Do People With Dementia Know Something Is Wrong With Them?

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Seeing a loved one develop Alzheimer’s or dementia can be scary and confusing.  Their behaviors can be misunderstood or not make sense to you.

Maybe during a recent visit to your aunt’s house she insisted you help her find her winter gloves and boots – in the middle of July.  Or maybe she didn’t remember your name at all or thought you were someone else from the family.

These types of scenarios aren’t uncommon, and many people wonder if their loved one knows something is wrong with them.  And what if they don’t understand – should you try and convince them?

Do They Know They Have Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s disease progressively destroys brain cells over time, so during the early stages, many do recognize something is wrong.  They may know they are supposed to recognize you, but they can’t.  Imagine how frustrating and scary that would be.  Red Johnson, an 86 year-old living with Alzheimer’s, explained to his daughter, Nancy, how it feels to live with the disease.

I am Red.

I love my family. My daughter-in-law and son-in-law; my grandchildren and great-grandchildren; my in-laws; and my nieces and nephews. I might not remember their names. I might be tongue tied when I try to talk with them. But, I still love them. Do you know how dumb it feels when you “know” the person talking with you is an old friend and you can’t remember their name? I know something is wrong with me, and I hate it. Don’t look “through me” just because I can’t remember your name or am mixed up about what day it is. Don’t ignore my needs because you think it doesn’t matter.

Red’s story is a great insight into how it feels to know you are suffering from memory loss and how painful it can be.  Read the full story on

dementia care virginia
Some people may not understand they have Alzheimer’s or dementia.

When Someone Doesn’t Understand Something Is Wrong

There are cases where people don’t recognize anything is wrong.  You may hear this referred to as anosognosia which is thought to be the result of a cell damage in the right pre-frontal lobes and the parietal lobes.  This can happen during a stroke or as cells decline due to Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Caregivers and family members may notice obvious changes in someone’s behavior, physical or mental limitations while their loved one remains adamant everything is fine. Anosognosia isn’t denial, it is a medical condition.

Caring for anyone living in cognitive decline is challenging. Caring for someone who doesn’t recognize they are ill can add to that challenge.  They may refuse to take medications because they don’t think they need them, or become angry when told they can’t stay home alone or drive to the store anymore.

Convincing someone there is a problem won’t make them believe you, so try to avoid arguing.  It doesn’t help them understand the situation, and can also lead to agitation, distrust and fear – all common side effects of Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Read tips from The Memory Center on how to communicate with someone living with cognitive decline and how to keep them safe.

Day-To-Day Living With Someone Who Has Alzheimer’s

Keeping a schedule is important when caring for someone with Alzheimer’s and dementia.  While every day is different, a routine that is based around activities that help promote movement and inspire purpose are important.

See what a typical day At The Memory Centers in Richmond and Virginia Beach looks like and what activities we suggest you include or contact us for more information about our programs.

Contact The Memory Center

Coping Strategies For Caregivers Seminar

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Being a full time caregiver of an elderly loved on or family member is challenging and can be very stressful and overwhelming.

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Memory care midlothian va

The Memory Center Richmond is pleaded to welcome Allyson Drake of Full Circle to discuss a range of topics to help caregivers cope with day-to-day challenges and learn to express their ideas and creativity in new ways.  

This event is free and open to the public at The Memory Center Richmond, 13800 Bon Secours Drive (adjacent to St. Frances Medical Center) Midlothian, VA 23114.

Alzheimer’s Lunch & Learn At The Memory Center Richmond

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The Memory Center Richmond and the Alzheimer’s Association invite you to join us for a special lunch and learn event.  download flyer

As more and more of the population ages Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia are becoming part of our daily conversations. 

Learn what you can do now to reduce your risk of cognitive decline. 

This event is free and open to the public.  Lunch will be served.

When:  February 16, 2018, from 12noon – 1:00pm

Where:  The Memory Center Richmond, 13800 Bon Secours Drive (adjacent to St. Frances Medical Center)
Midlothian, VA 23114

When to Move from Assisted Living to a Memory Care Facility

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Image of man talking with senior father

When seniors are no longer able to live safely and independently at home, spouses, children and/or caregivers often look towards assisted living communities. However, while these facilities are wonderful at providing escalating care for the general senior population, assisted living communities are not the same as memory care.

While they may have an exclusive memory care wing or unit- memory care is not their exclusive niche. This can unintentionally result in lesser-quality care for seniors with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

When is it time to transition from assisted living to memory care?

So, the question becomes, when should one consider transitioning to memory care rather than assisted living?

Someone has a dementia diagnosis

If you, your spouse, or a loved one has a dementia diagnosis that now requires more attentive care, it’s often best to skip assisted living options and move directly into memory care.

Major transitions are never easy and moving is one of the hardest. While it may be tempting to move into assisted living first, planning to transition to memory care later, this is more difficult for everyone in the long-run – particularly the person experiencing dementia.

If you’re worried about being separated from a spouse, know that you can visit anytime and that – in the big picture – keeping stress and strain to a minimum is the best way to minimize dementia symptoms as much as possible.

You suspect your loved one is unsafe

Memory care communities are devoted to their residents’ safety. If your loved one is wandering out of the home, getting lost when out and about, forgets to turn off stove tops or ovens, neglects to take important medicines, no longer adheres to normal routines, isn’t paying bills or you notice a signs of physical or mental/emotional decline, it’s time to explore memory care options.

Their social and emotional world is shrinking

Two elderly residents at an assisted living facility celebrate their birthdaysAs dementia progresses, an individual’s normal social activities or routines can actually be more harmful than helpful to their sense of well-being as the result of the people they no longer recognize, stories they can’t keep up with or activities they can no longer participate in due to their memory loss.

At this point, a memory care community is the best solution because your loved one will be living in an environment that is wholly dedicated to his/her safety and well-being, eliminating the triggers that exacerbate cognitive decline and supporting a healthy, active social network in a way that is secure and satisfying.

What is the difference between assisted living and memory care communities?

Memory care is a very unique and specialized form of skilled nursing, wholly dedicated to providing top-quality care to seniors with dementia and dementia-related conditions. Simultaneously, these communities provide as much independence, freedom, creativity, activity, and sense of community as they can – all within the medical and scientific framework of dementia – as well as the nuances that improve care for dementia patients. This level of care differs from that in an assisted living facility.

Specialized training

Everyone from the memory care community’s administrators to doctors, nurses, aides and housekeeping continuously attend trainings and seminars that include both research-backed education, as well as simulations and practices that help everyone gain a deeper understanding of what it’s like to live with dementia, as well as what it’s like to love someone with dementia.

Nuanced activities

The activities offered to residents at a memory care facility are not only offered in regards to the residents’ interests and talents, they are also structured to promote:

  • Activities that help to slow down the progression of dementia.
  • Programs, classes, and offerings that cheer, calm and stimulate residents without contributing to anxiety or worry.
  • Schedules reflect a healthy circadian rhythm  – taking advantage of daylight so residents are more likely to rest well, mitigating unsettling sundowner syndrome.

Tailored architectural & interior design

tmc town centerThe architecture and interior design in a memory care community are entirely focused on creating a safe, positive and calm environment for the residents. In addition to plenty of common areas and social gathering spaces, you’ll notice these communities do not provide kitchens to their residents – which significantly reduces the chances of burn injuries or fires, which are very common in assisted living facilities when a resident has dementia. Innovative security features help make sure nobody can exit the premises without alerting caregivers.

Thoughtful dining options

Delicious and nutritious meals are offered, three times a day, designed to enable the residents’ ability to choose what they eat – while ensuring all options provide adequate daily calories and nutrition, specific to a resident’s preferences and/or personal dietary restrictions/recommendations.

A tremendous support network

Finally, memory care centers provide an invaluable support network for residents as well as their families, loved ones, and caregivers.

Visit us at The Memory Center or schedule a tour online to learn more about memory care options Virginia Beach, Richmond, and Atlanta.

Contact The Memory Center

Can You Recover From Alzheimer’s or Dementia?

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Finding out a loved one has Alzheimer’s or other form of dementia is scary.  One of the first questions people ask is if there is a cure, or a way to recover.

While certain medications can help slow the progression for a time, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s or dementia. Alzheimer’s disease leads to cell death and tissue loss in the brain which ultimately affects memory, behavior, bodily functions or other systems.  It is a progressive disease that eventually leaves the person unable to safely care for themselves.

While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, research shows treatments and activities that stimulate the senses may improve behavior and mood, including decreased agitation.  Activities such as art, singing or listening to music fight boredom and may help trigger past memories.

At The Memory Center our daily activities are designed to inspire purpose, validate actions and invigorate while providing the highest quality of life for residents.  Functional and fun are key components of our activities.

Our multi-sensory activities program increases communication, socialization, physical movement and motor abilities.

Some Health Problems May Mimic Alzheimer’s Symptoms

alz care richmond va
Some medications can produce dementia-like symptoms.

If you, or a family member, are exhibiting memory problems the first step is to talk to a doctor.

Not all memory loss is related to Alzheimer’s or dementia.  There are other reasons you might experience memory problems including thyroid issues, stress, vitamin deficiencies or certain medications.  In these instances, once the cause is identified, your doctor can provide a course of treatment to manage, or even reverse, the symptoms.

Read more about how Alzheimer’s affects the brain or contact us for information about programs at The Memory Center in Virginia Beach, Midlothian/Richmond and Atlanta. 



Alzheimer’s & Related Disorders CEU Lunch & Learn

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the memory center richmond
Click To Download

Join The Memory Center Richmond and Kindred Hospice for a special lunch and learn.  This one hour program will explore the four types of Alzheimer’s disease and tips to effectively communicate with patients.

Date:  January 19, 2018

Time:  12:00 – 1:00pm

Location:  The Memory Center Richmond, 13800 Bon Secours Drive, Midlothian, VA 23114

This course will benefit caregivers and healthcare professionals including RN, LPN, SW, and BSW who will earn 1 CEU.

Lunch will be provided.

Contact Stephanie Barrow at 804.378.5100 or


Memory Care, Dementia, and Alzheimer’s Resources in Richmond, VA

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Richmond VirginiaAt first, a dementia or Alzheimer’s diagnosis might not seem that daunting because you or your spouse don’t feel all that altered by the condition – yet. Over time, however, small memory glitches become bigger ones and snowball at a rate that requires additional care and support.

Accessing memory care options early, rather than waiting until you’ve met your limit, makes all the difference when it comes to reducing stress levels and preserving the quality of your relationships with loved ones. It can also slow the progression of the disease because memory care-specific assistance means access to the latest information about preventing, slowing down and treating these cumulative conditions.

Richmond, VA Has Many Dementia & Alzheimer’s Resources

The Greater Richmond Metro area is loaded with high-quality memory care options, ranging from financial assistance to adult day care, respite care and full-time memory care resources.

Financial Assistance For Memory Care

Spouses and family members are the most affected when it comes to caring for a  loved one with dementia. What starts out as “hardly ever” or “part-time” help quickly takes over your life. 

Fortunately, depending on the official medical diagnosis and doctors recommendations, there are ways to secure financial help to offset the costs of any in-home or facility-based care.

First, secure a physician-provided diagnosis

Regardless of which avenue(s) you pursue, you’ll need a bonafide, written diagnosis to secure reimbursements or supplementation from outside entities. Once you’re sure random forgetfulness is more serious than you thought, schedule an appointment with a physician. 

In addition to providing diagnosis and treatment recommendations, the diagnosis solidifies your eligibility for financial support.

Get in touch with your insurance provider

Insurance FormYour insurance provider has a list of memory care providers within their Richmond-area network. Depending on the plan’s specifics, this can notably reduce financial responsibility and may include full-coverage for certain aspects of care.

Contact Medicare/Medicaid

Patients 65-years and older, and/or those already diagnosed with a disability, are eligible for Medicare or Medicaid coverage. Medicare is available to all, Medicaid coverage requires more stringent financial need. 

In some cases, Medicare/Medicaid covers medical and care costs associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s, including:

  • A percentage of the costs associated with diagnosing dementia-related conditions, as well as any doctor-prescribed treatments, such as counseling and medications.
  • Some level of home care services or hospital equipment that may be needed along the way, typically as the condition progresses into the later stages.
  • A portion of facility-based care on a temporary basis.
  • Significant portions of a patient’s caregiving expenses if the individual qualifies via low-income maximums.

You may also want to consider paying for Medicare’s Supplemental Insurance Coverage. While this additional coverage does cost a bit extra, the potential savings associated with increased memory care coverage is usually worth it.

Review,  Medicare for Alzheimer’s and Dementia, to learn more about the different types of financial support offered by Medicare.

Are you and/or your spouse a veteran?

The Veteran’s Administration provides amazing support – via financial assistance as well as memory care services – to veterans and their families. This includes a range of helpful care options, including:

  • Home care
  • Medical care
  • Respite care for spouses and family caregivers
  • Adult day care services
  • Palliative care
  • And more

Learn more about the specifics by visiting the VA’s Dementia Care page online. You can also contact any Richmond-area Veteran’s Administration office for personal assistance.

Adult Day Care 

Adult Care in Richmond VirginiaIf you still work, or you would like to maintain weekly or monthly appointments and/or social engagements, adult day care is a lifesaver. Visit the Central Adult Services webpage to explore adult day care options in the Richmond area.

Centers vary in what they offer – ranging from part- to full-time care. However, all should provide compassionate care and stimulating activities, so your loved one is well-taken care of and occupied while you tend to your own affairs.

Receive Memory Care at Home

In the beginning stages of dementia, most patients find it most comfortable to be at home, in a familiar environment, surrounded by the people, pets, and furnishings they know and love best. However, this can be incredibly taxing for spouses and/or immediate family members as they quickly become full-time caregivers.

There are plenty of high-quality, home care agencies in the Richmond area. We recommend scheduling consultations with at least two or three so you find the agency that is the best fit for your situation, personality, and needs. You can Click Here for a list of home care agencies in the Richmond area. Always verify that caregivers are licensed and have current, complete background checks on file.

Once dementia or Alzheimer’s progresses to a more severe state, it may be best to transfer the individual to a memory care community, where their needs can be more acutely addressed in a warm, caring and stimulating environment – wholly dedicated to those with dementia-related conditions.

Memory Care Centers in Richmond, VA

Once an adult is into the mid- or late-stages of cognitive decline, it becomes very difficult for a spouse, family member, or regular home care aides to provide adequate care. When that time comes, we recommend seeking out a community that is specifically designed for those suffering from memory loss, Alzheimers, or dementia.

Don’t be surprised if you feel overwhelmed by all there is to do in the wake of an Alzheimer’s diagnosis or because your spouse requires more care than you can provide. While it can feel overwhelming, there are lots of Richmond-based resources that can help.

Feel free to come tour our Richmond, VA Memory Center and see firsthand what our community is all about.

Contact The Memory Center


The Memory Center Has A Memory Care Facility in Richmond

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The Memory Center has an amazing dementia care facility in Richmond. Our state-of-the-art, residential community serves individuals with Alzheimer’s and other related dementias.  We first opened our Richmond location in the Spring of 2015, which is located on a four-acre site adjacent to Bon Secours St. Francis Medical Center in Midlothian.

The Memory Center, Richmond serves as one of the few stand-alone, assisted living communities in the Commonwealth of Virginia that is dedicated exclusively to memory care. “This facility sets a new standard in the greater Richmond area for the care and well-being of people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of cognitive loss,” stated Kevin DiBona, Chairman and CEO.

Our Memory Care Facility in Richmond, VA

TMC va beach
The Memory Center is based on the Town Center concept.

The facility is comprised of 48 residential units designed and constructed around the innovative Town Center concept similar to The Memory Center, Virginia Beach.   The Town Center is a centralized area that features a movie theater, library, general store, bank, tavern, library, ice cream stand and salon.  Each wing within the community serves as a separate ‘neighborhood,’ equipped with unique common areas and corresponding theme.

The Design of This Memory Facility Care in Richmond

The philosophy behind our ‘neighborhood’ design concept is to offer residents the freedom to enjoy areas of interests suitable to their preferences. This unique layout and interior spaces encompass a stylish yet comfortable design that incorporates modern fixtures and finishes.

Medical Capabilities of Our Richmond Location

The Memory Center, Richmond is equipped with the latest technologies offering full medical over-site, a 4 to 1 resident to staff ratio and coordinated therapy services. Memories in Motion is a comprehensive activities program which provides the residents with multiple activities every day of the week. The facility features secured entrances and camera monitoring systems with over 1000 sq.ft. of secure walking trails along and convenient parking.

Our Richmond Location Is Bustling with Residents!

This is the company’s second community. “We were honored to have the opportunity to carry on with our mission to provide the absolute best possible care for individuals with this difficult disease” added DiBona. “We strive to serve the needs of our residents by providing a comfortable and interactive living environment. We want the highest quality of life for those suffering from Alzheimer’s and cognitive memory loss.”

Contact us to schedule a tour or get more information about The Memory Center, Richmond.

Contact The Memory Center

Holiday Tips For Alzheimer’s Caregivers

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memory center midlothian vaThe holidays can be challenging, especially when caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or other form of Dementia.  Let us help ease the stress and join us for a special event. 

Hear from The Alzheimer’s Association and learn effective holiday tips, which will include creating a safe, stress free environment, along with individual and family preparation supporting you and your loved one.

As a caregiver, we understand getting away can be difficult, so your loved one is  welcome to join. You can even  creating memorable moment with the opportunity to design your own personalized holiday ornament.
attend and participate.

When: December 13th, 2017, 12:00 to 1:30 PM

Where: The Memory Center, Richmond, 13800 Bon Secours Drive (adjacent to St. Frances Medical Center)
Midlothian, VA 23114

This event is free and open to the public.  


When to Move To A Memory Care Facility

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In most cases dementia is a condition that develops gradually making it easy to miss, or misunderstand, signs and symptoms – especially in the early stages.

By the time you notice a family member or loved one demonstrating memory loss, confusion, agitation, personality changes, and other dementia-related symptoms it is often a sign you will eventually need to alter their living situation to accommodate these, and future, changes.

As Alzheimer’s and dementia impact more of the brain there may be a point where the individual simply can’t live on their own.  Some families consider a move assisted living, which can be helpful, however, not all specialize in the caring for those with memory loss.  At a memory care facility, your loved one is cared for by staff who are trained and experienced in caring for patients living with dementia. This includes everything from how to best communicate and encourage, appropriate activities to beat boredom and important safety and health considerations.  

Below we outline some top signs a memory care facility might be a a good fit for your loved one.

You Constantly Worry About Them Getting Lost or Wandering

memory care richmond va
Secure courtyard at The Memory Center, Richmond

Those living with dementia can forget where they are or become disoriented and frightened.  In many instances this can lead to wandering, which can put them in dangerous situations.  Wandering is often a response to a physical need, such as wanting a drink of water, the desire to look for a familiar face or triggered by a past memory (such as needing to get to work on time). 

Aside from getting lost, wandering can also lead to dangerous falls or other injuries.

Memory care facilities, such as The Memory Centers, are designed with safe places for walking, safety measures such as eliminating trip hazards and equipped with security features.  In addition, staff are trained to recognize the signs of potential wandering and know how to re-direct the individual with appropriate activities, music and conversation. 

They Are Neglecting Their Health & Hygiene

Adults with dementia and memory loss may also forget to take care of themselves or lack the skills to do so.  They may forget to take prescription medications on time, take too little or too much.  You may also notice them skipping meals and no longer able to adhere to a well-balanced, nutritious diet.

Other signs include unkempt hair, wearing dirty, mismatched clothes or clothes inappropriate for the season such as winter coats in the middle of summer.  This are indicators their dementia is likely interfering with day to day personal care.

If your loved one is neglecting their health and hygiene, a memory care facility can support them with medication management, proper nutrition, bathing, toileting and other important aspects of their health.

Their Current Living Situation Or Level Of Care Is No Longer Enough

Unfortunately, as Alzheimer’s and dementia progress, so does the level of care needed for the individual.  Care you were once able to manage at home, with occasional hired help, or even with assisted living, become inadequate.  The later stages of the disease will eventually require around the clock care, specialized care.

In some instances remaining in their current living situation can become dangerous not only for the individual but for their primary caregiver.  Even if renovating a home to eliminate falls on stairs, trip hazards and slips in the shower were financially feasible, many caregivers simply aren’t able to handle the physical demands that accompany around the clock care. 

Memory Care Doesn’t Mean They Can’t Live Well With Alzheimer’s and Dementia

when to choose memory care
The Memory Center, Virginia Beach

At The Memory Centers we get to know the person for who they are today, not who they used to be.  Each day is designed to inspire purpose and full of daily activities, music, games and events to focus and engage the aging mind, which also eases common symptoms of boredom and agitation.

Our atmosphere is peaceful, natural, and filled with sunlight including safe access to an outdoor courtyard and secure walking trails.

If you are considering a memory care facility in Richmond/Midlothian, Virginia Beach or Johns Creek/Atlanta, contact us for more information about our specialized programs. 




Do People With Dementia Know Something Is Wrong With Them?

Seeing a loved one develop Alzheimer’s or dementia can be scary and confusing.  Their behaviors can be misunderstood or not make sense to you. Maybe during a recent visit to...



Coping Strategies For Caregivers Seminar

Being a full time caregiver of an elderly loved on or family member is challenging and can be very stressful and overwhelming. The Memory Center Richmond is pleaded to welcome...



Alzheimer’s Lunch & Learn At The Memory Center Richmond

The Memory Center Richmond and the Alzheimer’s Association invite you to join us for a special lunch and learn event.  As more and more of the population ages Alzheimer’s disease...



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