What Is Memory Care Assisted Living?
Caring for family members or loved ones who have been diagnosed with memory-related diseases or conditions such as Dementia or Alzheimer’s requires patience, compassion, and a keen understanding of how to best attend to physical and mental care while preserving dignity and honoring the life story of a senior in care.
A diagnosis of a disease or condition that impacts memory is life-altering for the affected individual and their family. Providing the care needed and managing a safe environment can be a scary, challenging, and frustrating process. Many families seek help through memory care programs and rely on a highly trained medical team and staff to help give their loved ones the daily care needed for a good quality of life.
Memory care is a highly specialized and individualized type of care for seniors with memory loss issues and is especially valuable for individuals with Alzheimer’s or various forms of Dementia. Memory care assisted living provides carefully and thoughtfully designed environments and programs which create a safe environment for seniors who need special living accommodations, cognitive care, and family support to manage memory-related diseases safely.
Understanding what is memory care assisted living and how a specialized treatment program can help you safely preserve cognitive function, independence, and quality of life is vital if you have a family member or loved one diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Vivante Assisted Living and Memory Care believe in honoring the life story of residents with memory-related diseases by providing individualized care plans that preserve cognitive function and create a safe environment where residents can receive the care they need and enjoy the quality of life they deserve. We educate families on the benefits of memory care assisted living programs every day and wanted to share the important details about how it can benefit seniors with conditions or diseases that impact the brain and memories.
About Assisted Living Memory Care Communities
Memory care assisted living facilities provide specialized care, programs, and support for seniors with memory loss, typically caused by dementia, Alzheimer’s, or other memory-related conditions. Seniors with dementia or other memory-related illnesses or diseases need attentive care that honors their life history and uses cognitive abilities still present as a starting point to help seniors thrive in an environment that is designed to safeguard their mental and physical care.
Memory care assisted living typically involves 24-hour care and supervision, daily assistance in activities and appointments, medication management, and unique programs and social activities to support cognitive abilities while maintaining a good quality of life.
While memory care can be done in a dedicated facility, specialized assisted living centers have dedicated programs for all of these services in one facility. In memory care assisted living, the doctors and staff are all trained specifically for this type of care and have the expertise needed to safely manage programs to keep seniors with memory diseases safe and living as independently as possible while engaging them in various forms of cognitive stimulation through activities, socialization, and therapy.
Types of Memory-Related Diseases & Conditions Treated
Memory care assisted living facilities specialize in treating and caring for seniors with dementia and other memory-related conditions, diseases, or disorders. Everything from diet and exercise, to cognitive therapy and medication, to socialization and activities are carefully planned and organized with cognitive support in mind for each patient.
Below are explanations of the memory diseases commonly treated in memory care:
Dementia is a life-altering disease that affects the brain and can cause a significant decline in cognitive function, impacting a senior’s ability to safely perform daily tasks such as bathing and dressing, eating meals, getting to and from appointments, and managing medication properly.
In memory care, seniors with dementia receive personalized care to help manage the difficulties brought about by memory loss and assistance in safely doing daily activities. These assisted living facilities also typically offer unique programs to assess and manage cognitive declines through therapy, medication, and activities centered on healthy cognition.
Lewy Body Dementia
Lewy body dementia is a unique form of dementia that is diagnosed due to the presence of altered cognitive abilities and visual hallucinations. Lewy body dementia can also impact motor skills. Memory care for Lewy body dementia often includes musical therapy and other activities designed to stimulate the sensory system positively. This type of care can help better manage symptoms and quality of life without medications.
Vascular dementia occurs due to reduced blood flow to the brain. It can be brought on by heart conditions like heart failure, stroke, or heart attack in seniors who didn’t previously exhibit dementia symptoms before their cardiovascular event occurred. Memory care helps support seniors with vascular dementia with programs and care for memory loss, confusion, and communication difficulties.
Alzheimer’s is a progressive brain disorder that can impact memory, thought processes, decision-making, and behavior in seniors or affected individuals. Memory care assisted living programs use special techniques to treat and manage Alzheimer’s, including communication exercises and strategies, activities for memory enhancement, and behavioral management.
These programs are designed to support existing cognitive functions and help seniors and families best manage care with guided exercises and support.
Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that causes cognitive issues and hinders bodily movement. In memory care assisted living, Parkinson’s patients receive help to manage symptoms while maintaining as much independence as possible.
The staff also helps seniors with Parkinson’s manage mobility issues with exercise, therapy, and medication formulated to minimize and manage symptoms.
Services & Programs Offered
Memory care assisted living provides special programs and services for seniors with memory-related diseases or conditions that go above and beyond the care typically provided in an assisted living facility that primarily helps seniors navigate daily tasks.
Some of the services and programs offered in memory care assisted living include:
- Specialized programs
- Customized care plans
- Supportive, safe environment
- Medication management
- Cognitive health programs and activities.
- Specialized staff training
- Guided family interactions and involvement.
Specialized Memory Care Programs & Services
Memory care assisted living is designed to provide specialized care for seniors with memory-related diseases, illnesses, or conditions. The highly trained staff is responsible for focused and personalized care to create the most independence and foster the highest quality of life for seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Customized Care Plans
Each senior in memory care assisted living will have a customized care plan that is unique to their current cognitive abilities and needs. Each patient is treated as an individual with care to meet their needs, including medication management, therapy, and guided cognitive activities to foster health and socialization with family and other residents.
Supportive, Safe Environment for Seniors in Memory Care
Memory care assisted living facilities are designed to be a safe living environment for seniors with diseases impacting memory and cognition. Most facilities have security features such as monitoring, safety protocols, and secured doors to help keep patients safe while in the proper care.
Seniors in memory care often need medical intervention with approved medication to help support the goals in their individualized care plan. Memory-related diseases can make it difficult for seniors to take their medication in the proper doses and timing, so a trained staff will help seniors by providing medications as needed and prescribed by doctors responsible for their medical care and wellness.
Activities & Programs Designed for Cognitive Health & Memory
Memory care assisted living facilities offer a variety of activities and programs designed to engage residents and help them maintain their cognitive and physical abilities. These may include memory-enhancing activities, exercise programs, and social events.
Staff Trained in Memory Care
Memory care assisted living is a specialized environment specifically catering to seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other memory-related conditions. The medical teams and the staff are trained in the best practices and protocols and understand how to navigate the challenges of caring for seniors with memory issues, all with safety, respect, and quality of life as top care priorities.
Family Interactions & Involvement
Family members play a vital role in memory care programs and are essential in maintaining a good quality of life for their loved ones. These assisted-living teams encourage family involvement and prepare care plans and guided activities to help families stay connected with their loved ones for mutual support, guidance, and family interaction.
What Is the Difference Between Assisted Living & Memory Care Facilities?
Assisted living is a senior living facility that provides care for seniors who need assistance in daily activities such as bathing, dressing, preparing meals, and taking medication. Seniors in assisted living can range between mobile and mostly independent to needing skilled nursing care and support 24/7.
One of the primary goals of assisted living is to provide a safe environment for seniors to help encourage independence with assistance for daily life as needed. Assisted living communities typically offer a variety of amenities, including communal dining areas, social activities, and transportation services.
On the other hand, a memory care facility is facilitated by staff with specialized training in the type of care, activities, and support of seniors with memory-related diseases such as dementia or Alzheimer’s. These assisted living facilities provide a higher level of care than traditional assisted living, with staff and facilities tailored exclusively to memory needs and complexities.
For example, memory care assisted living provides a higher level of care, complete with specialized programs and activities created to support existing cognitive function and stimulate memory retention.
Level of Care & Specialization
Both assisted living and memory care assisted living provides senior residents with assistance in completing daily activities for personal health and care. However, memory-assisted living centers offer care programs, activities, therapies, and support for seniors with memory-impacting diseases in facilities dedicated to assisted living only.
Physical Environment, Setting, & Safety
While assisted living centers provide a safe environment and accommodations to help aging residents move about safely, memory care communities are structured and set up to support the specific needs of seniors in care for dementia or Alzheimer’s.
The physical environment, structure, and layout of the memory care facility are carefully constructed so that residents with cognitive and memory impairments can safely navigate around the facility. Some examples may include visual cues and design elements such as hallways that are color coded to help residents move safely and independently according to their abilities.
Specialized Staff Training & Ratios
A significant difference between memory care and assisted living is the level of staff training and staff-to-resident ratios. Memory care facilities employ highly trained medical and support staff who know the specialized care seniors with memory-related conditions need to enjoy a high quality of life safely.
Memory care employees all understand the common symptoms of these conditions. They are specially trained to provide care, with high levels of empathy and respect for residents, their family members, and loved ones. Memory care staff must also possess patience and compassion as core personal values while communicating and providing care to seniors who have trouble communicating and interacting due to the cognitive impact of their memory condition.
However, in assisted living communities, the staff training is less specialized than in a memory care center. Those who work in assisted living will be trained across various health conditions and care protocols common to senior residents so they can skillfully assist them in daily activities.
As a result, assisted living communities are often a better option for seniors without memory-related conditions and require a more general level of care and support that does not require the same level of specialization or individualized care.
Assisted living facilities typically have lower monthly fees than memory care assisted living centers. This is because memory care is a very specialized process that involves physical environment accommodations and more intensive cognitive health care in senior residents with memory conditions.
Advantages of an Assisted Living Memory Care Facility
Memory care assisted living provides specialized care designed to support safe independence and cognitive health for seniors with dementia or other memory-related diseases.
Following are some of the best advantages of memory care for seniors in assisted living:
- Retained Cognitive Abilities
- Safe Opportunities for Independence.
- Customized Care Plans
- Cognitive Fitness Assessment and Care.
- Health Assistance and Medication.
- Memory Care Activities
- Individualized Meal Plans
- Guided Socialization with Family and Other Residents.
How to Determine if Memory Care Assisted Living Is Best for Your Loved Ones
Assisted living and memory care are two types of senior living and care centers. Their main point of differentiation is the level and types of specialized care for memory-related diseases and conditions. Assisted living facilities are best suited for seniors who do not have cognitive diseases like dementia or Alzheimer’s but require some daily assistance to maintain their health and safety.
Memory care assisted living communities provide specialized care and programs for memory health, work in a more specialized and structured environment with a higher staff-to-resident ratio, and tend to be more expensive than assisted living. The treatment and care seniors with memory diseases receive in memory care assisted living can be precious for residents and their families.
Vivante Assisted Living and Memory Care believe that memory care works best when seniors, family members, loved ones, and trained professionals all work together to preserve memories and honor the life of seniors in a safe, supportive environment designed specifically for those with memory-related conditions.
Contact us today to learn more about our memory care assisted living programs and facilities. We can help you understand the options available for your family, address your questions and concerns, and guide you through the sensitive process of considering treatment options.