What is Memory Care? And Can It Really Help My Loved One With Dementia?

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  • What is Memory Care? And Can It Really Help My Loved One With Dementia?

If you’re like most people, you probably have a passing awareness of the various options in senior living and care. Many folks don’t have much need to study up on this subject. For you, it was more of an abstract idea. But then—everything changed.

Suddenly, the topic of senior care hit close to home—because you became one of the many people who have a loved one with dementia. 

At first, you noticed some small issues with their recall abilities. You both may have even laughed them off, or chalked them up as simply part and parcel of the normal aging process.

Soon, however, you noticed their memory problems seemed to be increasing. Your loved one began having difficulty navigating their day to day life as they once did—simple chores and common activities seemed to take longer, or involve many fumbles and missteps.

You saw the confusion and concern on their face, as they worried their valued independence was starting to slip away. They knew they were forgetting things, but they just couldn’t help it.

As their memory and cognitive issues worsened, you began to realize—my loved one’s safety is at risk if they continue to live in their own home. 

Now, senior living and care is a concept you’re scrambling to try to learn more about. You’ve realized it falls to you to make an important decision in your loved one’s best interest.

It would be a lot to handle, even if it were the only thing on your plate. (Spoiler alert—It’s not). 

If you’re feeling lost and overwhelmed, unsure who to listen to or which way to turn—you’re not alone. As the elderly population grows, many people find themselves suddenly thrust into the role of family decision maker. And it’s not a position they ever applied for.

This article will focus on helping you learn about the memory care model—to assist you in dispelling your concerns and to better understand the offerings and benefits of this level of care.

This way, you’ll have the necessary information to help you decide if a transition into memory care is the right choice for your loved one.

Let’s start by looking at what services memory care has to offer your loved one with dementia.

What are memory care services?

You can probably guess that a big part of the services provided in a memory care setting revolve around supporting and compensating for the impacted memory skills of the people who reside there. But that’s only one piece of the puzzle.

In a nutshell—memory care facilities are designed to support residents with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia with round-the-clock supervision and care. 

Memory care facilities exist because many people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia and cognitive issues reach a point where they’re unsafe to continue to reside independently on their own.

While their needs for daily care and assistance may vary—they do require consistent monitoring at the minimum, in order to promote their safety and effectiveness with their daily routines.

Some facilities provide memory care in addition to other levels of senior living (such as assisted living and skilled nursing), while others choose to concentrate only on residents at the memory care level of need. Palm Beach Memory Care was created to solely focus on serving residents with memory care needs and their families. 

While there’s great variation in the services memory care facilities provide, some of the offerings you can expect when your loved one enters into memory care include—

 

  • Medication management services
  • Housekeeping and laundry services
  • Staff specially trained to assist people with memory issues
  • Meals and snacks provided
  • Private or shared rooms or apartments
  • Access to therapy services if needed (PT/OT/ST)
  • Social programs and activities
  • Fitness programs
  • Assistance with personal care and activities of daily living

Of course, not all memory care communities are created equal, and there’s a wide range of what they provide, in terms of services offered, overall design, and features. Each memory care community is different, and it’s important to find one that’s the right fit for your family’s needs.

Most memory care facilities offer you the opportunity to connect with an advisor who can offer you insight into a particular community. Many also offer tours, which are a helpful way for you to get a true sense of what a senior living community has to offer you and your loved ones.

At Palm Beach Memory Care, we go above and beyond the industry standards, to offer our residents a level of holistic care that is seldom seen in today’s memory care facilities. We’re completely focused on memory care—unlike other facilities with multiple tiers of senior living, we were created with the sole purpose of providing care to residents with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

Our community was designed to serve the unique needs of our residents. From the carpets, to the lighting, to the layout, itself—every decision we made was based on research into the best ways to promote the safety and quality of life of individuals with dementia. 

With our exclusive Pathways Program, we offer residents and their loved ones a comprehensive pathway back to multidimensional wellness and authentic, meaningful connection. Our program addresses eight key dimensions of overall wellness, including physical, emotional, medical, cognitive, and social wellness. It’s offered to all our residents and customized to fit their individual needs and goals.

What are the benefits of a memory care facility?

While some people hold a negative image in their minds when it comes to memory care, what many don’t realize is that memory care provides several key benefits for those living with dementia and their families. These benefits, according to A Place For Mom, include—

 

  • Reduced risks for fall and other injuries
  • Improved nutrition and hydration
  • Increased happiness reported by residents
  • Fewer ER visits
  • Increased social engagement and interaction
  • Improved or maintained mental functioning in a majority of residents
  • Reduced medication needs and side effects

I think you’ll agree—there are some pretty strong positives on that list! 

At Palm Beach Memory Care, we take several steps beyond the typical, existing models of care, to provide our residents and their families with a new paradigm—one that upholds our core belief that dementia is just another interesting chapter in life’s rich story.

How is memory care different from assisted living?

If you’re like most people, you’ve probably conflated all levels of senior living and care with the term—nursing home. If so, you’re not alone!

Unless you’re in the industry—until you or someone you love needs to transition into senior living, most people don’t  know too much about the various levels of care available to seniors.

When you start researching your options, however, it’s easy for overwhelm to set in. You never realized just how many different levels of care were out there! And suddenly, you’re thrust into having to learn a whole lot about the subject. It’s a lot. 

One of the big questions people tend to have early on involves separating out what they can expect to be offered at baseline at each level of care. In particular, people often get mixed up trying to understand the differences between memory care and assisted living options.

While it’s totally easy to get these two models of care confused—we’ll aim to show you some key differences, so you can easily tell these two options apart. And decide what’s right for you.

First, let’s look at assisted living.

Residents of assisted living communities typically reside in their own apartments, located within a facility where they have access to services like dining, activities, transportation, and medication management. Assisted living communities represent a wide spectrum of senior needs and care, and are often the best choice for people who require some assistance with their daily routines, but who continue to live somewhat independently.

Instead of round-the-clock care, residents in assisted living have access to care when they need it. Assisted living communities tend to offer residents access to therapy services when needed (including physical, occupational, and speech therapy services), and also typically offer various activities, events, enrichment classes, fitness opportunities, and planned outings. Many also offer cleaning and laundry services.

Assisted living represents a true variety of senior needs. Some residents may be largely independent, but for one or two small issues where they benefit from extra support and assistance. Others may be quite dependent on caregiver and nursing support, requiring assistance or supervision with most of their activities of daily living. These individuals will likely make a transition into a higher level of care—either to skilled nursing or memory care, depending on where their issues lie. And, assisted living is home to people who fall everywhere in between the two relative extremes of this continuum  of care.

In contrast, memory care offers an increased level of daily assistance and care. It’s designed for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, and other types of dementia and neurological issues. These individuals benefit from consistent, round-the-clock care, supervision, and assistance, in order to safely complete their daily activities.

In short—memory care represents an increased level of resident assistance and care, compared to assisted living. 

Like assisted living, there’s a saying in the industry—“if you’ve met one person in memory care, then you’ve met one person in memory care.” It’s important to remember—people with memory issues are still individuals, and generalizations only hurt this diverse population by reducing them to their issues rather than celebrating their abilities and uniqueness.

At Palm Beach Memory Care, it’s a core part of our mission to recognize and support each individual resident of our community. That’s why we work to closely involve family members in what we do—you can provide us with insight and information into your loved one that we’d never have access to, otherwise. And this knowledge can make all the difference in providing personalized care that takes into account your loved one’s unique preferences, dislikes, hopes, and history. 

Here, we not only consider your loved one’s needs, but yours, as well. We understand how difficult it can be for loved ones of a person with dementia to cope. You may feel as if you’re watching your loved one fade away. Or, you may worry that placing your loved one into memory care will only hasten this process.

With our signature Pathways Program, we work to ensure the opposite is true. Through this exclusive, comprehensive program, we focus on reconnecting your loved one to their family and themselves. This evidence-based program is built upon current research and knowledge of dementia and how best to care for those who experience it.

We believe it’s possible to connect in meaningful ways with an individual with dementia, no matter the severity of their symptoms or stage. We know because we’ve seen it in action.

If you’re ready for your loved one to experience the level of personalized, science-backed care that’s transforming the senior living industry—we’re here for you.

Palm Beach Memory Care is a state-of-the-art, brand new facility, built and designed to provide the highest level of compassionate care for individuals and families living with dementia. You can contact us anytime for personalized assistance and to have your questions answered by our knowledgeable, highly-trained staff. You can also book a free in-person tour, to come see for yourself how we’ve evolved the old models of memory care. And keep a close eye on our website, so you’ll be first to know about any exciting new announcements, events, and content.

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