits are secured and monitored. Our apartment homes are each designed with their own entrance to maintain privacy and a homelike aesthetic. Our building is circular in design to mitigate abrupt end points in the hallways. This encourages safe wandering and reduces stress and anxiety in those seeking to exit. We also offer a secure courtyard with a walking path, center gazebo and raised gardens. This allows our residents to enjoy an outside space that is safe, allows for outdoor exercise, meditation, family visits and garden therapy for those with mobility challenges.
- Care- Medication management is included as part of our baseline care at North Woods Village. We recognize seniors with memory impairments are not able to safely ensure they are taking their correct medications at the correct times. Typically, this service is an additional charge at most assisted living communities. We also employ Certified Dementia Practitioners who are specially trained on the dementia disease process and how best to interact and care for residents with dementia regardless of where they are in their journey. This includes how to manage a variety of behaviors whether it is sundowning, refusing to eat or get dressed or even more aggressive behaviors. Our team members know how to communicate effectively with individuals that have dementia and their family members.
- Dining and Nutrition- Meal time is very important for those with dementia and a successful dining experience typically involves activating all the senses. At North Woods Village, each neighborhood has their own dining room and country kitchen. This allows for a more intimate dining experience including the ability for staff to stay more closely in tuned to each residents’ nutrition. As residents age in place, we can also assist them with cutting their food or providing nutritious meal replacement options, should those ever be required. Unlike your typical assisted living community, North Woods Village use color plates to stimulate appetites and to help residents better identify food on their plates as food placed on white plates can often appear lost to those with dementia.
- Cuing and Safety Measures- At North Woods Village we structure our programming to help take “remembering” out of the equation. We assist our residents each morning with their wake-up routine and help them get ready for breakfast and the rest of the day. Each day can be different, so we assist them with their activities of daily living as needed and when needed. We make sure they join us in the dining room for each of their meals and can provide feeding assistance if ever needed by adding additional care packages to permit the resident to age in place versus transferring to another community. We encourage our residents to join activities, using their life history to get them engaged and help maintain their socialization. In most assisted living settings, residents have to remember to go to activities and meals as most communities don’t typically provide those consistent daily reminders and cues.
- Technology- We also utilize technology to augment our care. All of our bathrooms are equipped with motion sensing technology to alert our nursing staff when a resident is in the bathroom as a safety alert when needed. We can also incorporate that same motion sensing technology with the use of a special sensing pad placed under the bed sheets. Both of these alarms are silent to the resident but alert our nursing staff of irregularities. Families that live out of town can also interact with their loved one through video conferencing in our Family Connection Center. This helps reduce stress for both residents and family members by seeing and communicating with their loved one on TV. This advanced form of communication gives family and friends peace of mind knowing that their loved one is safe and happy at North Woods Village because they can actual lay eyes on them even from afar.
Assisted Living is a good first move for most seniors needing assistance, but once they are diagnosed with a memory impairment, moving them to North Woods Village, a community with memory care will help maximize their capabilities and ensure they age-in-place in a secure, home-like environment with specialized activities to keep them functioning and living at their highest quality level.