A Growing Need for Dementia & Alzheimer’s Care Residences
According to the latest United States Census, the nation’s number of seniors who are 65 or older is expected to more than double by 2050 to more than 89 million people, representing 20 percent of the population. The increase in this population will require more senior residences to include or expand memory care programs, which deal with people with Alzheimer's, dementia and other memory related conditions. The need for such housing is projected to increase from 5.1 million in 2010 to 13.5 million in 2050 according to estimates from the Alzheimer’s Association, which will be 15% of such people.
As Alzheimer's or dementia progresses, individuals may develop the need for more specialized services and more intense supervision because they have a tendency to wander, are less able to receive direction and require more frequent cueing or one-on-one assistance from other people in order to keep them safe and healthy. Therefore, adding Alzheimer’s or dementia care capabilities to an existing senior living residence is a way to allow residents to remain in their community and age in place, which is most desirable. According to industry sources, there are currently less than two or three thousand memory care units under development nationwide. According to a marketing director for Sunshine Gardens Senior Communities, “the model of dementia-Alzheimer’s care is the future of senior care because there is a lack of supply.”
Given the greater demand, some predict that many senior living communities will become stand-alone memory care communities, rather than just adding some units to an existing senior community. These memory care communities will be able to be designed in a more purposeful layout. Open layouts and single floor buildings are preferable, along with outdoor space like an internal courtyard with gardens and a walking path. The memory-care communities should encourage senior residents to engage in social programming and sensory activities in a home-like setting.
Features of Memory Care Services - Caring for residents suffering from dementia, Alzheimer’s or other memory impairments generally require:
- Higher staffing ratios
- Various activity areas throughout the community to stimulate memory and the five senses
- Activity stations like “activity kitchens” where residents can fold towels
- Memory boxes located outside the residents’ rooms, which contain mementos that can spark long-term memory and help identify bedrooms
- Outside space that includes walking paths to encourage walking to stimulate leg muscles
Anyone looking to get more information about suitable communities for a loved one suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s should contact Golden Years Living Solutions to learn about the options available. Call us today at (914) 437-8675.