While an Alzheimer’s or dementia diagnosis is heartbreaking enough, realizing that your loved one needs care beyond what can be provided at home is likely the very last thing you wanted for them. But you can take comfort in the fact that there is a type of senior living that’s specifically designed to support and nurture those with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. It’s known as memory care and here’s what you can expect.
Understanding Memory Care
Senior living communities that offer memory care do so with specially-trained staff that provides individualized support in a safe environment with 24-hour supervised care and opportunities for your loved one to be active, find purpose and continue to experience joy.
What to Expect in Memory Care
Not all memory care communities are alike. While some may offer more or less and/or have areas in which they specialize you can typically expect the following:
- 24-hour supervised care
- Private or semi-private accommodations
- Three daily meals and snacks
- Medication management
- Assistance with daily tasks such as bathing, dressing and eating
- Cognitive and physical therapy
- Fitness programs
- Structured social activities
- Housekeeping and laundry services
Your Memory Care Options
There are two types of settings in which memory care is most commonly offered.
A Neighborhood or Unit within an Assisted Living Community
This setting offers similar accommodations and services as a stand-alone environment; however, advantages include:
- Your loved one may be able to begin in traditional assisted living and transition into memory care later.
- This option may enable couples (one person with dementia and the other without) to remain together without the burden of caregiving.
- In a smaller neighborhood, the number of residents may be less.
- You’ll have access to assisted living amenities and programs.
Stand-Alone Memory Care
These communities are designed for those with dementia alone. Everything in the community has the specific needs of seniors with Alzheimer’s and dementia in mind including:
- An easy to navigate layout that’s also more secure in order to prevent wandering.
- Use of color and lighting that creates a calm, relaxed environment.
- A daily structure that’s familiar, often with the same caregivers.
- A lower staff to resident ratio to allow for more individualized care.
Benefits of Memory Care
The uniquely focused environment of a memory care community not only gives your loved one a number of benefits, it also gives you peace of mind that they are receiving the care and enrichment they need in addition to the dignity, respect and understanding they deserve.
The staff’s specialized training includes a deeper understanding of dementia and its effects on the brain, how to care for the specific needs of those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, techniques for managing challenging behaviors and effective communication strategies.
This could include sensory stimulation, cognitive therapies, physical and occupational therapies and exercise. Your loved one will have plenty of opportunity to interact socially as well.
Many communities also offer music and/or art therapy as research has shown they can help to reduce aggression and agitation for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Your loved one will enjoy nutritious options that are easy to chew and may include finger foods to promote independence in an intimate environment where they can feel comfortable and relaxed. Dining assistance is also often available. For more information on our memory care options, contact us today to schedule a tour.