Helping a loved one suffering from dementia, Alzheimer’s, or other memory care issues can be one of the most stressful task you might ever face. Your CarePatrol Senior Advisors have the compassion and experience to help calm the chaos so that you can navigate make the best decisions for your loved one. Learn more about Memory Care with these insightful articles.

So, what exactly is memory care?

A couple of weeks ago I had a client tell me that her mom had dementia and that she wanted her to move into a memory care community. The client then asked “What exactly is a memory care community?” I realized that I couldn’t answer the question because, as I looked at all the assisted living facilities and nursing homes that I’ve worked with in Northeast Wisconsin, I could only recall one that would say “no” if someone walked in their door and said, “Do you offer memory care?”

Without industry standards, memory care is open to interpretation. There are “memory care” units that are locked, those that are delayed (15 second) egress, and some facilities with doors that open freely. There are assisted living facilities that provide “memory care” as part of their standard care service to any senior, or small 4–16 resident communities that offer their own version. There are large apartment buildings providing meals and medication administration, facilities that provide specialized activities to seniors with early to mid-stage dementia, others that specialize in later stage dementia, and those that serve residents with behavioral challenges — all offering “memory care” services.

So, how does one find the right “memory care?” It’s important to not get hung up on the words and, instead, focus on finding the right care for your loved one. In the case of my client, I explained that we needed to work together to understand her mother’s care needs today and, in the mid-term, to understand her social preferences, work within her budget and clarify the expectations of the family and POA. These factors will be critical in finding the safest and most appropriate “memory care” for this individual, no matter how we chose to define it.

Knowing When To Get Help For Your Loved One With Dementia

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It’s not always obvious when to ask for help, or when to make changes to the care that the person with dementia is getting. Providing good care means meeting the needs of the person receiving care. Depending on preferences, needs and abilities, it may be appropriate to look for more assistance, a dementia care plan, or different care choices.

How much care a person needs depends on how independently he or she can walk, eat, use the restroom and bathe.

If you are not sure if it’s time to get additional help, ask yourself a few questions:

Safety

Is the person with dementia safe? What type of supervision is necessary? Does the person require supervision for some activities such as cooking or using certain appliances? Does the person need 24-hour supervision or care?

Health

Does the health of the person with dementia require specialized care? Does he or she require help with medications? Is the health of the person with dementia or the health of the caregiver at risk?

Care

Does the person with dementia need more care than he or she is receiving right now? Does the person need help toileting, bathing, dressing or grooming? Is caring for the person becoming difficult for you? Can you physically manage providing the care needed?

Social Engagement

Is the person with dementia engaged in meaningful activities during the day? Would spending time with other people with dementia be beneficial? Does more focus need to be placed on memory care?

What is Memory Care?

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It is no surprise that as we get older, we progressively find it harder to remember things. Some older people have no trouble with their memories, however for some it is more than the normal aging process. As we age, we begin to progress information more slowly. Others can become afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease. But this is the exception. Alzheimer’s does not necessarily occur in all older people. ‘Risk factors include heredity, age, ethnicity, gender, and poor intellectual ability and the accompanying difficulty with complex thinking. Women in general are at greater risk than men of developing AD.

A Memory Care Community is a facility that cares for people diagnosed with memory conditions such as Alzheimers and dementia. They find or their loved ones are aware that the condition is affecting their daily living and they are unable to care for themselves without assistance. Facilities designed for Memory Care were created with the sole purpose of caring for patients individually while promoting socialization during meal-times and set activities.

The Memory Care facility usually consists of units within assisted living communities, which offer patients 24-hour support and programs that ensure their safety and quality of life. Residents are housed in private or semi-private rooms and are involved with a number of supervised activities and programs specifically created to enhance their memory. Many are furnished in such a way as to create a home-like setting, encouraging people to treat it as their home, rather than a facility. Larger facilities are secured.

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