When caring for a senior loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia, you know the importance of keeping them safe and comfortable.
But there comes a point when a person with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia needs may go beyond the abilities of a family caregiver. When this time comes, an assisted living community offering memory care therapies and support services is a wonderful option. Early interventions ensure your loved one is well cared for and able to maintain their independence for as long as possible.
Memory care refers to specialized memory care and supportive services specifically to seniors living with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, or other memory conditions. In a memory support community, residents receive individualized care and support 24-hours a day in a secure, soothing environment. Specially designed living and community spaces, engaging activities, and family support are are all benefits of living in a memory support community.
While keeping your loved one at home as long as possible might be the goal, here are five reasons to consider choosing assisted living memory care sooner rather than later:
Safety and security
Wandering is a common behavior exhibited by people living with Alzheimer’s or dementia. The Alzeheimer’s Association estimates that 60 percent of people with dementia wander. In a typical home environment, it can be difficult to prevent a loved one from wandering and getting lost. In a monitored memory support center, indoor and outdoor spaces are designed to allow exploring but not wandering. Additional features, such as emergency response systems and wearable tracking devices are used to keep residents safe. This way, residents are able to move freely and enjoy their independence without the risk of dangerous wandering.
Comfortable, relaxing environment
Assisted living memory care centers are not only optimized for safety, but they are also designed to be easy-to-navigate, comfortable, and homelike. For adults with dementia, calming routines and familiarity with their environment leads to less stress and anxiety. Residents and family are also able to decorate their personal rooms with familiar belongings and photos to make their space feel like home.
Personalized attention and care
Because no two people with Alzheimer’s or dementia have exactly the same experience, the best memory care centers offer a low resident-to-staff ratio and personalized care that meets each person’s unique needs. Caregivers are carefully vetted and receive special training on proper dementia care techniques. Supportive caregivers, registered nurses, and social workers are on-site and available 24/7 to provide assistance to residents and their families.
Fun and engaging activities
Residents in assisted living memory care communities can participate in group or individual activities and programs designed to stimulate memories, encourage relationships with other residents, and support independence. Planned activities such as music and art therapy, outdoor activities, and even ice cream socials enrich residents’ lives and promote friendship and conversations. Activities are designed for encouraging independence and interaction, especially when communication becomes difficult.
Benefits for family caregivers
Residents aren’t the only ones who benefit from assisted living memory support. Family caregivers can enjoy greater peace of mind and less stress knowing their loved one is receiving the best possible care in a safe, secure environment. Often times, a move can help restore the parent child relationship once full time caregiving is handed over.
Although no longer responsible for full-time caregiving, family members can still be actively involved in their loved one’s care planning even after the transition to a memory support community. Social workers and staff members strive for open communication to ensure family members are informed of any changes in their loved one’s condition and care plan.
The core goal of assisted living memory support is to maximize the independence of your loved one and to support families as they journey through the dementia process. When it’s time to select a memory care center, tour several facilities and meet with staff members. If possible, involve your loved one in the process allowing them to experience the different options available. Finally, be sure to check each memory care community’s CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) ratings and read online reviews to obtain objective information to guide your decision-making.