Brookdale Senior Living’s national Director of Dementia Care & Programs explains how memory care is provided today — and what to expect for the future — in terms of food. In the July/August issue of Senior Living Executive magazine (an Assisted Living Federation of America publication), Juliet Holt Klinger says, “…we’ve very much figured out how to prepare a healthy diet…now [we’re] trying to turn that healthy diet into something that people really enjoy eating.”
As we approach the year 2050, experts believe the number of people 65 and older with Alzheimer’s could be as high as 13.8 million (currently, there are 5 million affected). The demand for specialized services will follow accordingly, and providers must step up their game to ensure that they are meeting needs in a “person-driven way” and not just through “chemical restraints” (i.e. the use of anti-psychotic and psychotropic medications). Also, as new treatments for Alzheimer’s become available, other changes in the care approach may be required.
These, along with other dementia care related issues (for example, high costs), are tremendous challenges that will certainly keep providers on their toes. But providers shouldn’t carry all the weight: more participation and involvement from family members, community and industry leaders, and healthcare providers outside of the memory care facility will be necessary.
Talk back: If you have a friend or family member currently living in a memory care community, what changes would you like to see?