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Dementia is not the same as Alzheimer’s, though the two are certainly related. Dementia is an overall term that describes a wide range of symptoms associated with a decline in memory or other thinking skills severe enough to disrupt daily life. While there are many types of dementia, the most common is Alzheimer’s disease, which accounts for 60 to 80 percent of cases.
In other words, dementia itself is not a particular disease: It is more of an inclusive term to denote a whole spectrum of cognitive impairments. As such, those who have dementia may experience it in different ways; but some of the core symptoms include impairment of communication/language functions, focus/concentration, visual perception, judgment/reason and, of course, memory.
At CountryHouse, our philosophy of care focuses on creating moments of joy.
Dementia is also usually progressive, meaning it can start slowly but become more severe over time. Early intervention can sometimes stall this progress considerably, which is why it is important to seek help at the first sign of dementia symptoms. At CountryHouse, through our LifeCycles program we provide the kinds of engagements and interactions that keep mental faculties as sharp as possible for as long as possible, while also providing real joy and happiness each day.
Some minor memory loss can often accompany the aging process, but anything that reduces a person’s ability to perform normal, everyday activities should be seen as a warning sign for dementia. Some examples may include forgetting names and important dates, chronically missing or forgetting appointments, needing to use sticky notes to remember basic things around the house, inability to follow a story, as in a TV show or a movie, and trouble with basic problem-solving, like following a recipe or playing a favorite game. Again, any of these symptoms can be interpreted as early signs of dementia, and the best course of action is to seek a medical consultation as soon as possible.
Most progressive dementias, including Alzheimer’s disease, cannot be cured. However, there are ways to treat and care for those with dementia. That is where CountryHouse comes in. Our community is planned with memory care in mind and is built to provide support for individuals and families who are coping with the onset of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
Our commitment to memory care is evident even in the design of our communities. Each one is made to feel like a home — not a hospital or a medical facility — to cultivate well-being and happy memories. Halls and sidewalks do not stop in dead ends but continue in circular pathways. Staff members do not wear scrubs or other attire to suggest an institutional environment. Instead, we offer a welcoming, home-like atmosphere, complete with familiar daily activities to encourage socialization, cognitive engagement and, in the end, fun for each resident.
At CountryHouse, we are committed to serving individuals and their families, not just after they arrive at our community but also before. We go to great lengths to learn about their day, what they like, and what makes them tick. This process begins before a person moves in, as we take time to get to know them and learn their life story through home visits and other activities. We offer programs to educate families about the dementia journey and monthly caregiver support meetings, as well as Day Club and overnight options. We also help families understand how to evaluate care options and what they can expect from the CountryHouse staff.
We continue working to educate and build relationships after our residents move in. Cultivating strong bonds with each resident is our foremost goal, and we strive to make everyone at CountryHouse feel at home. We also offer ongoing educational opportunities for family members to continue their education, special Family Traditions events and a monthly Coffee Club, where family members can get together to share with and support one another. Family members are also encouraged to visit their loved ones at any time.
Ultimately, our belief is that life for those with dementia is a series of moments — and that there is much we can do to make those moments happy and joyous. Our entire staff takes this belief to heart and is committed to creating these “moments of joy” every day — enriching, engaging and encouraging residents as well as their family members. Learn more about the dementia care services we offer at CountryHouse by contacting us directly.