When facing a loved one’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or other form of dementia, many families circle the wagons and strive to provide all the care themselves. For many, however, it isn’t long before it becomes apparent that they may be in over their heads. Thankfully, modern memory care communities have raised the bar considerably when it comes to the long-term care of people living with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of memory loss.
When families ask, “What is memory care?” and is it the best option for their loved one, it’s helpful to know what to expect from the best.
What is memory care?
One of the first aspects many families struggle with when caring for a senior with memory loss is understanding the changes that occur and how frustrating they can be for even the most compassionate caregivers. As time goes on behaviors like anger, agitation and irritability can make caring with compassion a real challenge, often resulting in caregiver burnout and compassion fatigue. According to the American Caregiver Association article, “How Dementia Caregivers Can Cope With Compassion Fatigue,” this can affect not only quality of care, but the health of the caregiver as well.
That’s where memory care excels. When it’s time to ask, “What is memory care?” consider that memory care staff are specially trained and up to date on the latest dementia care research and prioritize compassion because they know that compassion and care have to go hand-in-hand to be successful. Also keep in mind that memory care professionals share the caregiving load so, unlike many family caregivers, they know help is always close by and ready to assist.
Dementia is an umbrella term for a broad range of memory loss conditions as described in the Alzheimer’s Association article “Types of Dementia.” Each has similarities but also variations that may manifest differently often making family caregiving even more demanding.
In memory care, each resident is assessed and a personalized care plan is created with their physician. This enables staff to know where the resident is in the progression of their individual disease, what to expect and how to provide the right therapies.
It’s supportive and engaging
Another aspect of the question “What is memory care?” is that of providing a supportive and engaging environment that helps each resident enjoy a level of independence with the structure they need to maintain and even improve their mental and emotional well-being. While families may try hard to accomplish this, they may fall short simply due to all the other aspects of care that are needed.
Since memory care professionals know the importance of support and engagement, they provide a diverse daily schedule of activities and events that keep residents involved and promote wellness, with the added benefit of socialization which is another important piece of the care puzzle. For a look at the possibilities, check out the nccdp.org document, “Activity Ideas for Alzheimer’s/Dementia Residents.”
It’s designed for safety and security
For many families, one of the most frightening possibilities with dementia is the threat that one day (or night) their loved one will just wander off and get lost, injured, or worse. Top memory care communities understand that fear and go the extra mile to provide a comprehensive level of safety and security that is nearly impossible to get at home. This includes personal safety devices, an accessible environment, and security that prevents wandering. More about the dangers of wandering can be found it the alz.org article, “Wandering.”
It’s full-service care, 24/7/365
Perhaps the hardest aspect of in-home caregiving is the need to increase caregiving until the loved one has someone there to protect them day and night. This can really tax caregivers with jobs, families, and homes to look after to the point that it becomes simply impossible to manage.
Memory care, however, offers services and amenities around the clock all year long so families can relax, get back to their daily responsibilities and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing their loved one is in the best possible place for their safety and well-being. In addition, memory care helps build a routine, provides wonderful, nutritional meals and hands-on assistance with daily tasks like dressing, bathing and other personal hygiene, eating, and mobility. All told, memory care is a package that prioritizes care so families don’t have to.
Find out more about the care options at The Lodge at Stephens Lake in our free “Senior Living Options Guide: A Guide for Understanding Which Level of Care is the Best Fit.” Contact us to schedule a tour of our beautiful neighborhood!