elderly ladies eating dinner helped by caregiver

Why an Ability-Based Neighborhood Is an Ideal Model for Memory Care

From floorplans to daily activities and philosophies of care to dining options, there are a wide range of elements you will analyze when vetting memory care communities.

What’s important is to find the right fit for your mother or father’s specific needs, lifestyle, and personality.

At The Grove at Oakleaf Village, we create a supportive and loving environment that will honor every resident’s life story.

For example, based on our knowledge of dementia environments, we’ve developed a design consisting of smaller and more intimate settings to best support each resident.

We call these “ability-based neighborhoods.”

In this post, we explain what this innovative environment model of care is and why it’s ideal for individuals living with dementia.

What Is an Ability-Based Memory Care Neighborhood?

Ability-based memory care neighborhoods are vibrant communities made of 10-12 residents.

With the kitchen and dining room at the center, they create a meaningful communal space for residents to build relationships, eat healthy food, and enjoy what the community has to offer.

Dining room

At The Grove at Oakleaf Village, we offer four neighborhoods tailored to residents who are at a similar level of need and ability.

Utilizing our daily rhythms concept, caregivers in these neighborhoods facilitate natural day-to-day happenings, whether they be coffee hours, meals, or other opportunities for socialization and relationship building.

Why Are Ability-Based Neighborhoods Ideal for People with Dementia?

These neighborhoods foster and cultivate relationship-based care in a more optimal way than the generic memory care model you’ll find at other communities.

For example…

  • The neighborhoods have a natural wayfinding system. Instead of residents pacing the hall of a memory care wing, these neighborhoods allow residents to stroll in a natural and circular fashion.
  • The small neighborhood size allows for closer relationships and less confusion and disorientation.
  • The neighborhoods have a homelike environment. Unlike dining halls in many other memory care communities, these neighborhoods have smaller dining rooms where everyone can gather around a table and see what’s cooking in the kitchen.

With each neighborhood’s warm, homey environment and intimate nature, residents are able to connect with each other as well as the caregivers that provide assistance.

Friends Chatting

In addition to web-based training, our caregivers participates in classroom-style training led by a Certified Dementia practitioner.

Our team also works with residents and their families to create two guides that inform the team’s delivery of care…

  • My Ideal Day: This guide covers a resident’s preferences, quick facts, and conversation starters. It’s displayed in the resident’s room and allows team members to seamlessly engage in meaningful interactions with him or her on a daily basis.
  • My Life Story: This guide includes a more comprehensive history that will support improved personalized reminiscing and conversation that honors a resident’s life story.

With their training and intimate knowledge of the resident’s story, our caregivers are able to manage difficult scenarios that are common with people living with dementia and soothe residents in a personalized way.

That said, the physical layout and thoughtful memory care program of our neighborhoods create an environment that focuses on Mom or Dad’s abilities…not disabilities.

Curious to see ability-based neighborhoods?

Schedule a visit to our Toledo community. Or plan a visit to our Columbus community which will soon open its doors.

4 Key Dementia Symptoms Every Adult Child Should Watch For in a Parent

As we age, it’s only natural that our mental abilities begin to change. We may…

Forget where we’ve misplaced our glasses.

Double-book appointments.

Have trouble recalling a neighbor’s name.

With a lifetime full of memories that span several decades, it’s no wonder that our minds eventually lose their sharpness.

However, at what point are these occurrences part of a bigger, more serious picture?

The older we get, the more important it is to be aware of dementia symptoms.

If you’re the son or daughter of an aging parent, it’s advisable to study up on these symptoms in order to watch for and identify them.

The sooner a diagnosis is provided, the sooner you can make plans for the care your parent will require.

Here are four common dementia symptoms to watch for…

#1: Difficulty finding the right words

Perhaps your mother was once a writer or English teacher and has always had a way with words.

One day you realize that she’s experiencing difficulty choosing or recalling the right word to adequately express a thought.

If you notice that having a conversation with your loved one has become increasingly difficult, it could be a sign that dementia has affected her ability to communicate.

Pay attention to changes in linguistic ability, and schedule an appointment with a doctor sooner rather than later.

#2: Mood changes

Imagine the following scenario.

Your father has always been on the quieter and shyer side.

You know he’d rather play chess online than attend the local neighborhood chess club.

However, you notice that he’s recently become animated, talkative, and outgoing.

You may think this shift in personality is odd, but rationalize that his newfound confidence and extroverted nature could only be a good thing.

Of course, it’s never too late to come out of one’s shell, but oftentimes, a rapid change can be cause for concern.

Changes in mood are common with dementia–and making the transition from shy to outgoing is one of the more common indicators as dementia brings about a diminished sense of judgment.

Additionally, depression is also a common early symptom of dementia.

Therefore, if you notice these personality changes in your parent, it may mean a visit to the doctor is in order.

#3: Difficulty accomplishing normal tasks

From remembering what order to put on clothes to recalling how to operate a stove, there are certain daily tasks that we rarely have to think twice about.

However, people living with dementia often experience difficulty completing everyday tasks that once came easy to them.

Specifically, the difficulty lies in remembering the sequence and order of steps involved in these tasks.

Even before your mother or father begins to struggle with simple tasks, you may notice that he or she experiences difficulty completing more advanced tasks, such as balancing a checkbook or learning to follow new routines.

#4: A diminished sense of direction

Let’s say that your father fails to recognize the building for the doctor’s office he’s visited regularly for over 30 years.

Or your mother forgets the route she’s always walked to visit her best friend who lives only a few blocks away.

As Healthline describes, with the onset of dementia, one’s sense of direction and spatial orientation begins to deteriorate.

Recognizing these symptoms and others is important in order to get a diagnosis and subsequent appropriate care for your mother or father.

When it comes to selecting appropriate care, many families find that making the move to a memory care community sooner rather than later improves the quality of life and safety for their loved one.

When it comes to memory care, The Grove at Oakleaf Village is in a league of our own.

Discover the difference today–contact us to schedule a tour of our Toledo community…or explore our Columbus location opening in the summer of 2018.

Discover what we can provide for your loved one living with dementia today!

Caring for a Loved One Living with Dementia

According to the World Health Organization, a new case of dementia is diagnosed every three seconds, and the number of people living with dementia is expected to increase to 82 million in 2030.

These numbers are staggering, and it’s important to understand what this means on a practical level.

As the number continues to rise, more and more families will strive to provide at-home care for their loved one.

According to Caregiver.org, at the moment “about 15.7 million adult family caregivers care for someone who has Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia.”

Providing assistance to an adult parent with dementia may initially feel like the best option.

However, what many families don’t realize until they’ve gone through the process is that being a caregiver for a loved one living with dementia can cause high strain and stress.

In this post, we’re providing an overview of the common physical, emotional, and economic pressures that caregivers of loved ones with dementia typically experience.

Knowing these facts up front will save you and your family a lot of time and stress–read on to learn more…

Emotional ImpactWorried woman with her head in her hands

Providing care to a loved one with a declining mental and physical state isn’t easy and requires a lot of patience and even training.

Because of this, one of the more obvious results of providing care to a loved one living with dementia is the emotional and mental impact on the caregiver.

Family members that assume the role of an informal caregiver experience higher levels of depression, anxiety, and stress than their non-caregiving peers.

Often, these caregiving family members report feeling frustrated, angry, drained, guilty, or helpless as a result of providing care for their loved one.

On the other hand, memory care communities provide skilled caregiving professionals to assist loved ones with dementia–ensuring that family members can spend better quality (and less stressful) time with their loved one.

Physical Impact

Aside from the emotional toll caregiving takes on family members, there are a range of physical side effects to fulfilling these roles.

The risk of poor physical health is possible for caregivers due to the physical strain of providing assistance to someone who can no longer perform tasks such as getting in and out of bed, bathing, and grooming.

In fact, studies have shown that the major factor in a caregiver’s decision to place an impaired relative in a long-term care facility is the family caregiver’s own physical health.

According to Caregiver.org, “caregivers suffer from increased rates of physical ailments (including acid reflux, headaches, and pain/aching), increased tendency to develop serious illness, and have high levels of obesity and bodily pain.”

Economic Impact

Quite literally, caregiving comes at a price.

In a study conducted by the National Alliance for Caregiving and the AARP Public Policy Institute, it was found that “36 percent of the caregivers of adults older than the age of 50 reported moderate to high levels of financial strain.”

First of all, caregivers often need to quit or cut back on their job situation.

According to a report from the Alzheimer’s Association, 57% of dementia caregivers who are employed full- or part-time said they had to go in late, leave early, or take time off because of their caregiving responsibilities.

Additionally, other costs of care, travel to appointments, and payment for services, can add up over time.

The emotional, physical, and economic impact associated with informal caregiving provided by family members of individuals living with dementia is not to be taken lightly.

Many families eventually find that a memory care community is a superior option that relieves caregiver stress and enables families to focus on spending better quality time with their loved one living with dementia.

The Grove at Oakleaf Village is an exceptional memory care community that provides families and their loved ones with peace of mind.

We invite you to stop by and see our communities in person–schedule a tour at our Toledo community or plan a visit to our Columbus community (opening soon) in advance.