What Does Memory Care Include?
If you have a friend or family member who struggles with memory loss, you may find yourself searching for answers. You’ve heard about memory care and wonder if it will help your friend or a family member have a safer and more fulfilling life. In short, the answer is “yes.” Memory care has come a long way from what it once was. Specialized communities and programming have changed the lives of those who live with memory loss, for the better.
Almost six million Americans of all ages currently live with Alzheimer’s – approximately 200,000 with younger-onset Alzheimer’s are below the age of 65. That number is expected to rise to nearly 14 million by 2050. Even more sobering is that someone in the U.S. develops Alzheimer’s every 65 seconds; and by 2050, it’s expected to increase to every 33 seconds. This means you’re not alone – a lot of people are searching for answers.
Memory care is a specialized type of long-term care designed to meet the specific needs of someone who has varying levels of memory loss, as well as the behaviors that are associated with it, typically caused by Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Memory care is best accomplished by:
- The creation of a stress-free lifestyle using structured programming with regular routines and consistent schedules
- The cultivation of cognitive skills using specialized programming
- Ensuring the security and safety of residents
- Having a licensed team who are specially trained to assist adults who struggle with dementia and impaired cognition and memory
Assistance with Activities of Daily Living
Memory care residents often need assistance with basic everyday activities and as the disease progresses, so does the need for assistance. Staff members are available 24/7 to help residents with activities of daily living (ADLs) although residents are encouraged to be as independent as possible.
ADLs is a term used to refer to a person’s daily self-care activities. An individual’s ability or inability to perform ADLs is often used as a measurement of their functional status. Basic ADLs include (but are not limited to):
- Grooming, includeing such things as combing/brushing/styling hair, nail care and shaving
- Bathing and showering
- Personal hygiene, including such activities as washing hands and oral care (brushing and flossing or denture care)
- Toilet hygiene, including getting to the toilet, cleaning oneself afterward and getting back up
- Functional mobility, including assistance with such actions as walking, getting in and out of the bed or a chair, transferring to and from a wheelchair to another location and any other activities that move a person from one location to another
- Eating assistance
One way to look at basic ADLs is to consider the things you do when you get up in the morning and get ready to leave the house: get up, go to the bathroom, shower/bathe, groom, dress and eat.
Instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) are not necessary for fundamental functioning but enable a person to live independently. The IADLs that a memory care community aids with include:
- Housekeeping and laundry
- Meal preparation which includes the planning, shopping, preparation and cleanup
- Medication management
- Using the telephone
- Pet care (if pets are allowed in the community)
Safety and Security
With stringent security measures, a memory care community can provide a level of safety that is almost impossible to accomplish in the home, even if one were to choose to pay for 24-hour caregiving assistance. Memory care communities are designed to manage the specific issues a person diagnosed with dementia faces. Through careful research, experience and knowledge of dementia, the staff in a memory care community are trained to anticipate problems and safety hazards; then to proactively find ways to prevent incidents and accidents to keep everyone safe and to provide you with peace of mind. Let’s look at ways a memory care community can provide a safe and secure environment.
24/7 Care and Supervision
Someone is always awake and available to help. Whether a resident just wants reassurance and a hug, requires distraction to avert agitation, needs someone to help with toileting, or needs extra care to deal with sundowning, the staff in a memory care community provides the care and supervision that is needed. During outings, the staff is able to provide expert supervision, so the resident can go out safely and have the best experience possible.
Dementia residents are prone to wander, making elopement prevention important. In fact, given the opportunity, they’ll walk right out the door and just keep walking. Entrances and exits to the community are secured, either manned by a staff member or activated through a keypad, keeping residents from elopement.
Protection and Entertainment When Wandering
Wandering is an issue that memory care communities must deal with frequently. Many communities have incorporated built-in sensors strategically placed throughout the community to track resident movement and ensure safety. Some communities provide secure outdoor courtyards and gardens with walking paths, providing a safe place in which to wander. Others provide multi-sensory rooms such as a Snoezelen room or aquariums. Communities do these and other things to find ways to help residents feel calm, comforted and relaxed.
Memory Care Programming
Memory care communities offer specialized memory care programming tailored to the specific needs and preferences of each resident. Activities are planned to keep each resident active and engaged throughout the day.
Medication management is provided so that medications are safely managed and administered. Staff are licensed to administer medications and help residents take their medications and vitamins at the correct times and at the proper dosages, with or without food as required.
Bathroom safety is important. Memory care communities provide an environment that is equipped with a variety of safety features, such as grab bars by the toilet and in the shower, non-slip rugs and non-slip surfaces throughout the bathroom and shower areas, call buttons to request assistance and raised toilet seats. Residents receive assistance with toileting and showering/bathing as needed.
Call and Alarm Mechanisms
Memory care communities provide various call and alarm mechanisms. Some locations where you may find a call button include in the bathrooms and private residences, pads placed under mattresses or wheelchair seats (to alert caretakers that the resident has gotten up) or exterior door alarms to indicate that a resident has attempted to leave the premises. These features and others like them provide security for the resident and peace of mind for you knowing they are safe.
No More Kitchen Accidents
The kitchen is filled with hazards. Someone can easily slip and fall on a spill, forget to turn off a burner, accidentally place a metal object in the microwave or cut themselves with a sharp knife. Since meals are provided and apartments in most communities do not include kitchens, memory care residents are kept safe from kitchen hazards. As an added bonus, they are served nutritious, freshly prepared meals and snacks.
Therapies to Reduce Aggressiveness
A variety of therapies are provided to reduce aggressive behaviors and agitation. From pet therapy to reminiscence therapy to music and art appreciation and many other types of therapy, these activities help residents to reminisce, relax and enjoy themselves. This, in turn, decreases wandering, aggression and agitation.
Specially Trained Staff
Staff members at memory care communities are expertly trained to deal with the needs of residents who have dementia and other memory loss related needs. This training may include (but is not limited to):
- The process of aging, special needs and physical limitations of adults with memory loss and dementia
- Techniques to aid with ADLs and personal care services
- Psychosocial needs of the adult
- Emergency preparedness
- Holistic, person-centered approaches to dementia care
- Recognition of the effects of common medications used to treat dementia symptoms
- How medication affects the behavior of residents with dementia
- Supervision and security of residents with dementia
- Recognition of symptoms that may create or worsen dementia behaviors
- Positive therapeutic interventions and activities
- The appropriate response to typical issues such as aggression, wandering and inappropriate sexual behavior
- Promotion of resident independence, dignity, privacy, individuality and choice
- End of life issues and care, including hospice
Activities Designed to Meet the Needs of Memory Care Residents
Activities are planned to meet the demands of memory care residents in general, while also meeting the needs and wishes of each resident specifically.
Activities should be chosen and planned that will:
- Provide enjoyment and relaxation
- Maintain and develop each resident’s potential
- Provide opportunities for socialization and to make connections with others
- Provide cognitive stimulation
- Trigger each resident’s ability to remember past interests and hobbies to keep them connected to their life and their identity
Training and experience are required to ensure activities are engaging, enjoyable and safe to meet the needs of residents with varied interests and abilities.
Memory Care at The Villages of Windcrest
Memory care at The Villages of Windcrest does all this and more. The primary goals of our specialized memory care programming are:
- To ensure that each person experiences a genuine purpose in their life and a sense of enjoyment and fulfillment every single day
- To slow the progression of the disease process so that they have a better quality of life for a longer period of time
Our trademark wellness philosophy, SalusTM, is a way of life here at The Villages of Windcrest, ensuring that mind and body remain healthy, engaged and active. Through it, we offer programs that emphasize each person’s social, intellectual, spiritual and physical dimensions to ensure that they thrive and achieve their own personal goals. Our customized one-on-one programs offer meaningful interactions, help build relationships and grow connections through positive socialization.
The Salus philosophy is integrated throughout The Villages of Windcrest. It’s expanded to encompass the needs of those with memory impairments through our ValeoTM programming, which is adapted specifically to the needs of residents with memory impairments.
After assessing each resident’s interests and abilities, we build a personalized approach to create a life filled with moments of joy. Each person’s legacy and passions are honored through our Valeo Signature Programs, which increase awareness, cognition and engagement, while also stimulating pleasant long-term memories.
Our residents enjoy a special sense of community in a comfortable and safe environment. From our holistic approach to wellness to our gracious amenities and services to our secure and comfortable suites, life at The Villages of Windcrest is truly inspiring. Contact us today to learn more.