Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death for Americans. With no proven methods to reverse, prevent or cure the disease, it is perhaps one of the most frightening ailments affecting seniors today. There are an estimated 83,000 Orange County residents with or at risk for developing Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. With the increasing number of baby boomers entering their senior years, many of us will be friends and family members to this growing population of seniors who may slowly lose their ability to remember things, perform basic tasks and care for themselves. Because of the degenerative nature of the disease, as symptoms progress, it becomes unsafe for most people to live alone, and many will require full-time supervision.

Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, regardless of what stage, can be physically and emotionally taxing. Full-time support is almost always needed for everyday tasks, and as demand increases, it often becomes overwhelming for a loved one to continue to provide this care effectively.

Fully understanding the disease and providing quality care and assistance based on that understanding is the only way to help those diagnosed live a content life as the disease progresses.

For many families, this often means finding an assisted-living community that provides specialized care, referred to as “memory care.”
Memory care communities provide a combination of tailored social programs and assisted care, which allow residents to receive help with the daily living activities they no longer are able to perform themselves, as well as engage in a community where they continue to be valued.

This past summer, Orange County welcomed its newest memory care facility in Brea called Villagio. Developed by Oakmont Senior Living, the 40-unit community offers specialized wellness programs and services tailored to address the physical, mental, social and emotional needs of its residents.

Villagio, now 60 percent occupied with local residents, is meeting demand for memory care services needed to support Orange County’s growing senior population.

Activities at the facility can range from fitness classes, arts and crafts, and social gatherings to customized hobbies that reflect the interests and past life of each resident, such as listening to music, looking at old photos and caring for a pet.

By offering a safe, healthy and nurturing environment, families can rest easy knowing that their loved ones are being cared for.

– Jamie Escoubas is vice president of resident services for Oakmont Management Group. Escoubas has more than 15 years of experience developing programs and services for individuals with dementia.