Memory care refers to assisted living focused on caring for people with memory impairments such as Alzheimer’s or dementia. Your choice to move your loved one into memory care can be a difficult and emotional one. Still, it can be necessary for continued quality of life.
An assisted living community is not something to fear. On the contrary, it can be a fun and fulfilling lifestyle—a place to meet new friends and take part in experiences and programming designed for people going through the same thing your loved one is. Memory care is for when you’re ready to take the next step in finding a safe and supportive community to help your loved one live their best life.
What is Dementia?
Maybe a doctor has walked you through this, or maybe you’re still wondering what to expect, but the first thing you should do when considering memory care is to understand what dementia is.
Dementia is an umbrella term that refers to a variety of cognitive conditions. One you might have heard of is Alzheimer’s disease, one of the most common types of dementia. However, there are also vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, and many more similar conditions.
The common symptom linking all forms of dementia is a decline in cognitive function, including memory, language, and problem-solving skills. Meanwhile, the causes of dementia are as varied as its types. Some are linked to genetics, while others may be caused by poor health or a brain injury.
Some age-related memory issues are perfectly normal, such as occasionally forgetting where you put your keys or struggling to find a word. Dementia, however, is not a normal part of aging. Instead, it can severely impact your loved one’s ability to live their daily life.
Some signs that may indicate dementia include:
- Forgetting the name of a close family member or friend
- Trouble recalling old memories
- Getting lost in a familiar place
- Referring to everyday objects with strange words
- An inability to complete daily tasks
Is it Time for Memory Care?
If you’ve read this far, it means you’re likely still considering memory care for a loved one. There’s no rule for when memory care is required, though a doctor might suggest it if someone is already living in an assisted care community. Ultimately, the choice comes down to you or your loved one’s unique needs.
Some signs you might notice that may help when coming to this decision are:
- A difficulty keeping up with daily tasks, such as household chores, or having trouble bathing and dressing
- Regularly forgetting to take medication and missing doctor’s appointments
- Safety is becoming an issue. Safety, in this case, can refer to both the person with dementia, as they may trip and fall, and to those that live with them, as some advanced forms of dementia can lead to aggressive behaviors
- Forgetting to pay bills
- Losing track of time
- A withdrawal from social situations and group activities. Socialization has been proven to lessen dementia symptoms and improve mental stimulation
Since dementia is progressive, catching these early warning signs is crucial in ensuring proper care. Some factors your loved one may notice themselves, but other signs might only be visible from an outside perspective. Make sure you don’t ignore them if they do come up.
Memory care communities are designed to manage people living with these symptoms. For example, you might find carefully designed layouts, such as hallways that loop back to common rooms that help with wandering, or a selection of structured activities and programs.
Deciding on the Best Memory Care Community
Memory care isn’t simply about choosing the right time. It’s about choosing the right place. A poor community can be worse than no community at all, so it’s crucial you do your research and select a community that meets your loved one’s needs and expectations.
Consider these questions when choosing a memory care community, ensuring any facility can answer them to your satisfaction:
- What is the staff-to-client ratio?
- Is there a healthcare professional on staff at all times?
- What activities are offered, and does the schedule change?
- What type of training does the staff have?
- What kind of medical services are offered?
- Is there security?
- What meals are offered?
- How can you get updates on residents’ health?
Memory care communities should be designed with people in mind, fostering holistic and safe spaces for all residents. At the very least, you should visit a facility before committing to it.
Are You Ready to Move?
Whatever choice you and your loved one make in your healthcare journey, you’re not alone. We at Fox Trail Memory Care know the importance of an enriching care experience. If you’re ready to talk about memory care, call us today!