MEMORY CARE/ALZHEIMERS at Diamond Willow
At Diamond Willow Advanced Care we blend all residents together. Therefore a certain percent will be alert and oriented to physical/medical needs. There will be a population with great physical abilities and significant cognitive decline also. It has worked well, as our settings are small, and those with memory loss seem to stay higher functioning longer when they are around those who can visit with them etc.
We also have wheelchair/bed alarms as well as motion detectors to use for those who are a higher risk for falls. Please note, these devices will not prevent or deter all falls, in fact, with or without an alarm, a resident could have a fall with an injury such as a fracture or even death. We care for frail elderly. We care for seniors with osteoarthritis, and medical science proves women are always at higher risk for bone loss as they age. Many times a break happens first and the fall is second.
When I started as a nursing assistant in the 1980’s the standard of practice was to tie everyone in their wheelchair and vest restraint, everyone, while in bed. Granted we likely have fewer falls, but I can still hear everyone yelling “help me” down the halls.
Now fast forward 35 years, and seniors are living longer and we care for a building full of seniors in their 90’s and 100’s. We use restraints minimally; use alarms for some, and sometimes medications are introduced by the primary physician. We have not changed the fact that the disease progresses and decline will occur as a natural event. Therefore, it is essential to have partnerships of trust with family members, physicians, and caregivers to seek solutions for each individual senior.
Over the years I have cared for many with memory loss, dementia and Alzheimer’s. What I have learned in the approach has to be unique, no one person responds the same way. Therefore, we must be flexible and re-approach, willing to change up the plan for the day. (For example, someone may be scheduled to shower, but they refuse as they are tired or didn’t want to, so we reschedule.) Sometimes a resident is agitated and will only respond to certain caregivers. Sometimes a caregiver reminds them of someone they liked or disliked from years ago. So we adjust our routines for care to make them comfortable.