Have you ever considered where you want to live when you get older? Your answer, most likely, is in the comfort of your own home. Almost 90% of seniors would rather age at home than in a nursing home or assisted living. As it is natural to prefer staying and aging at home, it is not always possible for medical or safety reasons. In most nursing homes, seniors often face living in a generic, institutional space that is not familiar to home life. However, there are options to allow seniors, particularly persons with dementia (PWD), to age-in-place comfortably at Dolan Memory Care Homes.
Staying socially active and connected is important for all ages, and strengthens social ties. One study found that frequent social activity leads to 70% less decline in cognition when compared to isolated seniors. While living in a Dolan home, seniors are able to stay near friends and family and remin connected to the community through visitors, outings and many engaging activities. Additionally, the physical structure and social model of each Dolan home encourages social gathering and fosters friendships between residents. When visiting in a Dolan home, you will almost always find all the residents gathering together in one of the community areas.
Maintaining familiar routines and habits is a priority for many PWD and their families. Home is where we are most comfortable-we have our own mattress, favorite cozy chair, and a space that is tailored to our preferences and needs. The familiarity of one’s surroundings helps trigger memories; smells, sights, and sounds to which we are accustomed. Residents are encouraged to bring familiar items from home including their own beds or favorite lounge chairs and to decorate their individual rooms to their liking and preference. Freedom and self-determination are maintained as residents choose what activities they do throughout the day, decide what they prefer for meals, and take advantage of outdoor access in their own backyards.
Additionally, aging-in-place brings a sense of self-determination. Those who have spent their life working towards comfortable retirement should be able to have the freedom to do what they want. Aging-in-place allows seniors to be independent and continue hobbies and activities. Seniors can also continue to have any visitors over they would like at any given time and also plan and eat the meals they like without restriction. Self-determination can also be reassured by being in charge of one’s environment including selecting furniture, changing picture frames, and decorating their space. With the person-centered model Dolan embraces, residents are encouraged to determine the pace and structure of each day based on their own Life Story, preferences and moods.
Perhaps most important about the aging-in-place model at Dolan is the ability for residents to age throughout their disease all the way to end of life in the same familiar comfort of their Dolan home. Most institutional medical models will require a PWD to move to a different setting, wing or perhaps even a new facility when they progress to a new stage of the disease. This is counterintuitive, as both empirical and anecdotal research tells us that moving a PWD as they become more fragile puts them at even greater risk of physical and emotional distress. Many needs and resources that would often require a PWD to move are brought directly into the Dolan home: hospice, physicians, x-rays, physical/occupational/speech therapies, podiatry, and more. The aging-in-place model at Dolan Memory Care Homes empowers residents to remain in the same familiar home and can continue to be cared for by those Care Partners and nurses who know them best.
Dolan Memory Care Homes allows for the best aging-in-place scenario when seniors must leave their homes. At Dolan, we are most concerned with helping people thrive while aging-in-place by maintaining individuality, and freedom. Aging-in-place, in the familiar, home-like environment of Dolan, can provide the nurturing and comforting familiarity of home for persons with dementia. The person-centered programming we use to keep residents engaged provides best possible quality of life.