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Dementia is an unpredictable group of conditions that can be confusing for caregivers and seniors alike. Though dementia does get progressively worse with time, that progression is neither linear nor predictable. Most seniors have good days and bad days. Some remain healthy and independent for many years. Others progress very quickly. Even more frustrating, the course of the disease can change with time. A senior who is healthy and independent today could begin rapidly declining tomorrow.

That leaves many caregivers struggling to find care that meets their loved one’s needs. The right senior living community can support your loved one to live the most independent and fulfilling life possible, at every stage of dementia.

Assisted Living versus Memory Care

Both assisted living and memory care offer help with tasks of daily living such as grooming and cooking. At Arbor, both also diligently work to keep seniors engaged and healthy through a wide range of activities and outings.

The key distinction is that memory care is a much more supportive environment, with a strong emphasis on safety. As dementia progresses, seniors may lose basic skills and stop taking basic safety precautions. They might leave a stove on, wander, or forget where they are. Memory care keeps them safe, offering 24/7 support and supervision.

The activities in memory care are also different. They’re specifically tailored to the needs and skill level of seniors with dementia. The goal is to meet seniors where they are, challenging them to expand their abilities without frustrating or condescending to them. By offering a wide range of activities tailored to seniors’ needs, the right memory care community may help seniors remain healthy longer. Regular exercise and socialization may even slow the progression of dementia.

Why Multiple Levels of Care Are Important

Dementia is unpredictable. A community that offers multiple levels of care can meet your loved one wherever they are and rapidly adapt as your loved one’s symptoms change. When a community only offers assisted living and memory care, seniors may have to choose between a higher price tag for care that is more than they currently need and a slightly lower price tag for care that can no longer fully meet their needs.

A continuum of care fixes this problem. Senior living communities like Arbor offer assisted living and memory care in one place, reducing the need for significant moves. Seniors with dementia are often anxious about change. New surroundings can trigger anxiety and problem behaviors. By offering multiple levels of care within the same community, we ensure your loved one can seamlessly transition from one community to the next without the stress of a major move or a significant change in the environment.

What to Look for in Memory Care

A good program prioritizes your loved one’s safety and well-being with a supportive living environment and compassionate, caring staff. Exceptional programs do much more. They support seniors with dementia to cultivate new interests, spend time with friends, and remain physically active. Here are some great questions to ask:

  • Do you offer special activities so seniors have something to get excited about? Our residents recently enjoyed a live Elvis show and a New Year’s Eve piano performance.

  • What regular activities do you offer? Exercise programs? Support groups?

  • Do you go on community outings?

  • Are there nearby attractions for loved ones to enjoy? In Essex County, there’s plenty to do — the Montclair Art Museum, the Mall at Short Hills, and even Tree Top Aerial Adventure Course for the grandkids. Ensure that visitors can take loved ones on a fun outing and enjoy some community attractions.

  • What do you do to offer personalized care? No two seniors are alike, and no two dementias behave exactly the same.  

The Arbor Company has served seniors for 30 years. It’s our calling. Our compassionate commitment shows in everything we do. We would love to meet you, get to know your family, and help you find the perfect level of care. Learn more about Roseland here, or give us a call to schedule a visit.

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Rob Fiorese

About the Author: Rob Fiorese

Robert was born and raised in Bayonne, New Jersey, and now lives in Easton Pennsylvania with his wife, Mary, and son Aidan. Robert graduated from Bayonne High School and went on to college to study Culinary Arts and graduated with his Associate Degree. In addition, Fiorese studied abroad in Holland for six months cooking in a 5-star hotel. Robert continued his education and graduated from Strayer University with a Bachelor Degree in Business Management. Robert served our country proudly in the Army as a Quarter Master. Robert joined after the events of 9/11/01 because it was his patriotic duty to serve his country. Robert has 15+ years of management experience in Assisted Living and is best known for his positive and motivational management style. Robert's favorite part of working in Assisted Living is taking the time to build relationships with residents, families and employees.

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