What’s Included in a Memory Care Community?
People today are living longer than ever before. With longer lifespans come changing capabilities, including memory and other cognitive abilities. While some age-related forgetfulness is normal, more serious memory problems associated with progressive diseases like Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia can make it challenging for individuals to continue to live on their own. This is where a memory care community can help.
If you or someone you love has memory impairment, a memory care community may be an ideal solution. Designed to meet the evolving needs of people with dementia, memory care communities help residents with the quality of life. Here’s a closer look at memory care communities, the services they include, and why they are becoming an increasingly popular option for older adults living with memory loss.
What is a Memory Care Community?
A memory care community is a senior living place that provides specialized care for people with memory loss. According to Seniors Housing Business magazine, memory care communities are a fast-growing segment of the senior housing market, with apartments skyrocketing by 55 percent over the five years between 2013 and 2018.
The communities offer structured places for people with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Like assisted living, they offer meals and assistance with daily personal care. However, they include additional services, like resident programming and cognitive stimulation therapy, that support the unique needs of people with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Programs are targeted to engage residents and stimulate cognitive ability, while staff with dementia-specific training provides additional structure and support to help residents thrive.
Lastly, because wandering is common, memory loss communities have extra security safeguards in places, such as alarmed doors and enclosed outdoor areas.
Memory Care Services
Many memory care communities in Richardson, TX, including The Monarch at Richardson, offer a spectrum of services aimed at enhancing the holistic well-being of community members by using the physical, social, intellectual and spiritual dimensions of living. These include the following:
Assistance with Daily Living Tasks
People with dementia often face increasing difficulties attending personal self-care activities, such as washing, dressing, grooming, using the bathroom, and eating. These are known as activities of daily living, or ADLs for short. They also struggle with other activities of daily living, like cooking and laundry. These communities provide the extra help residents need to safely and successfully live their lives.
24-Hour Health Monitoring Led by a Licensed Nurse
Memory care communities typically have a licensed nurse on-site for at least 8 hours a day, although some communities have a nurse available 24/7. This is so that residents receive the proper care they may need.
As it progresses into its late- and end-stages, individuals may lose mobility as well as speaking abilities. Twenty-four-hour monitoring ensures their needs will continue to be met — even when they’re unable to express them. This creates invaluable peace of mind for residents’ loved ones.
Creating Places with Security in Mind
Dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease, often causes individuals to become confused or unsure of their surroundings. It can make them wander or forget where they are, causing even familiar situations to become uncertain and foreign. Some of these security features include circular hallways, 24-hour health monitoring, and secured entrances and exits.
Memory care campuses are specially designed to maintain residents’ quality of life safe. Residents may enjoy outdoor spaces and common areas where they can gather with friends or family. Indoor and outdoor areas are designed to encourage connection and well-being.
Private Living Space
Many memory care communities offer private rooms. Rooms are spacious, with comfortable furnishings and security features to make living more enjoyable. Residents’ rooms are decorated with personal items such as family pictures, awards, and mementos that are important to them and create comfort.
Emergency Response System-Equipped Bathrooms
Bathrooms are common places where trips, falls and other challenges occur. Memory care unit bathrooms are often equipped with emergency response systems in the event of an accident.
Healthy, Personalized Meals
Memory care communities include chef-prepared meals for residents, and friends and families can often join residents at on-site dining rooms. In the community, meals are tailored to accommodate dietary needs, such as diabetes or high cholesterol.
Housekeeping, Laundry, and Linen Services
Weekly housekeeping by friendly and competent staff ensures resident apartments remain tidy, clean, and comfortable. Personal laundry and linen services further support the hygiene and cleanliness of residents.
Residents may have different needs at different times. Concierge services may include activity reminders, transportation and travel arrangements, health care appointments, additional housekeeping, grocery shopping and mailing services.
Residents may have different needs at different times. Concierge services may include activity reminders, transportation and travel arrangements, pet care, health care appointments, additional housekeeping, grocery shopping and mailing services.
Scheduled Transportation Services
Scheduled transportation ensures residents can keep and maintain their healthcare appointments and other necessary services.
Events and Programming
Most communities include regularly planned events in the community. When a resident first moves to a memory care community, staff determine interests and then tailor events and programs to benefit each resident. Some of these events might include painting classes, listening to music, reminiscing, pet therapy, and holiday projects.
Holistic Wellness Program
Memory care specializes in providing cognitive support, but it also incorporates physical, spiritual, emotional, and social wellness. Memory care communities include wellness philosophies that help residents improve their overall well-being. At our memory care community in Texas, we offer the wellness philosophy called Valeo™ by Solvere. It focuses on our residents’ potential to achieve personal wellness through engagement and connection. The Monarch offers Fit Minds, a cognitive stimulation program aimed to increase resident self-esteem, quality of life, and mental acuity,
Creative endeavors help reduce anxiety by helping people express thoughts and feelings non-verbally. That’s true for everyone, but it’s especially true for individuals with dementia who may not be able to find the right words to express their thoughts. Art improves cognition because painting, drawing, and sculpting engage areas of the brain that are not involved in other activities, such as speaking or socializing.
Reconnecting with cherished memories brings joy to them as well as their friends and family. Memory care communities with Valeo™ Signature Programs often tap into that joy by prompting individuals to revisit pictures, heirlooms and other items that bring to mind important parts of their lives. These items could be wedding and family pictures, newspaper clippings, or career accolades. Staff members use these items to interact socially with residents and stimulate residents’ ability to remember enjoyable memories. Friends and family may also use a collection of these items to honor their relative’s legacy. At our Valeo neighborhoods, we create a Legacy Kit for each resident filled with mementos and pictures.
Petting, talking to, and interacting with pets has been shown to reduce depression, anxiety, and loneliness. Another Valeo program, “Creature Comforts,” uses the therapeutic bond between pets and people to spark joy in memory care residents. The program brings gentle animals like dogs, cats, and birds to the community to interact with residents. The pets prompt residents to share stories of the animals they had in their lives and encourage residents to get physically active by walking and playing with the animals.
When Is a Memory Care Necessary?
How do you know it is time for someone to move to a memory care community? The decision is often difficult for friends and family, but a memory care community can greatly improve individuals’ lifestyles while creating less of a burden on caregivers. Here are a few guidelines to help you decide when it may be time for someone to move to a Texas memory care community.
As it affects the body and mind, it can cause safety issues. If your relative or friend forgets to turn off the stove or put oven mitts on before taking out a hot dish, you’re likely dealing with a safety concern. The same is true of physical concerns like climbing stairs with reduced mobility. Anytime safety is an issue, you should consider other options that will provide a more secure environment.
Everyone forgets things occasionally, but when a relative begins forgetting routine things like paying bills and eating meals, this could indicate dementia is progressing. Consider having your family member’s physical and cognitive condition examined by a physician and ask if memory care is a good option.
Withdrawing from Family and Friends
People with dementia who were previously outgoing and involved with family may begin withdrawing and isolating themselves as their dementia progresses. Withdrawing may be their way of coping with fear, sadness, and often loneliness. Individuals with early to moderate-stage Alzheimer’s disease who become depressed may refuse to leave their homes, affecting their quality of life. At this stage, a memory care community can often help individuals reconnect and experience more joy.
Visit a Texas Memory Care Community Today
Memory care is designed to improve the lives of both residents and their support network. The Monarch at Richardson goes above and beyond traditional memory care to alleviate the burden and stress of support on relatives while enriching residents’ lives.
To learn more about our community, what it includes and how it could help your relative, contact The Monarch at Richardson, a dementia community located in Richardson, TX today. We’ll help you make the right decisions throughout the entire process.