Most assisted living facilities will work to help make residents with mild memory issues, or individuals requiring memory care feel at home. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, roughly 50% of all senior living residents have Alzheimer’s disease and other related dementia's. Most assisted living residents with memory issues do not actually have a formal diagnosis, so it can be difficult to ascertain what kind of memory care needs are required.
If your senior loved one is currently in assisted living facilities and you are worried about their safety and well being, it is almost certain that assisted living staff are also cognizant of their memory care needs and are doing the best to provide care for them. However, not every assisted living facility is equipped to handle memory care needs. If your loved ones are in an assisted living facility and they need extra memory care attention, it may be time to consider enhanced care options.
You may first start to notice memory impairment issues around the house or when you visit them at the care facilities. In some instances, these memory impairment issues can be threatening to your senior’s safety and well being. It will become necessary to find a secure care environment that specializes in the types of physical, social, emotional, and spiritual requirements of memory-impaired residents.
What is Memory Care?
Memory care units are specially designed for those who have Alzheimer’s, dementia, or another memory care issues. They can be stand-alone residences or be a part of an assisted living facility. Some nursing homes or assisted living places have a wing dedicated to memory care. The staff in these units are specially trained to care for the specific needs and demands of memory care patients. Dementia Care Central elaborates, “Memory care units offer the same services as do assisted living facilities, in addition to activities that are intended to stimulate the memory of those with Alzheimer’s and other dementia's and possibly slow the progression of the disease.”
Safety is also a priority for those with memory problems. By being under close surveillance, patients are less likely to harm themselves unintentionally. Safety checks are done more often to ensure the safety of patients. One of the goals of memory care is to slow the effects of Alzheimer’s or dementia by providing programs that cultivate cognitive skills. Activities may include music, art, or games. By having these programs available, seniors can continue to enjoy life and socialize with others who are going through similar circumstances. Good memory care facilities engage their residents and promote physical and mental well-being and don’t rely on medication only.
Memory care facilities tend to hold a more rigid daily schedule. This is intentional because those that are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia tend to get easily stressed or irritated because of unfamiliar environments. With a daily routine, patients can flow from one activity to the next.
When it comes to memory care units, they are typically architecturally designed to accommodate patients with Alzheimer’s or dementia. One example is that memory care facilities do not have individual kitchens in the patients’ rooms. A significant side effect of memory loss is wandering away. Memory care units are highly secure so that if wandering occurs, the patient will not be able to leave the unit.
There tends to be a calming environment in memory care facilities in order to make sure that the patients do not become stressed or confused. This can be achieved by painting the walls bright colors, having natural light, and creating a common room where residents can watch television or socialize.
How to Choose the Right Memory Care Facility
Often, moving a loved one into memory care can trigger feelings of guilt or sadness. This is perfectly normal. It is a difficult decision to make. If you are still on the fence on whether or not to send your loved one to a memory care facility, check out these questions below.
- Research the quality of the memory care community
- Check with your state or county to be sure there haven’t been neglect or abuse issues
- Does the staff appear to be knowledgeable and caring?
- What kind and how many hours of training has the staff had?
- How long have the caretakers been at the community?
- What is the staffing ratio during the day and at night?
- Is there an individual care plan for each individual?
- Do the community's philosophy of care and treatment programs resonate with you?
- Is there a visiting physician?
- Is a nurse on duty 24 hours per day?
Also be sure to review your prospective facilities calendar of activities and social events to see if any might be of interest to your loved one. It may also wise to investigate the community’s amenities, services available, and reputation among the community.
When caregiving becomes too much for one person to do, memory care can be a relief. With memory care, you can be assured that your loved one is taken care of and their specific needs are being met. The people who will be taking care of your loved one are trained professionals. They know how to provide individualized care. Ultimately, the best you can do for your loved one is to make sure they get the best care possible.
Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia are serious problems that require a high level of care. There are a number of symptoms associated with dementia, including problems sleeping, hallucinations, and violent behavior. A majority of dementia-affected individuals get the help of a family caregiver to help deal with their symptoms. However, dementia can take a major toll on caregivers and can even lead to a higher risk of problems like depression and anxiety. With that said, assisted-living communities and other treatment programs can provide people suffering from dementia with the care that they need.
At Landmark Senior Living, we offer memory care for individuals with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Along with memory care, our trained professionals can give our resident the care that they deserve later in life. Along with medical care, our facilities participate in a number of social events and activities to keep residents happy as they continue this chapter in their life. If you would like more information about our facilities or would like a complimentary walkthrough, please reach out to our admissions staff today.