Walk into any nursing home or elderly home care facility in America, and you may be surprised by what you find. Halls full of residents’ artwork, vibrant staff interacting with clients, and a sense of community permeating the facility. What skilled nursing facilities can give their clients goes beyond 24-hour medical care. Senior living facilities can provide their clients a sense of connection and belonging.
Roughly four in 10 clients at any given skilled nursing facility suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, and researchers continue to give the condition their full attention. What they have found is that Alzheimer’s affects the neural tissue in the brain, but also that keeping the brain active can ameliorate some memory loss symptoms. Senior retirement communities can offer elders the chance to dance, listen to music from their youth, and — most importantly — to talk and share their experiences and memories.
Assisted living for the elderly focuses on client comfort and works to give elders a sense of community. Starting to visit skilled nursing facilities for elderly homes needs? Have a chat with staff and feel free to ask them about their field trips, art and music programs, and staff to patient ratios. Nurses should have time to interact with elders and special programs should occur at the minimum of a few times per week.
Despite extensive scientific research, the brain remains something of a mystery. We know that human beings are “hardwired” to learn, and that by the age of two a child has more than 100 trillion synapses running at full speed. By contrast, an adult only has about 50 trillion synapses due to what is referred to as “neural pruning” during the late childhood and early adult years. Scientists have noticed that there are some people whose brains show every sign and symptom of Alzheimer’s disease internally but whose cognitive function remains unimpeded.
The hows and whys of Alzheimer’s have not been figured out yet: one recent study took more than 400 patients’ complete medical histories and did extensive brain scans. Although they are still working on banishing the disease, scientists have come to a few conclusions: activity like playing and listening to music and dancing can make people with Alzheimer’s feel comfortable and happy. Does the type of music make a difference? Clients in nursing care elderly homes respond well to a wide variety of music, from popular to classical, and are often happy to dance with staff and snap their fingers to the beat. Clients can also dictate their memories to staff, who then make memory books for the clients’ families and friends to enjoy: living history at its best.
What is skilled nursing care and why does it matter so much for patients with Alzheimer’s to be in elderly homes? Health care experts know that disorientation can be attendant to every stage of dementia, and having an elder left alone in their home may not be the best thing for everyone. People may joke about having a “senior moment” when they walk into a room and forget what they came for, but Alzheimer’s patients have more thorough — and serious — memory loss. They may forget which month or year they are in, the route to their favorite restaurant, how to drive a vehicle, or whether they need to put on a jacket when they go outside.
Having skilled nursing care staff available to meet clients’ needs can help families feel at ease. The memory loss attendant to Alzheimer’s disease can be a bit startling to elder clients at first: they may find themselves lost or unable to remember the way home. Being in secured elderly homes means that clients with memory loss will be safe. If a senior member of your family is starting to show signs of memory loss, it may be time to consult with a health care professional and the staff at elderly homes in your local area.