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What is Memory Care? A Short Guide to Memory Care

What is Memory Care? A Short Guide to Memory Care

Science and technology have greatly increased the ability to not only live longer, but to also maintain one’s health well into the golden years. Yet, many aging adults are experiencing the extreme cognitive declines seen in disorders related to dementia and Alzheimer’s. When the symptoms of these disorders progress, many seniors find they are no longer able to reside on their own. Living with family may be an option, but it is not necessarily the best option for every senior and their family. Some elect instead to reside in memory care, where they can rely on appropriate services from trained professionals. 

Learn more about memory care, including what it is, the typical services, and what to expect:

What is memory care and who is it designed for?

You may be familiar with assisted living, which many seniors elect to move into during their golden years. In that setting the goal is to eliminate the responsibilities of home ownership and ensure access to trained professionals as health or mobility needs may arise. Memory care is a more advanced level of care that provides additional specialized services for seniors who have dementia or Alzheimer’s. 

After a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or dementia, a senior may not yet be emotionally ready to leave their home and move into a memory care setting. However, for long-term planning, it may be to their benefit to begin exploring options sooner rather than later. Many memory care settings offer services that scale up to meet changing needs. This means a senior with a recent diagnosis, who is not yet experiencing many symptoms can still relocate to the setting, and settle in, before all of the services are fully needed. 

What services are provided in memory care?

First and foremost, memory care settings provide basic living accommodations designed to meet the needs of elders who have dementia or Alzheimer’s. Typically, this involves small apartments with various floorplans so that residents can select the option that best meets their needs. Residents are asked to fully furnish their space, which is really for the best, because this allows the person to make the space into a home. Being surrounded by familiar furniture and items can ease the transition. 

Of course, daily meals are included in the memory care setting. Today’s dining options are far better than those seen in the ‘nursing homes’ of the past. The dining facilities now resemble a mix of local diner and family dining room. This cozy setting allows residents to enjoy their meals with new friends. Residents are typically able to partake in ‘anytime’ dining, with a menu of selections prepared by a chef. The meals are prepared with an eye for making the food both delicious and nutritiously balanced. 

Health and wellness services are available on site to keep residents feeling at their best. This even includes beautician/barber and nail care services. Residents are also able to participate in support groups to address the emotions related to a diagnosis of dementia. Modern facilities even offer in-house pet therapy, because connection to animals has been shown to be a valuable tool for individuals with dementia. Finally, each day, a variety of activities may be offered to keep residents active and engaged. 

What to expect when residing in memory care? 

For many people, the prospect of moving from their familiar home may be daunting. However, modern memory care offers services to ease the transition. One thing to keep in mind is that residents do not have to wait until they have deteriorated to move in. In fact, it can be ideal to relocate earlier, and settle in, before the symptoms are very bad. This allows a person to age in place. Early on, they may need fewer services, and later, they may require more. Memory services can scale up to meet their needs. 

By aging in place in a memory care setting, services can start out with more limited assistance and later escalate to more daily medical intervention. Trained staff are available to assist with the provision of medications and therapeutic approaches intended to maintain cognitive abilities for as long as possible. Many memory care settings utilize the latest tools and technology, and even virtual reality, to aid residents. Services can even extend to the family, to ensure that others are adjusting to the diagnosis. 

Final Recommendations 

If you have a loved one with a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer’s, consider a memory care setting when you plan for the future. This setting is ideal for seniors and their families to ensure everyone’s needs are met with professionalism and respect, to ensure a quality of life, no matter the specific circumstances a person may be going through. Even if your loved one remains with family, memory care settings often provide a respite care option. If you are considering memory care, look at Quail Park Residences. Located in the western United States, they offer the latest in memory care services. 

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