The Alzheimer’s Association defines dementia as an umbrella term for loss of memory, language, problem-solving and other thinking abilities that are severe enough to interfere with daily life. And these cognitive functions are often where families first notice symptoms in their family member such as forgetting important dates or events, repeatedly asking the same questions and/or having difficulty completing familiar tasks. But even with a dementia diagnosis, families often don’t initially consider the physical effects. Yet, dementia can have a significant impact on physical health as well. Learn how and why the right support for physical health in memory care is so important to your family member’s quality of life.
How Dementia Affects Physical Health
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, accounting for 60-80 percent of cases per the Alzheimer’s Association. This type of dementia is progressive meaning the signs start out slowly and gradually get worse. Alzheimer’s typically progresses in three general stages: early, middle and late. While each person’s journey is different, likely you can expect physical effects to begin in the middle stages and include:
- Trouble controlling bladder and bowels
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Problems with coordination and balance
Later, Alzheimer’s can cause:
- Difficulty walking, standing and/or sitting
- Difficulty chewing and swallowing
- Vision changes and loss of peripheral vision
There are a number of ways in which memory care can help improve quality of life. This underscores the importance of early diagnosis combined with specialized support to give your family member the most benefit for the longest amount of time.
Physical Health in Memory Care
Memory care is a type of senior living designed exclusively for those with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. It features specially trained staff, 24-hour support and a safe, comfortable environment. While traditional care ensures the physical needs of residents are being met, our exclusive SYMPHONY OF LIFE® program takes it a step further.
We serve physical health and wellbeing through:
- Balanced Diet and Nutrition – Weight loss is common among seniors with dementia so we use red plates, a color proven to stimulate appetite, plus weighted cups and easy-to-grip silverware to encourage independence by making it easier to enjoy meals.
- Engaging Life and Participation – Stimulating daily activities and events including a fitness program designed to promote better balance, maintain core strength and improve quality of sleep as well as physical and occupational therapy.
- Peace of Mind and Security – A secure environment and easy-to-navigate layout that uses way-finding colors to foster independence and increase safety, as well as a familiar daily routine, often with the same caregivers to build strong, trusting bonds.
- Medication Management and Activities of Daily Living – Beyond assistance with medication and daily living tasks such as bathing, grooming and dressing, our team also participates in specialized dementia simulation training. This experiential approach, backed by research, provides a more realistic understanding of what it’s like to live with dementia. The benefit is that it not only creates more compassion and empathy; it also empowers our team and creates success because they’ve ‘experienced’ what matters most in supporting our residents.
- Wellness – Opportunities for music, art and/or pet therapy as research has shown they can help to reduce agitation and other common behaviors experienced by those with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Residents enjoy an active social calendar as well to help them stay engaged and connected.
Symphony of Life® Memory Care Supports the Whole Person
The SYMPHONY OF LIFE® memory care program is an intentionally-orchestrated lifestyle experience designed to nurture the whole person so they can be more active and engaged with opportunities to thrive in every aspect of life.
Our team and community view each day like an elaborate musical score. Designed to bring harmony to every movement and activity of community life, our approach is dedicated to enriching each resident in body, mind and spirit and throughout the entire community of family, friends and support services. That’s what makes our memory care program ideal for those with dementia as it encourages and stimulates mental acuity, in addition to physical wellbeing. It’s also what makes us different from traditional memory care.
SYMPHONY OF LIFE® is a registered trademark of 12 Oaks Senior Living.