When it’s time to consider a move to memory care, it’s important to know what level of care to expect. Before you choose, learn what the best memory care assisted living communities have to offer.
What are memory care requirements?
A diagnosis of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease or other condition that causes cognitive decline often means it’s time to plan for a future requiring specialized care. While many seniors suffering memory loss can remain at home or with a family member for months or even years, for others a senior living community with memory care is the best choice.
More than just a place to stay
Professional memory care communities are not just a place to “put” a loved one with memory loss, they should strive to be a home that provides an improved quality of life as well as 24/7, 365 safety and security. Memory care residents should expect the level of care they need to not only enjoy life, but to actually live life to the fullest possible extent.
For example, memory care residents should be encouraged to engage with others to minimize the isolation that often comes with memory loss. Staff should help them join in activities they enjoy like dancing or gardening, and take full advantage of everything else the community has to offer like on-site hair salon and barber services, exercise classes, games, music, movies, and more. Ask to see an actual calendar of events when considering memory care communities to know what to expect.
Each memory care resident is at a different point in the progression of their condition, so each should be assessed by a qualified medical professional and have an individualized care plan created just for them. Each plan should provide what they need with an emphasis on respect and helping them retain their dignity.
The breadth of personal carry should be all-inclusive. While one resident may need help with dressing and personal hygiene, therapy to improve walking and balance, and assistance eating meals, another may not need much help with self-care, but has a tendency to wander, forgets medications, and is often confused about where they are. Each resident should be attended to and supervised by trained and certified staff, and should be reassessed regularly to ensure their needs are being met. Find out more about memory care in the AARP article, “Memory Care: Specialized Support for People With Alzheimer’s or Dementia.”
Exceptional dietary options
Seniors with memory loss often lose interest in food and may suffer from a lack of nutrition, which can exacerbate symptoms. In a memory care community, however, there should be an emphasis on not only helping seniors eat regular meals, but also on providing diverse, appetizing and nutritious meals that are balanced and healthful. In this way, seniors can often regain lost weight, feel healthier and begin to enjoy the socialization available in the dining room and other communal spaces.
In addition, families and friends should be able to join their seniors for regular “dates” or to celebrate special occasions like birthdays at the memory care community.
Paramount safety and security
One of the most common reasons that families decide it’s time for memory care is the increased need for safety and security, all day, every day. While alone at home, people with impaired memory may forget to turn off the stove after making a meal, they may get lost even in their own neighborhood or they may just wander off. As the decline progresses, a senior may go outdoors without weather-appropriate clothing, become less inhibited or more aggressive, and suffer delusions that can endanger them. All or any of these possibilities can result in physical harm or worse, so memory care should be designed to limit these opportunities.
A memory care community should have doors that lock to the outside and to places inside that connect to other parts of the community. Outdoor areas should be available but enclosed so seniors cannot wander away and staff should perform regular safety checks to ensure residents are where they should be.
On a facility-wide level, memory care communities may also have emergency alert systems, keypad entry, and alarms on emergency exits. To learn more, the Alzheimer’s Association offers a variety of helpful information about the importance of safety for seniors with dementia.
Arrow Senior Living provides award-winning memory care services that are second to none. For more information about memory care communities near you, contact us today.