Memory Care Options

The SeniorLiving.net blog is happy to be back in action. Get ready for lots of helpful content to guide you on your senior living search, answer some of your questions surrounding senior care, and provide you with information on senior health and wellness. Let’s kick it off with diving into memory care options.

What is memory care and what can it do for my loved one?  Although memory loss is a typical part of growing older, some seniors may experience what is known as significant “cognitive decline” which requires extra care.  Diseases, such as Alzheimer’s or dementia, are not always the culprit; however watching cognitive decline happen can be hard.  Memory care refers to a specialized care that is designed to assist with the consequences of memory loss and help remain connected with things that are important.   Memory care can take the form of in-home services or activities as well as entire facilities dedicated to memory-loss conditions therefore there are a lot of choices out there.

Memory care facilities are often communities that focus their programs and services on catering to the symptoms of memory-loss.  Seniors suffering from significant cognitive decline as particularly vulnerable to stress, confusion, anxiety, and disorientation therefore these facilities may look a little different than an assisted living or nursing home facility.  Often times these communities focus more on natural lighting, comfort amenities, reliable security, and round floorplans that allow for wandering without fear of being lost.  Moreover, the rooms are often equipped with a memory box or wall that provides a timeline of important events and people.

Although memory care facilities offer some of the same amenities and options as a nursing home or assisted living community, it is clear that these facilities offer something different.  Similarly, the rooms are typically offered either private or shared, meals are often served family-style, and public entertainment areas, such as a library or TV room, are available.  Unlike others, memory care facilities don’t offer rooms with private kitchenettes, meals are often designed to accommodate appetite issues (common with memory-loss conditions), and activities are specifically intended to help seniors reconnect and remain connected to memories, hobbies, and preferences.

When deciding what level of care is needed is it important to consider the responsibilities necessary for comfortable living: transportation, meal preparation, housekeeping, medication management, and personal hygiene.  Often times, memory care facilities are more expensive than assisted living facilities however many assisted living communities have begun to offer memory care services.  Although less intensive, these communities can assist seniors with moderate memory loss.  Those with a tendency to wander or get lost may want to consider facilities with high security and frequent safety checks.  Additionally, many facilities offer services to help transition into the community, such as preparing the room before arrival, transporting them to the facility, and helping maintain anxiety or concern about living in a new place.

Read more about Alzheimer’s and dementia on the SeniorLiving.net blog.