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
As 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.
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.
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
The 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.