What Is Dementia Care?
Dementia care, also called memory care, is a unique senior care services niche. While it may encompass many of the same tenets of senior care—such as companion services, meal preparation, medication reminders, or transportation services—dementia care is specific to seniors experiencing Alzheimer’s, dementia, and progressive memory loss.
Dementia care providers are specifically educated and trained in slowing down the progression of dementia-related conditions, as well as helping clients and their families celebrate life and find purpose in each day. Their approach is rooted in research-driven information and recommendations.
Memory Care Offers Personalized Support
While dementia care provides customized care for the clients, it also supports spouses and family members by providing peace of mind. When you know your loved one is being looked after by experienced and compassionate professionals, you can have the confidence to unwind, take some time away from your senior loved one, and engage in your own social activities.
Some of the most common memory care services go above and beyond standard senior care options because people with memory issues need extra support. Below is a list that shows how dementia care is especially unique, and why you might consider it for your loved one.
1. Full-spectrum safety and security
We can never predict the moment a loved one goes from early to mid-stage Alzheimer’s or dementia. But for most, safety issues like nighttime wandering, getting lost on routine walks, inability to remember the home address, sundowning, or escalating agitation are red flags that drive to the next stages of the care plan.
Experienced memory care providers know that the best dementia care plans are proactive rather than reactive, and thereby prevent the most common risks. This includes things like:
- Removing trip hazards and fall risks and installing fall sensors
- Clearly labeling rooms, cupboards, drawers, etc.
- Decluttering to keep rooms simple and streamlined
- Installing locks or deadbolts above eye level and keeping doors locked at all times to prevent wandering
- Removing locks from interior doors so loved ones can’t lock themselves in
- Implementing alarms to sound when exterior doors or windows are opened or closed
- Keeping interior and exterior areas well-lit
- Designing attractive and pleasant outdoor areas secured by locked fences and gates
Our expert memory care providers adhere to The Alzheimer’s Association guidelines, by creating “an indoor space that allows for freedom of movement and promotes independence” while offering “safe and secure outdoor areas.”
2. Diet plans focused on brain-healthy foods
Organizations like the Alzheimer’s Association and the National Institute on Aging spend millions of dollars researching dementia prevention and treatments. In addition to genetic predispositions, research indicates a strong relationship between diet and other lifestyle habits with the onset and progression of age and dementia-related memory loss.
Because diet is an essential foundation for brain health and memory, our providers create delicious and nutritious meal and snack plans that emphasize brain-healthy foods while eliminating those that increase inflammation and diminish brain health. We follow research-driven dementia diet guidelines that help keep our clients as physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy as possible.
3. Medication reminders
After a dementia diagnosis, most adults begin taking prescription medications such as Donepezil, Galantamine, or Rivastigmine. In many cases, these medications are an addition to existing ones.
Missing even a single medication dose, or taking more medication than prescribed, can significantly disrupt a person’s wellbeing. Therefore, medication management and reminders are essential. Memory care providers ensure that each dose is taken on time and in the proper quantity, to ensure your loved one is as healthy and clear-headed as possible.
4. Lifestyle changes supporting healthy sleep/wake patterns
Anyone caring for a loved one with dementia knows how a slight disruption in routine or sleep/wake cycles can lead to major shifts in mood and wellbeing. Called “circadian rhythm,” the natural sleep/wake cycle supports healthy hormone balance, detoxing, memory retention, energy levels, and metabolism, to name a few. Research has proven the link between disrupted circadian rhythm and memory loss progression.
Lifestyle habits supporting healthy sleep/wake patterns include observing a nutritious diet, getting plenty of daily exercise and movement, ample access to activities that stimulate the brain, and varied social engagement/connections. Getting outside each day and ensuring that interior lighting respects the natural rhythm of sunrise and sunset also help support the brain’s sleep physiology.
5. Personal care and housekeeping
As memory loss progresses, adults lose touch with daily routines. For example, they may struggle to get out of bed in the morning, forget to bathe, remain in the same clothes for days, or lose the ability to stay focused during routine chores.
Memory care providers facilitate these tasks to ensure clients are fresh, clean, and ready to greet each day. We help with physical hygiene including bathing, toileting or incontinence care, daily dressing, and maintaining tidy living spaces, which includes doing the laundry and providing fresh linens each week.
Since these chores can become challenging for the spouse or family members, our ability to take over these tasks opens the way to get back to the joy of relating to your loved one in personal, rather than task-based, ways.
6. Regular introductions of caregivers and other personnel
In the beginning, adults with dementia remember the names of family, friends, and those who are prominent in their daily lives. As dementia progresses, names begin to disappear, which can make a person with dementia feel embarrassed, frustrated, or even scared.
Since our professionals are trained in memory care, we honor the importance of calmly and warmly introducing ourselves to clients and residents every day, so that they feel competent, safe, and familiar with their caregiving team.
Expert Dementia Care Supports Spouses & Families
While dementia care supports the safety and well-being of those with dementia, we’re also here to support spouses and family members. Our services make sure primary caregivers have plenty of time to rest, rejuvenate, and engage in what brings them joy—which can go a long way toward preventing fatigue and burnout.