Over the past decade, Alzheimer’s treatment and research has seen impressive improvements, but not much progress toward a cure. Because technology and innovation has advanced, Alzheimer’s care homes, including those listed below, now have better resources to deal with this disease than they have ever had. With 24-hour on-site staff, including nurses and doctors, these communities are often the best place for dementia sufferers. They also help patients and families deal with the physical and emotional aspects of the illness, with the goal of ensuring that patients live a fulfilling and enjoyable life, while adequately controlling and treating the symptoms of their disease.
Alzheimer's Disease is an incurable degenerative disease that causes the disruption of otherwise healthy neural transmissions between cells of the brain. Also called senile dementia, Alzheimer's type (SDAT), it accounts for 64% of dementias afflicting Canadians. Related dementias include Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, Lewy Body Dementia and others. Dementia sufferers have a number of symptoms including memory loss, loss of judgement, clarity of reasoning, difficulties with speech vocalization and physical movement, and erratic changes in behaviour and mood. Dementia requires treatment and care when it reaches the point where it affects a person's ability to function independently and interact with others.
Many dementias including Alzheimer's Disease are progressive, going through stages of increasing deterioration of function. Some symptoms of the disease (e.g. the tendency to wander) can be dangerous to the sufferer, and therefore, they require the attention of caregivers.
The care offered in memory care homes is administered by dedicated, trained professionals. While long-term care homes (government subsidized across Canada) are often the ultimate solution for families, these homes often have a waiting list. Care homes such as those listed here offer a practical solution for families of those who are in the middle stages of Alzheimer's Disease and other types of progressive dementia.
Many memory care homes offer a specialized environment, designed specifically to help those with dementia. Some of these features are simply not available in any other environment and also make the move into a memory care community especially wise for families.
Some of the facilities and features offered in memory care homes are as follows:
For-profit memory care homes are often used by families as an important stepping stone during the period when they are on a waiting list for long term care homes. While seniors suffering from dementia are in the middle stages of the disease, they may be aware of (and appreciate) the care they are receiving from care staff and family, and may benefit from the therapies offered within the residence.
Dementia sufferers in these facilities may also benefit from onsite amenities such as massage therapy, physiotherapy and personal care amenities including hair salons and exercise rooms.
Care homes offer the most up-to-date, professional care available to help your loved one get safely through each day.
alz.to: What is Dementia?
alzeducate.ca/ includes online courses and in-person training for health care professionals and PSWs, specifically in the area of dementia; this is closely related with the Toronto Alzheimer Society.
Alzheimer.ca/ includes links to many resources for families and seniors dealing with Alzheimer's Disease. You can find local chapters across the country, also.
alzlive.com: online caregiver support resource begun by Dave Kelso. When his mother, Betty, was dying of Alzheimer's, Dave found a dearth of online help for Alzheimer's caregivers; alzlive.com is now the go-to resource for "information, guidance, news, comfort, and advice" for Alzheimer's caregivers.
BrainXChange is a Canadian initiative "dedicated to improving quality of life and supports for persons with or at risk of having brain-health needs related to dementia, mental health and neurological conditions related to aging or have experienced brain health changes earlier in life that are now more complex with aging."
FirstLink helps newly diagnosed people with dementia get the help they need as soon as possible.
Gallogly, Ann Marie. Alzheimer’s – Dementia. AuthorHouse, 2015.