An estimated 5.8 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, and this number is expected to increase over the next decade. As the Baby Boomer generation reaches retirement age, quality memory care will be essential. Recognizing this, the senior living industry has evolved to meet the needs of the next wave of retirees, with many continuing-care retirement communities adding or enhancing their memory care capabilities.
For example, some assisted living communities have expanded to offer memory care for older adults in the earlier stages of Alzheimer’s and dementia. Assisted living memory care communities are designed for older adults who do not require full-time medical care but do need some assistance with daily tasks and a soothing, secure place to live.
Along with specialized memory support services, assisted living memory care communities provide help with activities of daily living, including:
- Medication Management
In a memory care assisted living community, residents can expect private accommodations, housekeeping, dining services, and the security of a nurse on-site 24-hours a day. Most communities also offer scheduled transportation, health and exercise programs, and on-site amenities like beauty salons and libraries.
Choosing the right community
If you have a parent or loved one living with Alzheimer’s or another dementia, assisted living memory care can provide the quality care and support they need to live safely, healthfully, and comfortably.
When you’re ready to start looking for an assisted living memory care community, follow these steps to compare your options and find the best fit.
For many families, the search for an assisted living memory care community begins online. Most websites will provide some basic information about a community, including its location, services and amenities, and types of life enrichment programs that are offered. You can also learn more about the community by reading online reviews and reports. However, it’s not enough to just research a community online — you’ll need to visit in person to make a well-informed decision.
Set up a tour
After researching online, make a list of the top assisted living memory care communities you want to know more about. Then, contact the communities on your list to schedule a tour. Many times, families will make an initial visit without their loved one to gather information and ask questions.
Visiting gives you an opportunity to meet staff members, observe interactions among residents and caregivers, and get a better sense of the community’s overall look and feel. Be sure to take plenty of notes and photos so you can compare the different communities you visited.
Sit down and review your notes and observations from the first round of community visits. What did you like (or dislike) about the communities you toured? Do you have any additional questions? Now is the time to rank the communities you like best and eliminate any options that aren’t the right fit.
Once you’ve trimmed your list of communities, schedule follow-up visits to help you narrow down your options even further. If possible, include your loved one on these visits so they can see what to expect. It’s often helpful to visit each community at a different time of day than your previous visit. You can even ask to sit in on a resident activity or stay for lunch or dinner to sample the community’s food. Choosing an assisted living memory care community is a major decision, so don’t hesitate to visit a second or third time.
Finding the right assisted living memory care community for your loved one will take time, so it’s best to start the search as early as possible. Especially if your loved one is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s or another dementia, it’s helpful to begin researching and comparing specialized memory care options well before the need arises. Remember, a move to an assisted living community can be one of the best decisions you make for your loved one’s overall health, safety, and well-being.