Caring for a family member or loved one who is experiencing memory impairments associated with dementia or Alzheimer’s can be a heartbreaking and challenging time for seniors and their families to manage alone. Fortunately, memory care facilities focus on the unique care seniors need to properly manage health, wellness, and quality of life alongside cognition declines. Individuals with dementia or Alzheimer’s need special care and accommodation to ensure safety and a high level of care and assistance to live life fully and safely in care.
Memory Care is a specialized residential program for seniors with memory issues linked to dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, or other memory-impacting conditions. Memory Care provides loved ones with memory-related diseases with a safe living environment, medication management, healthy meals, social interaction,
activities, and therapies specifically designed to preserve and support cognition and memory.
Below we answer the question “what is memory care” and how to choose the perfect facility for your loved one.
What Is the Meaning of Memory Care?
Memory care refers to a specialized form of long-term care designed for individuals with memory-related disorders, particularly Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia. But what memory care means for residents and families is the promise of individualized care, proper medication management, and facilitated activities especially created and personalized to help and support seniors who suffer from memory loss or cognitive decline.
The main priority in memory care is to create a safe environment for seniors with memory issues and provide a high quality of life while working collaboratively with both residents and family members to preserve life stories and support cognitive care.
Memory care facilities employ highly trained staff, nurses, and health care professionals with expertise in memory-related conditions and behaviors. This is to ensure that seniors in the memory care program are treated with dignity and respect while meeting all their health and memory needs necessary for seniors with memory-related conditions.
What Is Provided in Memory Care Services?
Memory care facilities typically provide a wide array of services for residents dealing with memory loss due to dementia or Alzheimer’s. Some of the important memory care services include:
A Safe, Secure Environment
Memory care facilities are intentionally designed to help keep residents safe. Seniors with memory-related conditions benefit from accommodations with secured entry and exit points and 24/7 monitoring to ensure that seniors stay safe in the facility.
Thoughtfully Planned Activities for Memory Care
A carefully structured daily routine can be highly beneficial for memory care residents and provide opportunities for stimulating cognitive function, creating social connections with other residents, and giving seniors a sense of familiarity in their daily routine.
Help With Daily Tasks & Routines
Memory care facilities also provide seniors with the assistance they need to safely complete daily tasks related to hygiene, medications, and meals. For example, trained staff will help residents with bathing and dressing, healthy meal preparation and eating schedules, and medication management as needed as well.
Memory Preservation & Cognitive Care
Memory care programs specialize in techniques that can help seniors retain current cognitive functions, including puzzles, memory-stimulating games, therapies for reminiscing, and other exercises to promote cognitive health and well-being.
Expert-Level Care & Support
The staff in memory care centers are trained in the specifics and nuances of caring for seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s. They’re prepared to provide daily care and support for residents and family members, and they have a compassionate understanding of the unique aspects of care required in memory care programs versus assisted living.
Memory care aims to enhance the quality of life, foster independence in a supportive, safe environment, and provide peace of mind for loved ones.
Why Do People Go to Memory Care?
People go to memory care to receive expert care and support for memory-impacting diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s. Memory care communities are unique because they facilitate care and programs that are uniquely focused on the needs of seniors who have dementia or other memory-related diseases. Dementia can present in many ways aside from simple forgetfulness, and memory care facilities are equipped and staffed to care for symptoms such as agitation, confusion, personality shifts, and disorientation with expertise and compassion.
People choose memory care for various reasons, and the following are some of the most common factors and situations driving the decision for seniors and family members.
Safety & Specialized Care
Seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s can become easily agitated or disoriented, causing symptoms ranging from emotional outbursts to wandering and getting lost. Caring for a loved one with a memory-related disease can be difficult for families to safely manage alone, so many families choose a memory care program to help ensure the safety of their loved ones with round-the-clock monitoring and secure facilities.
Memory care communities offer cognitive care services tailored to seniors with memory-impairing illnesses’ unique needs. Each resident in memory care will have a personalized care plan that includes considerations and routines for diet, medication, social activities, and well-being. Memory care can also help minimize the feeling of isolation and depression that seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s are prone to experience without the proper support in place.
Social interaction is vital for seniors’ emotional well-being and happiness in memory care. In memory care programs, residents have daily routines that include activities and opportunities for socializing with other residents, family, and friends. Memory care staff encourage social support with activities, games, and guided interactions.
Structure & Routine
Memory care facilities typically offer a structured daily routine, which can benefit individuals with memory loss. Regular schedules and familiar activities can help reduce confusion, anxiety, and agitation often associated with cognitive decline.
Programs Designed for Memory Care
Memory care communities provide specially designed programs and activities for stimulating cognitive function and supporting memory retention, including memory exercises, puzzles, reminiscence therapy, music therapy, and other interventions to slow down the progression of memory loss.
Support & Relief for Family & Caregivers
Caring for a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s can take a toll on the energy and emotional and physical well-being of family members or friends who have been assuming the role of a caregiver. Memory care facilities assist family caregivers in caring for their loved ones with memory loss, giving them rest and peace of mind.
Difference Between Memory Care & Dementia Care
Memory care and dementia care tend to be referenced interchangeably. However, there are some core differences in each type of care that you should understand when choosing the best type of care for your family member or loved one:
Focus of Specialized Care
Memory care is a specialized form of care that caters specifically to individuals with memory impairments, such as Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. It focuses on addressing the unique challenges that come along with memory loss. However, dementia care offers services for seniors in various stages of dementia. Dementia care may also encapsulate different types of dementia that present with vascular disease or other conditions.
Environment & Program Designs
Memory care facilities are carefully designed and equipped best to support the well-being of seniors with memory loss and provide a safe environment for care. Dementia care, while similar, can be done in various settings such as a memory care community in an assisted living center or nursing home. Dementia care may also be offered in-home for qualifying seniors and families.
Memory care facilities provide specialized training in dementia and Alzheimer’s care so that they comprehend the unique needs of seniors and how to care for them appropriately. Dementia care, depending on the setting, may involve staff members with varying levels of training and expertise in dementia care, from general caregivers to specialized dementia care professionals.
Personalized Care Plans & Activities
Memory care programs are designed to help seniors with memory-related diseases engage in activities that foster existing memory, stimulate cognitive function, and improve well-being with structured and social activities. Dementia care programs, on the other hand, tend to be more flexible and fulfill a wide range of care needs alongside dementia symptoms and behaviors.
Memory care facilities offer family support to help loved ones understand the challenges of memory loss and create guided opportunities for socialization. Families also receive education, resources, and support groups to help them stay emotionally strong in supporting and caring for loved ones with dementia or Alzheimer’s. This is also typically the case in dementia care, but the level of family support can vary depending on the facility.
Ratios of Staff & Residents
Due to the level of personalized care, attention, and monitoring needed, memory care communities tend to have higher staff-to-resident ratios than general dementia care settings.
Personalization of Care
Memory care programs offer care plans that are highly personalized to provide each individual with specific care, activities, and therapies needed to support their cognitive function and overall wellness. Personalized memory care factors in a senior’s cognitive abilities, personal history, family involvement, and interests. While care plans can also be personalized in general dementia care settings, the level of customization may depend on the resources and expertise available.
Memory Care Cost
Memory care facilities offer more specialized treatment and care, so the cost typically reflects that by being higher than general dementia care facilities or assisted living centers. The differences in costs will vary by facility and care needed.
Is Memory Care Used to Treat Alzheimer’s?
Memory care facilities provide residential senior care that focuses specifically on the needs of elders with Alzheimer’s or varying types of dementia. In memory care, residents are given individualized care plans that account for every facet of care they’ll need to preserve cognition and improve well-being and safety.
Memory care typically provides:
- Security and safety
- Structured care and cognitive stimulation activities.
- Exercises for memory care.
- Therapies designed to slow cognitive decline.
- Daily assistance with care tasks such as bathing, eating, and getting dressed.
- Meal planning and medication management.
Memory care facilities are designed to minimize confusion and promote safety for seniors with memory loss due to Alzheimer’s or dementia. Safety is a top priority for seniors in memory care since conditions like Alzheimer’s that cause disorientation and memory loss. Facilities are well-marked for seniors to navigate the facility, and exterior doors are locked so seniors don’t accidentally wander outside or get lost.
In memory care facilities, the physical layout and design are typically optimized to promote safety and reduce confusion. Staff members receive specialized training in dementia care to effectively communicate with residents and provide the necessary support and supervision.
It’s important to understand that while memory care is not a cure for Alzheimer’s and cannot reverse memory loss effects, it gives seniors a safe, structured setting that allows for independence, socialization, and activities and therapies to slow decline and boost well-being.
How to Choose the Best Memory Care Facility For Your Loved Ones
Deciding to place a family member in memory care is often difficult for seniors and family members. If loved ones struggle to provide care alone, they often find peace and solace in finding a facility that can offer specialized care for their family member dealing with memory loss.
However, choosing the best memory care facility for your loved ones requires careful consideration and research to ensure that the care plans, setting, and staff ratios all align with the type of care your loved one needs and deserves. You can make a well-informed, confident decision by following the below-mentioned process.
Evaluate Care Needs
Think about your family member and assess their specific needs that must be met in a memory care program. You should consider factors such as:
- Care Required for Emotional and Physical Needs.
- Level of Independence
- Medical History and Conditions.
- Personality and Preferences
- Stage of Memory Loss or Impairment.
- Socialization Needs and Support Needed.
- Dietary and Medication Needs.
Making a list of these important factors so you can discuss each of your priorities and concerns around memory care with various facilities can help you get the answers you need and choose the facility that will provide for all of your loved one’s needs.
Narrow Down a Location
Many families want to choose a memory care center that is local so that friends, family members, and loved ones can be nearby for social visits and care needs. This makes choosing a location very important because the memory care community must meet all your loved one’s needs for care and provide access to family and healthcare.
Research Memory Care Facilities
Research the memory care facilities in your chosen area and list all your options. You can also enlist the help of medical professionals, healthcare providers, support groups, friends, and family to get recommendations and details about nearby facilities to help find the best fit for your loved one.
Visit Your Shortlisted Facilities
Once you’ve narrowed down the list of your area’s best memory care facilities, you should schedule times to visit each one. On your site visits, pay close attention to the facility’s layout and note the level of security and safety in moving about the building. Observe how staff interact with residents and discuss how care plans, activities, and therapies can be customized for your family member’s needs and cognition level.
Research the Reputation of Memory Care Facilities You’re Considering
You can learn about a memory care facility’s reputation by reading online reviews and checking facility ratings. You can also contact the state medical licensing board to obtain information about the facility Some of the red flags to watch for in the process include a history of health code violations or complaints.
If possible, you can also seek feedback from family members who have loved ones currently in memory care at the facility you’re considering to get a firsthand account of the available care and programs.
Understand the Financial Commitment Required
It’s crucial to understand the memory care costs to find a location that fulfills your family member’s needs for a price that fits your budget. Many memory care programs offer payment plans, and financial assistance may also be available for qualifying patients.
Follow Your Intuition
You know and love your family member or loved one a lot, so trust your observations and follow your intuition on which facility will best fit your family. Choose the memory care facility that makes you feel confident in staff and programs and calm and peaceful in your decision.
At Vivante Assisted Living and Memory Care, we believe in preserving dignity and honoring the life stories of seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s. Contact Us today to learn more about our award-winning memory care programs, therapies, and facilities.