Three Innovative Approaches To Dementia Care

Dementia differs from common aging symptoms of forgetfulness, where you may misplace car keys, forget a face or name, or have problems finding words- only to remember them later. Dementia involves impairment in one’s cognitive functions, such as remembering, reasoning, attention, and problem-solving. But apart from memory loss, there could also be an inability to live independently.

Dementia treatment varies depending on what causes it. Alzheimer’s, for instance, a neurodegenerative form of dementia, has no cure, but some treatments can help manage symptoms and disease progression. Lifestyle changes like embarking on a healthy diet, having regular exercise, and having a circle of social contacts may also help those with dementia – and prevent those at risk from having it.

Advances In Dementia Care

Dementia is a progressive disease and is one of the leading causes of death globally. It’s also one of the causes of dependency and disability among older people. That said, pharmacological approaches alone are not enough. Non-pharmacologic approaches like memory care, proper nutrition, regular exercise, and other innovative solutions can spell a huge difference for people with dementia and their families.

Furthermore, the following are innovative approaches to dementia care:

  1. Memory Care In Assisted Living

Memory Care is a specialized long-term service available for dementia patients in assisted living facilities, residential communities for seniors, and nursing homes. Facilities like Vivante Living can keep loved ones struggling with dementia safer, provide them with an optimal environment, assist them with their daily activities, and improve their quality of life.

One way to view Memory Care is that it is an upgrade of assisted living because nurses and staff check on the patients more often. This setup helps ensure that the residents have their meals on time, exercise regularly, and prevent from wandering on their own. Best of all, patients can join activities that can help improve cognitive function, whatever stage of the disease is.

2. Technology Solutions

Caring for a family member that has dementia can be an overwhelming task. You’d want them to feel comfortable while giving them flexibility and independence. You’d want to find the balance between assisting them in their daily activities and promoting autonomy and a sense of self and purpose.

While it can be a tedious task, there are technological solutions that can help support people with dementia and aid caregivers in creating a routine and making the process more seamless and manageable. To name a few, these include:

Video calling and other social apps: This tops the list of helpful tools that can help those with mild dementia to connect and remember with family and friends. Smartphones or computers with video calling and other social apps can allow the elders to see, connect, and catch up with their loved ones up close and see how they are doing.

GPS location and tracking devices: Patients with dementia may tend to wander by themselves. This can pose a safety risk, especially if left unnoticed and the elder continues to be without a companion. A way to prevent this is by investing in tracking devices or smart wearable technologies. Such tools can alert caregivers should the patient leave the area and inform them of their whereabouts.

Voice-activated assistants: Family or caregivers can program voice-activated assistants to perform tasks like turning on the lights, adjusting thermostats, choosing entertainment, and the like. They can also set alarms and reminders for taking medications and other activities.

Admittedly, these solutions may not work for those who are technologically challenged or are in the more advanced stages of Alzheimer’s.

3. Memory Cafes

Memory Cafes are nothing new – it is just a concept that’s being given a facelift. These are physical sites where those with dementia, their caregivers, and families can socialize and connect with others with the same condition. Memory Cafes provide families with a meeting spot where there’s mutual support and where they can exchange insights and information with other people about dementia care.

In the U.S., Wisconsin, with 138 memory cafes, tops the list of states with the most meeting places, followed by Massachusetts with 93. On the other hand, there’s also the rise of Café Connect- the virtual counterpart. Technology is a boon as it allows dementia patients to become more social and engaged when using apps for entertainment, information, and communication.

Wrapping It Up

Dementia affects several people, and symptoms usually manifest as the person age. Although there’s no cure for it, there are ways family members and caregivers can manage symptoms and help the patient cope with their condition. And fortunately, today, there’s a greater understanding of the disease, and there’s the development of innovative ways to help and improve the overall quality of life of dementia patients.