Understanding dementia. What Is Dementia?
Dementia is a general term that refers to a set of symptoms, including memory loss, difficulty with numbers, disorientation to time and place, declines in verbal processing, and a loss of fine and gross motor skills. This decline in brain function can also cause personality changes. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, however there are other types of dementia which all share several common signs and symptoms.
The Effects of Dementia
Dementia can begin with relatively minor symptoms like forgetfulness, but over time as the condition progresses, other symptoms begin to develop. Memory loss becomes more persistent and pervasive, and it will become more and more difficult to complete tasks – even simple and familiar ones like bathing or getting dressed. Both fine and gross motor skills decline over time, and residents may have difficulty walking. Behavior and personality changes can also occur, as well as mood changes that can make caring for loved ones especially frustrating.
Moving to a Care Community
No matter how much you wish you could care for your loved one on your own, at some point, it’s extremely likely the needs of your loved one would be better met by professional caregivers at a memory care community designed for residents with dementia. Moving to a memory care community is especially important if your loved one is exhibiting any of these symptoms:
- An increase in illness or physical symptoms as health care needs go unmet
- Increasing isolation because your loved one gets cranky and anxious even around familiar people and situation
- Hygiene problems – body odor, bad breath or unkempt appearance, or problems with bladder or bowel incontinent that the person can’t manage on their own
- Financial issues – unopened bills, collection notices, any unusual financial activity or suspicion of financial fraud
- Deterioration of living conditions – unwiped spills, dying houseplants, water or smoke damage, or hoarding behavior are all indicators of possible memory loss
- Wandering, a symptom that increases as the disease progresses
- “Sundowning,” a term that describes behavior that becomes much more difficult and agitated in the late afternoon and evening
- Aggression, another common symptom that can occur as the disease progresses, destroying the normal response centers of the brain
Caregiver stress is also an important consideration. People with dementia can be angry, irrational and unpredictable and can strike out emotionally or even physically at those who are trying to provide care. Even when the person is cooperative, repetitive questions and fearful behaviors can be very stressful for the caregiver. Memory care professionals have the training and patience for handling these situations. If caring for a loved one is causing stress or strain in your own family, if you are having financial or employment issues due to the demands of caregiving or if you find the experience overwhelming for your physical, emotional or mental health, moving your loved one to a memory care setting is the best option for all.
Why Emerson House?
You’ll find peace knowing your loved one will receive the care and kindness they need to live life in comfort and with dignity and respect. Our community was designed specifically for residents with dementia and memory problems.
Why Emerson House?
The primary mission of Emerson House is to provide a place where residents may live fully with dignity. Our staff work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, following Emerson House’s philosophy to help each person be as independent as possible for a long as possible. Our four progressive levels of care and three residential environments ensure that each person gets the appropriate amount of assistance with their daily living and medical needs, and our person-centered approach to care means that all services are delivered in a manner that respects the individual’s relationships, life experiences, abilities and preferences.
This person-centered approach to care carries over to activities at Emerson House. Emerson House residents enjoy activities for body, mind and spirit including outings, walks around the neighborhood, exercise, games, discussions, gardening, art, music, pet visits and social events to name just a few. Because contributing to a community has been a part of so many residents’ lives, they are encouraged to participate in any way that they are able. This may be as simple as helping set the table for family style meals, folding laundry or working in the gardens.
Assessment Ensures the Right Fit
The best way to evaluate a Portland Dementia Care community is to make a visit.
Once you’ve seen Emerson House and want to move forward with a moving in, we will schedule an in-person assessment of your loved one. Julia Arnold, our RN, will met with your loved one at your home (or wherever they are currently) to determine the best residential environment within our community and the appropriate level of care for your loved one’s needs.