Senior living solutions for anyone

Memory Care Defined!

Few diagnoses feel as devastating as dementia. When someone important to you has a cognitive decline such as Alzheimer’s disease, it can seem like you are losing a loved one slowly and painfully. Worse yet, there is nothing you can do to stop it. And as much as you want to help care for the person suffering, there comes a time when you need experts qualified to give the memory care they need.

Memory care communities not only provide secure and comprehensive 24-hour assistance, they are built around the concept of preserving dignity and enriching the life of the residents. Because a plan of care is specific to individuals, memory care communities can maximize a resident’s abilities and give them a lifestyle that’s fulfilling.

Most memory care communities are designed to look and feel like a home, welcoming visiting family and friends to participate in the resident’s life whenever possible. Natural elements like sunlight and plants along with music, art and pet visitors create a calming environment proven to be effective in creating an ideal community for the loved one suffering from the disease. Many of these communities have fewer residents than other long- term care communities, so that the caregivers can focus on a higher level of assistance. Staff is needed to guide residents through each part of the daily routine. Once the healthcare providers are able to know their patients, they can customize the care plan to include which are events therapeutic to the individual.

Is it Time for Memory Care?

It depends on the situation. If you or your loved one has just been diagnosed and the dementia is expected to progress slowly, many assisted living communities can accommodate those needs. In fact, there are places that have both types of communities on site to make for a smoother transition when it is time for more comprehensive care.

Sometimes family and friends are able to support an individual battling dementia until the demands of the disease become too great. In that case, it’s important for everyone to come together and discuss the options. Regardless of the choice, time is of the essence. Delaying a decision leaves the door open to avoidable accidents and other medical issues that could arise in the time- being.

Ideally, the person who will make the community their home should have a voice in the decision. During this difficult time, Bimbley is a great resource for those who would like assistance in pointing them to the community that is the best fit in the short term and for the future.

A Day in the Life

Routine is key for individuals suffering from dementia, so once a schedule is established, the caregivers try to stick to it. In the morning, caregivers prepare residents for the day, including bathing, dressing and grooming or even making the bed. Breakfast in a community dining hall is followed by an activity, usually revolving around music or art. Sometimes communities will offer occasional supervised day trips, like a bus ride through town.

After lunch, residents can choose to spend some leisure time recovering from the morning’s activities by taking a nap, going for a stroll in the garden, or just relaxing with other residents in the community room. Another activity might be offered later in the day, just before dinner.

At all times, healthcare professionals are on site. From dispensing medication to regular check-ins, the staff is there to make sure residents have the help they need. But more than that, a good community is made up of caring individuals who want to maintain the dignity of the resident and facilitate as much independence as possible. A sense of companionship from the caregivers is critical for those suffering from dementia to give them the confidence to flourish in a safe environment.

Next Steps

You’ve decided the time is right for you or your loved one to find a memory care community. So what’s next?

1. Survey the financial landscape. Have recent healthcare costs depleted savings? Are debts to creditors pulling away at the monthly budget? It might be time to look at financial aid, and your first call should be to the Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRCs). If your county doesn’t have an ADRC, go to your county or tribal aging agency.

2. Assess physical and cognitive abilities and limitations. How well has the person been managing in the current situation? Assisted living might be a better fit for the time-being with a long- term plan to transition to memory care. If dedicated memory care is needed now, what other therapies and treatments are necessary to maximize quality of life? Talk to doctors familiar with you or your loved one’s medical history to ensure a continuity of care after the move.

3. Tour communities and ask questions. If possible, it’s best to look at three communities. Even if your first stop seems like the perfect place, touring others will give you perspective and trigger questions. Visit during mealtimes if possible, so you can get a sense of the contentment of the residents.