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Parkinson’s Care Partner: How a Memory Support Community Can Help

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Finding the right support and living situation for older adults is a big decision. You want your loved ones to feel safe and comfortable. When a health issue affects their cognitive function or memory, it can be particularly crucial to balance respect for their dignity and advancing care needs.

Memory care is a lifestyle program for people with cognitive health problems, including older adults with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. The program includes various services, from supportive therapies to experiences designed to help improve their quality of life.

A memory care community can provide personalized services and experiences for people with Parkinson’s. It can also offer human connection, a home where they feel welcome and safe.

Parkinson’s & Cognitive Decline

Parkinson’s disease typically causes physical symptoms first. But people with the disease often develop Parkinson’s dementia. The first signs may include forgetfulness or difficulty concentrating, leading to:

  • Difficulty speaking or communicating clearly
  • Sleep disturbances & daytime sleepiness
  • Slowed thinking or mental processing
  • Short and long-term memory impairment
  • Trouble planning or completing activities
  • Visual misperceptions or illusions

Parkinson’s disease and Parkinson’s disease dementia cause progressive damage to brain cells. As a result, symptoms worsen over time, including advancing cognitive impairment. Typically, cognitive symptoms develop at least a year after the initial Parkinson’s diagnosis, with an average onset after 10 years.

How Does Memory Care Work?

Memory care communities feature specialized programs, environments, and services. The program focuses on stimulating residents cognitively and physically, so every aspect of their well-being is considered.

The staff has additional training for memory care services, including caregivers, therapists, or nurses. The variety of staff and services can depend on the community’s approach. However, some standard inclusions are:

  • 24-hour care & supervision
  • Dining & meal services
  • Housekeeping & laundry
  • Low staff-to-resident ratio
  • Memory-enhancing activities
  • Medication management
  • Personal care & mobility assistance
  • Secure environment

The community buildings are designed to reduce confusion and wandering tendencies. Promoting safe walking reduces wandering triggers, like the desire for social interaction or an escape from unrecognized surroundings. Areas are clearly identified with proper lighting and reduced background noise. The environment promotes a sense of calm and familiarity.

Memory care facilities have an extra focus on safety and security. Exits and entrances are monitored, usually with a keypad or locked entry technology. Outdoor spaces are enclosed so residents can safely enjoy their fresh air. Staff also monitor residents 24/7 to respond to resident needs as soon as possible.

The low staff-to-resident ratio means caregivers have more time to get to know their residents. They can personalize services and connections. Residents can feel appreciated and safe. There’s always someone nearby they can turn to and talk with—whether there’s a medical concern or they want to share a meaningful moment.

The health-focused activities, events, and therapies can vary. Common memory-enhancing activities include art, music, or pet therapy. For instance, art and music therapy encourages self-expression. It allows people to connect when language or verbal communication becomes challenging.

Exercises focused on balance and retaining independent mobility are often a priority. People with Parkinson’s can experience freezing, needing more concentration to control balance and gait. As a result, their balance becomes less automatic and increases the risk of falls.

How a Community Benefits Health

Memory care communities emphasize stimulating activities and social connections. Unfortunately, people with Parkinson’s can withdraw from socializing, often because of fatigue or diminished confidence in contributing meaningfully to relationships. Yet, human connection is powerfully valuable to positive health outcomes, physically and mentally.

Social wellness is about quality over quantity. Meaningful connections can help older adults feel welcome to participate in their community, friendships, and physical activity. An exercise buddy or group can be a powerful motivational tool. Their neighbors and caregivers can be cheerleaders inspiring them to keep trying or a team celebrating successes together.

A close community can provide older adults with the supportive environment they need to focus on their wellness.

Our 5 Principles of Wellness

Wellness is more than physical abilities. At Fox Trail Memory Care, we believe wellness is living life to the fullest. Therefore, our care-focused program aims to help residents thrive, regardless of their physical or cognitive capabilities.

Our approach is based on 5 Principles of Wellness:

  • To be active
  • To connect
  • To give
  • To learn
  • To be spiritual

Memory care looks at the big picture, aiming to improve the quality of life for residents beyond their physical needs.

Visit Our Supportive Communities

Finding the right level of care can be challenging when you have evolving needs. Memory care can offer many benefits for older adults with Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, or dementia.

Getting to know a community firsthand can help you decide if memory care is right for you or your loved ones. Fox Trail also offers respite care, so you can experience life with us as a temporary resident. Reach out to us today or book a tour to learn more about our connected communities in New Jersey.

Written by adminfoxtrail

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