If you’re caring for a loved one living with Alzheimer’s disease or other form of dementia, you’re sure to have many questions, such as:
- How can I help my family member remain engaged and enjoying life?
- Are there ways to preserve memories or encourage reminiscing?
- What activities can we share with them as a family?
As the disease progresses, you may eventually wonder what to do or where to go for help if you feel unable to continue providing the level of care your loved one needs.
If this day comes, a memory care community may be the right choice, as they have highly-trained and knowledgeable staff that can support your loved one--and your family--by providing compassionate and personalized care tailored to their specific requirements.
Questions About Memory Care
Families are not always familiar with the advantages that a memory care community can offer. Reviewing the following answers to these commonly-asked questions can deliver guidance and help you decide if this is the right option for your family.1. What is a memory care community or neighborhood?
Communities that offer memory care services provide specialized care for those living with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Services may be offered as part of assisted living, in a separate residential section (neighborhood) or in a stand-alone community. The specially-trained staff, residences, buildings, programs and activities are all designed to support residents living with cognitive change in order to meet their individual needs and help them to achieve their highest quality of life.2. What is the difference between memory care services provided in a community vs. those provided at home?
Care provided to an older adult living with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia at home is typically provided by a family member, but may include support offered by friends, neighbors and outside services. However, as symptoms progress, the living environment may become unsuitable, and caretakers may no longer be able to keep the individual safe.
Community care provides a secured home designed specifically for those living with cognitive change such as memory impairment. Care is provided 24/7 and typically includes highly-trained staff, meals, therapy, programs and support for the family.3. What types of training do memory care staff receive?
Quality care for those living with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia requires specialized instruction, including how to best:
- Interact with residents in order to empower the individual.
- Respond effectively to different behaviors.
- Assist with challenging activities, such as mealtime, in a supportive way.
- De-escalate feelings of frustration and anxiety.
- Recognize needs when the resident is unable to communicate verbally.
Providing person-centered care that focuses on the individual’s preferences should always be the guiding principle in providing care for those experiencing cognitive change. Others include consistent staff assignments to encourage relationships to develop, and residences located in small neighborhood groupings to encourage freedom of movement and increase feelings of security. Color-coded hallways reduce confusion, and personalized doors can help residents recognize their home.5. What programs, therapies and activities are offered?
Communities typically practice several methods to help keep residents healthy, connected and engaged, all which play key roles in their overall quality of life.
Programs are tailored to an individual’s specific needs, abilities and level of enjoyment. Activities may assist with memory enhancement, physical fitness and relaxation. Enrichment therapies can include music, pet, occupational, art or aromatherapy, among others.6. What security measures are in place?
The residents’ safety is always a top priority for senior living communities offering memory care services. Security features may include keypad or alarmed entries to ensure residents aren’t able to leave the area unnoticed.
Alarm systems in the rooms, personal emergency pendants and motion sensors to alert staff of falls are other possible features. Secured enclosed courtyards also provide additional security while allowing residents the freedom to enjoy the outdoors.7. Will an individualized care plan be created for my loved one?
In most communities, the care team will create a personalized plan based on an assessment of your loved one’s physical and cognitive health, as well their likes and dislikes.
Understanding past and present interests, experiences and preferences will help support a quality lifestyle. As dementia progresses, the staff will be aware of changes as they occur and revise the care plan, as needed.8. Are families welcomed to partner in their loved one’s care?
Assisting staff members in getting to know your loved one contributes greatly to better care. Families should play a significant role in the care of their loved one, beginning with helping them to make the adjustment from the individual’s home to their new life in the community. The best senior living communities understand this and actively work to include the residents’ loved ones in both the transition to a community and in the care provided there.
It may be helpful to think of a memory care community as an option for relieving some of your caretaking responsibilities, allowing you to spend more quality companion time with your family member.9. How do I know if a memory care community is the right decision for my loved one?
As a progressive illness, the challenges associated with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia increase over time, and eventually, your loved one will require 24/7 supervision and care, regardless of where they’re living. Families who initially believe that providing care at home is best may begin to experience feelings of guilt if they’re not able to continue providing this high level of support and attention.
With a specially trained staff, programs, activities and secure environments designed for those living with cognitive change, community life can be a compassionate choice to keep your loved one safe and well cared for.
Life at Eskaton Communities
The word Eskaton means “dawn of a new day.” In our communities, we see each day as an opportunity to enhance the lives of our residents. We’ve been serving the Sacramento region and Northern California for over 50 years.
The Eskaton Difference starts with our life-enriching programs and collaborative partnerships. With a national reputation for innovation, we focus on creating communities that provide our residents everything they need for purposeful living. We invite you to visit one of our award-winning communities to discover some of the benefits we offer, such as:
- Private residences
- Delicious and nutritious meals
- Social opportunities to meet and make new friends
- Creative activities and therapies
- Fitness centers and exercise classes
- Housekeeping services
- Transportation services
- 24-hour staffing
- Free Wi-Fi
- And much, much more!
Our memory care communities encourage our residents to participate in their care and support their quality of life by providing an environment designed specifically to meet their needs, including:
- Integrated technology to enhance independence
- Opportunities to connect and socialize with others
- Programs to encourage engagement, including music, art and pet therapy
If you’re considering whether senior living could be the best choice for you or a loved one, we’re here to answer any questions you may have. We also invite you to download our complimentary guide, Family Decision Toolkit: How to choose the right senior living community.
To schedule a personalized tour, call us at 1-866-ESKATON (or 1-866-375-2866) or visit eskaton.org.