Do Seniors in Virginia Need Alzheimer’s Care?
Over six million seniors are living with Alzheimer’s in the United States. One hundred fifty thousand of them live in Virginia. Eighty percent of people experiencing the most common form of dementia in Old Dominion live at home and rely on family members to provide care.
The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that if home caregivers in Virginia were paid a salary, it would total over $8.5 billion. Caring for a senior with dementia is a noble task but next to impossible to do alone.
Many people who assume the role of caregiving don’t consider they’re now caring for two. So many caregivers experience burnout and frustration and forget to take care of themselves. The results can lead to not being able to provide for loved ones’ needs.
Alzheimer’s community care in memory care facilities is one solution families choose. The gift of specialized services provides relief and security to seniors living with dementia and allows their families to return to spending quality time together.
What does Alzheimer’s care involve at home?
In the early stages of dementia, a senior may only need medication reminders, meal preparation, and supervision. As memory loss progresses, 24-hour care is required. Caregiving sometimes involves making modifications to the home to prevent accidents:
- Grab bars in the restroom
- Locking cabinets
- Gates to areas with fall hazards
- Installing stops on kitchen appliances
Time spent is one of the biggest obstacles of caregiving. While not directly providing healthcare, the time spent supervising mom or dad is a lot. However, one aspect of care that often gets overlooked is socialization.
Do people with dementia need socialization?
A study in the UK by the Alzheimer’s Society discovered that over one-third of people experiencing dementia felt lonely, and 33 percent reported losing friends and family members following their diagnosis. Senior isolation and loneliness are serious health threats. Isolated lifestyles tend to involve decreased physical activity and can lead to a higher risk of:
- Heart disease
- Stress and anxiety
An article in AARP talking with Monica Moreno, senior director of care and support for the Alzheimer’s Association, mentions:
“It’s not uncommon, unfortunately, to hear stories where individuals have been diagnosed, and their families lose friends…People don’t come flocking to your house bringing you food and checking in and asking to see how you’re doing.”
A strong social network is beneficial to people with dementia. Conversing and reflecting on memories make seniors feel happy, valued, and understood.
Many times care doesn’t come in the form of a pill. One of the best forms of care is being an active listener.
How does socialization help seniors with Alzheimer’s?
Research shows that people with more extensive social networks are less likely to develop cognitive impairments later in life. For people who already have dementia, friendships still play a significant role in their quality of life.
Much of the confusion and anxiety seniors experience comes from feeling misunderstood. In memory care communities like Shenandoah Senior Living, specialized dementia experts possess the knowledge to orchestrate the unique needs of their residents. Still, often the residents rely on their relationships with each other.
Mornings at Shenandoah start with Move and Groove. These group stretching and strengthening exercises have a lot of positive impacts on residents:
- Improved balance and coordination
- Better sleep patterns
- Better circulation
- Improved mood
Physical activity doesn’t only increase heart rates. The brain responds to what the heart does, and with more blood pumping into the brain, new neural pathways can form. It’s one way to slow memory loss.
Residents move and groove as a group to stay on top of their wellness. They have a chance to bond, work together, and form their community.
Explore Art and Build Relationships
It’s common to see senior living communities advertise arts and crafts. For older adults living with dementia, creative pursuits are excellent ways to communicate and exercise the mind.
Seniors who may be non-verbal can express themselves and find purpose through art and projects that are important to them.
Our daily calendar activities include bonding experiences like:
- Worship services
- Baking club
- Music and dance
- Pet therapy
Our activity room and common area present a beautiful view of the Shenandoah Mountains. Residents enjoy each other’s company while looking out at one of the most beautiful views in all of Front Royal, Virginia.
Many seniors use retirement to volunteer their time to projects and organizations. Volunteering provides a way for older adults to stay socially active and feel a sense of purpose.
Dementia shouldn’t eliminate that feeling. The residents of Shenandoah Senior Living warmed hearts and made headlines when they used their time to organize care packages for the Ukrainian refugees.
Our seniors regularly use craft time to do something positive for the Shenandoah Valley community. We love seeing how our residents come together to take care of each other and people worldwide.
Visit a Virginia Memory Care Community
Contact us if you’re providing care for a loved one and would like to learn more about Shenandoah Senior Living. We are happy to answer any questions and be a resource in your journey.