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Memory Care: The Senior Living Option for Dementia

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Adult female holding senior woman in chair looking at memory care.

When a loved one is diagnosed with dementia, the family often has more questions than answers. Usually, how best to support your loved one’s needs now and in the future is at the top of that list of questions. In the early stages of dementia, they can likely remain at home with support from friends and family members and/or an in-home aide(s). However, when dementia progresses to the later stages, specialized care outside the home may become necessary to give your loved one the best quality of life. Memory care may have been mentioned as an option at that point, but what exactly is memory care, and how can it help your loved one? Just as importantly, how do you know when it’s time for this? Learn more about memory care in Hillsborough Township here.

What is memory care?

This type of senior living is specifically for those with Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia. In memory care, you’ll find specially-trained staff, individualized support, 24-hour supervised care, a safe, comforting environment, as well as opportunities to be active, have a purpose, and experience joy each day.

But what is memory care like? While not every memory care community is the same, there are usually some common features that you can expect, including:

  • Private or semi-private accommodations
  • Onsite registered nursing team and ongoing staff training in memory care
  • Medication monitoring and regular health assessments
  • Support with daily tasks such as bathing, dressing, and eating
  • Individualized wellness programs
  • Three daily meals with personalized nutrition and dining programs
  • Coordinated social and enrichment activities
  • Housekeeping and linen services
  • Scheduled transportation
  • Secured building access and sensory alarms for prompt assistance

Memory care is typically offered in a neighborhood or unit within an assisted living community or a stand-alone community just for those with dementia. In either case, memory care will often be on the same campus as other types of senior living, which has advantages such as: 

  • Your loved one could potentially move to assisted living initially and transition into memory care later.
  • Couples in which one has dementia and the other does not may be able to remain together, at least on the same campus.

Download our Beginner’s Guide to Recognizing the Early Signs of Dementia.

Benefits of memory care

Your loved one with dementia can benefit from memory care in a number of ways. Beyond specialized training that gives staff a deeper understanding of dementia, how to support the specific needs of residents, techniques for managing challenging behaviors, and effective communication strategies, memory care also offers benefits that include:

  • Daily activities – In memory care, your loved one may experience sensory stimulation, cognitive therapies, physical and occupational therapies, and exercise. They will also have plenty of opportunities to interact socially as well. However, all activities are within the comfort of a familiar daily structure, often with the same caregivers.
  • Unique therapies – Memory care programs often offer music, art, and/or pet therapy, as research has shown they can help reduce aggression and agitation for those with dementia.
  • Supportive dining – Your loved one will enjoy nutritious dining options that are easy to chew and may include finger foods to promote independence. However, dining assistance is also available as needed. Plus, this dining experience in memory care is an intimate setting where they can feel comfortable and relaxed.
  • A comforting environment – Memory care is designed to be safe, secure, and comforting for residents. It typically features an easy-to-navigate layout and the use of color and lighting to create a calm, relaxed environment.

When is it time for memory care?

As dementia progresses, your loved one will begin to need more care. But it can be challenging for families to determine when ‘more care’ means ‘memory care.’ These signs can help you make that decision:

  • You feel exhausted and overwhelmed by your caregiving duties, but your loved one still needs more.
  • Your loved one is increasingly isolated and depressed.
  • In-home aides are too costly, or an in-home provider cannot fully meet your loved one’s needs.
  • Your loved one is having more accidents, or you’re worried that a fall or other accident is likely.
  • Your loved one is not safe at home because of impaired judgment, like leaving the stove on or door open, and doesn’t remember how to use the phone to seek help.
  • Your loved one can no longer manage daily living activities such as bathing and using the
  • bathroom, and you can’t provide enough support to help.

Many caregivers worry that transitioning an older adult with dementia to memory care will be

difficult. However most find that the transition alleviates stress and allows their loved one to have a more active and fulfilling life. Even with dementia, life can be rewarding.

To learn more about memory care, download our Beginner’s Guide to Recognizing the Early Signs of Dementia today.

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Written by kaplan

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