If your loved one has been diagnosed with dementia, you are probably worried about their ability to live independently at home. Perhaps Mom forgets to take her medications, or has difficulty cooking for herself. You may worry Dad will wander off or have a fall. Perhaps his social circle has gotten smaller and he is alone too often. Or you may just feel that the burden of caring for your parent has become more than you can handle. This is where memory care services can help.
Memory care services are designed to provide individualized care for those living with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. Typically, memory care services are offered in a live-in community with 24-hour access to care. These services are often part of a larger assisted living community or nursing home. They may be in a separate wing or a nearby unit. The staff in the memory care services unit is specially trained to assist seniors living with dementia.
Memory Care Services typically offer:
Dining – Memory care units typically offer three meals a day, plus snacks. Assistance with eating is available for those who need it. Many memory care units offer a choice of dining environments. Residents can eat in a busy, bustling environment, or in a quieter setting if they have had a difficult day.
Trained staff – Memory care services employ staff that are specifically trained to care for those with dementia. Each resident will receive an individualized plan designed to help them live as independently as possible with any limitations they may have. The staff are trained to deal with any behavioral issues your loved one may be experiencing due to their dementia. Residents also have access to a variety of therapists, such as speech therapists and occupational therapists. Many seniors are able to regain lost abilities with the regular training in daily skills these therapists provide.
Access to 24 hour care and supervision – This alone can be a huge relief to you as a caregiver, especially if your parent tends to wander. Memory care units are specially-designed to accommodate those with dementia. Hallways and rooms are connected in a way that makes them easy to navigate, and outdoor areas are monitored and secure. Everything is designed to be as user-friendly and safe as possible. The combination of a secure environment and trained staff also helps prevent falls and other injuries.
Assistance with daily activities – While seniors are encouraged to be as independent as possible, assistance in all areas of life is available. The goal of memory care services is to meet the specific needs of each resident, with respect for their individuality. If Mom has minor difficulties with eating, she can learn simple skills to help maintain her independence. If she has more trouble, staff can sit with her during mealtimes to assist her. There is no “one size fits all approach” with memory care services.
Medication management – Many seniors with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia have difficulty remembering to take their medications. Memory care services provide medication management to make the process of dealing with several prescriptions easier.
Programs and events – Memory care services offer a variety of activities designed to keeping seniors active and engaged. These may include exercise classes, sing-alongs, social events, and more. A major aim of memory care services is to engage each resident in activities that interest them. Activities are tailored to the stage of dementia. Those with relatively mild dementia may sit and learn to knit, while residents with a later stage of dementia might listen to one of the staff members play favorite old songs on the piano.
The stress of caring for someone with dementia can take a physical and emotional toll on you over time. Caregivers can experience burnout, anxiety, and depression. If you find yourself feeling this way, memory care services can give you the extra help and support you need.