Is someone you love suffering from dementia? Are you wanting to help them, but aren’t sure about the best way to do it?
Knowing what to do when a loved one has dementia can be extremely difficult.
Many think the right answer is to take care of the loved one themselves, however, this is not always the best idea.
Caregiving for someone with dementia takes a tremendous amount of time and energy. If you have kids of your own or you need to work full-time, caring for someone with dementia becomes nearly impossible.
This is because caring for someone with dementia is a full-time job.
In fact, it is estimated that caregivers spend 30 hours per week caring for someone ages 65-74, and 35 hours per week caring for someone over the age of 75.
Most of us do not have this much time to spare each week.
Therefore, one of the best ways to help someone with dementia is to put them in elderly assisted living.
Some people hate the idea of putting their loved one under the care of strangers, but an assisted living facility can actually be extremely beneficial.
Read on to learn the top 9 benefits of assisted living.
Table of Contents
1. Help With Daily Living
Usually, not being able to help with daily living tasks is the biggest issue family members have when trying to take care of a loved one with dementia.
When someone has dementia, they often have trouble completing normal tasks they once could easily complete. Those with dementia often suffer from short-term memory loss as well. (For more about symptoms of dementia, be sure to check out this article by Seasons Memory Care.)
This means if a loved one is left alone for large portions of the day, they may have trouble completing normal tasks, such as bathing themselves, or they may have trouble remembering if they did something important, like eat breakfast or take a medication.
The great thing about an assisted living facility is that a person with dementia does not have to keep track of these things.
There are nurses on staff who will help them complete all the tasks of daily living, such as bathing, taking medications, dressing, and eating at the right times.
2. Mental Stimulation
Did you know that mental stimulation can be extremely helpful to those suffering from dementia?
While most studies look at using mental stimulation to ward off dementia, there are now actually studies that prove that mental stimulation can help when someone is already suffering from dementia.
One report, from the Cochrane Library (a scientific review board in the UK) analyzed 15 separate studies about the effects of mental stimulation on those with mild to moderate dementia.
Each study involved purposefully engaging dementia patients in mentally-challenging activities. These include things such as doing puzzles, playing strategy games like chess, doing word games, and playing instruments.
In most cases, these activities were done for about 45 minutes, twice a week.
Across the board, they found that patients who engaged in these activities had improved scores on memory and thinking tests.
As an added bonus, many of the studies also reported that patients had a better sense of well-being and improved mood.
The great thing about an assisted living community is that all of these activities will be available to your loved one.
In fact, some assisted living communities even give the option for residents to take classes from local community colleges.
3. Healthy and Nutritious Meals
The food we put in our bodies plays a major role in our overall health.
If your loved one is living in an assisted community, you can rest assured knowing that they are being fed healthy and nutritious meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Plus, if your loved one has special dietary needs, the assisted living community will have no problem making modifications to their meals.
4. Safe Environment
There’s a good chance that your loved one’s home is not built with the safety of senior citizens in mind.
Adding additions to the home that make it more senior-friendly can be extremely costly.
Luckily, when you choose assisted living, you can rest assured knowing that your loved one is living in a safe environment that is specifically catered to seniors.
Features in assisted living communities often included:
- Handrails in the hallways
- Good lighting
- Grab bars in the bathrooms
- No-step showers
- Emergency call systems
Even if their home has all of these features installed, it can still be dangerous if they fall and can’t get to the phone to call someone.
In an assisted living community, nurses will be checking on your loved one around the clock to ensure they are safe.
Did you know that older adults are at an increased risk of developing depression?
Oftentimes, even if they had no previous history of mental illness, depression develops due to the isolated experience of living alone at home.
If your loved one is in an assisted living community, however, they will have plenty of opportunities to socialize every day.
These can include anything from planned nightly activities to social outings to cultural events. Plus, there are common areas in assisted living facilities that makes it incredibly easy for seniors to socialize throughout the day.
Even just having someone to watch their favorite TV show with can make a huge difference in the life of a senior.
6. Wellness Programs
Many people think that old age is a reason to stop exercising, however, it is actually quite the opposite.
Exercise is very important for elderly individuals, for both physical and mental well-being.
Joining an assisted living community can help your loved one stay on track with their physical fitness.
Many assisted living communities offer exercise classes and equipment, and some even have personal trainers available.
7. Lower Stress
Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of elderly living communities is that they help lower stress, for both you and your loved one.
For your loved one, it can be extremely stressful trying to keep up with daily living tasks when dealing with dementia.
As a relative of a dementia sufferer, it can be extremely stressful to be constantly worrying about your loved one’s well being.
An assisted living community helps eliminate these stresses.
Elderly Assisted Living: Are You Ready to Make the Transition?
Now that you know all of the benefits an elderly assisted living community has to offer, you just need to decide on which one is right for your loved one.
For that decision, be sure to check out our article, “10 Questions to Ask When Searching for the Right Senior Center“.