What’s Included in a Memory Care Community?
Memory care is a type of supportive living community designed to help individuals with memory impairments, including various types of dementia. Memory care communities provide 24/7 health monitoring and assistance with daily living activities as well as housing, meals, housekeeping and a variety of amenities to enhance residents’ lives.
What You’ll Find in Memory Care Communities
Memory care communities include most, if not all, elements that someone needs to live a full life. That includes the foundational necessities for a safe, comfortable lifestyle as well as programs and amenities that create an enjoyable place to live.
A Safe Environment
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 environments to become dangerous. Memory care communities are always on campuses that are specially designed to keep individuals with memory impairments safe. Residents enjoy wide, accessible hallways, beautiful outdoor spaces and open areas where they can gather with friends or family – all with safety in mind.
Indoor and outdoor areas are designed to discourage wandering and have 24-hour security monitoring. In addition, memory care communities employ a high staff-to-patient ratio to ensure residents have the support they need when they need it.
Most memory care communities offer private or shared rooms. Rooms are spacious, with comfortable furnishings and security features to make living in them enjoyable. In every situation, residents are encouraged to decorate their rooms with personal effects such as family pictures, awards and mementos important to them.
Healthy, Personalized Meals
Memory care communities include chef-prepared meals for all residents, although family and friends are encouraged to take their relatives for meals in restaurants or the family home as well. In the community, meals are tailored to accommodate dietary needs, such as those with diabetes or high cholesterol.
Programs and Amenities
Creative endeavors help reduce anxiety by helping people express thoughts and feelings non-verbally. That’s true for everyone, especially individuals with dementia who may not be able to find the right words to express their ideas. 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 individuals with dementia 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 pictures, newspaper clippings or accolades from where they worked. 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.
Petting, talking to and interacting with pets have 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.
Events and Excursions
Most memory care communities include regularly planned events in the community as well as excursions to local attractions. For example, The Monarch at Richardson plans movie nights as well as trips to local parks, museums and other attractions in the Richardson, Texas, community. Each event and excursion gives residents a chance to explore their interests while enjoying time with friends and neighbors.
Individualized Health Support
Memory care specializes in providing cognitive support, but it also incorporates physical, spiritual and social health. Memory care communities include wellness philosophies that encourage residents to improve their overall well-being. They also provide 24-hour health monitoring, access to a licensed nurse and emergency response systems.
When Is 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 memory care services can greatly improve individuals’ lifestyles while lightening the burden of care on relatives. Here are a few guidelines regarding when it may be time for someone to move to memory care.
As dementia 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 events 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 home, affecting their quality of life. At this stage, memory care 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 with dementia, contact The Monarch at Richardson today. We’ll help you make the right decisions throughout the entire process.