When it comes to finding the perfect memory care community for a loved one, there are quite a few things to take into consideration. You want to be sure that your loved one is close to friends and family, as visits from familiar faces can have a significant impact on how the resident handles diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia. You will want to be sure that the memory care community they are entering is designed to handle the individual needs of residents dealing with memory-related illnesses. It is also critical to get to know the staff that will be caring for your loved one. Having a team of dedicated memory care specialists can make all the difference when it comes to successfully managing memory-related illnesses amongst seniors in a memory care community. In the following article, we will provide tips that can help you select the perfect memory care community for your loved one.
Get to know that staff at potential memory care communities.
Get to know the staff and be sure they have the proper training. Many retirement communities that offer assisted living and independent living also reserve a certain amount of apartments for residents that are dealing with Alzheimer’s or other memory-related issues. In most cases, these communities only offer memory care to help their existing residents stay in their existing retirement community should they need memory care services after they have already been an independent or assisted living resident. While a continuum of care is excellent, it is essential to differentiate between communities that simply take residents who need memory care and those that are designed from the ground up for memory care.
One of the critical differences between communities that are built for memory care specifically is the staff. At a dedicated memory care community, the team has been trained to assist residents with Alzheimer’s, dementia, or other memory-related illness. Specialized memory care training helps staff to identify signs that memory care resident’s symptoms may be worsening, and they can alert the family to customize memory program options. Staff members who are specially trained for memory care also know how to calm residents who may be experiencing a scary situation. Knowing how to sensitively and compassionately care for a resident who may have forgotten where they are or how to get to their room is a skill that many independent living and assisted living staff has not been taught. A great memory care staff should have undergone specific training to know precisely how to help residents and encourage them throughout the particular memory care programs that should be a part of the memory care community.
Ask about the safety features that are specifically designed for memory care residents.
Memory care communities should be designed from the ground up to protect and assist their residents. It is not uncommon for memory care residents to forget where they are, where they were going, or where their room is. When residents become disoriented, the community must have locked common areas that restrict resident access from areas that could be dangerous for them. It is also imperative that there are specially designed interiors that help residents to quickly remember where they are in relation to their room and other key common areas. For instance, many top-notch retirement communities employ memory boxes outside the doors of each resident’s room. These picture boxes are filled with images, items, and trinkets that can help to jog the resident’s memory and help avoid the scary feeling of not remembering where their room is. Many residents may not remember that they are in apartment 104 but may see their wedding photo, a service award, or model of their first car, which can be much more meaningful as well as helpful.
Memory care communities should not merely be retirement communities that accept residents with Alzheimer’s; they should be communities designed to help and engage residents with memory care needs.
Get to know the memory care programs that are in place to help residents have more “good days.”
Many family members come to visit their relatives who may be dealing with a memory-related illness and can be heard saying, “dad is having a good day” if he remembers everybody. What is not so apparent are the things behind the scenes that can help contribute to more “good days.” Memory care programs can include things like:
– Music listening stations that play music that has special meaning to the resident. Many studies have tied music to memory in ways that can be extremely helpful in connecting residents to past experiences.
– Look for Social gatherings that focus on cognitive exercise. As a part of the Oakmont Traditions Program, there is a full schedule of activities designed around engaging with other residents regularly. These activities include things like brain teasers, group puzzles, and putting together care packages for service members. Residents who have a sense of community routinely have better health and wellness outcomes than those who lack meaningful social connections.
We know that there are many things to consider when selecting a memory care community in El Dorado Hills, and our team of memory care experts are here to help. Contact us anytime to learn more about what makes a great memory care community and schedule a tour today.