What Is Memory Care?
Alzheimer's Care/Dementia Care, also known as Memory Care, is a type of senior care with a specialized focus on individuals diagnosed with memory impairment disorders.
Safety and security measures are in place that don’t decrease one's quality of life since there are many activities and programs dedicated to helping seniors maintain their cognitive abilities and alleviate the symptoms of memory loss while supporting their unique challenges and concerns.
Adults diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other cognitive-decline conditions are monitored more closely in a facility specifically designed to protect and serve their needs, including some places that secure doors to prevent patients from wandering away and getting lost.
Different from an AL, Memory Care have specially-trained staff to oversee all their activities of daily living (ADLs) as well as offer more customized treatment according to the individual’s specialized needs.
What Is the Difference Between Normal Forgetfulness and a Serious Condition?
It’s important to determine from a professional doctor if your aging parent or relative is simply forgetful as a natural part of aging or is suffering from Alzheimer’s or another condition that needs more serious medical attention. Visit a doctor to have them assessed to see if a brain scan or other tests are necessary.
Here are some signs that a loved one may need to talk to a doctor:
Asking the same question repeatedly
Being unable to follow simple directions or a recipe
Getting lost in a familiar place that they should know
Being confused about people, places, and/or time
Neglecting self-care such as hygiene or eating poorly
What Are the Most Common Memory‑Related Conditions?
Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)
A condition of mild memory and thinking problems that can sometimes develop into Alzheimer’s. Usually, individuals with this condition can take care of themselves but need assessment every 6-12 months to track the decline
A serious condition of cognitive and behavioral changes that make it difficult for an individual to carry on life as usual. Not being able to think, remember, learn/understand, and reason interfere with his/her/their ability to take care of themselves and may include personality changes of increased aggression or withdrawal as well as problems with visual perception and/or language
The most common form of dementia for those 65+, the outward signs for Alzheimer’s include poor judgment-making and decision-making, inability to carry on a conversation, misplacing items, and/or losing track of time, the date or year, and confusion
When Is It Time to Consider a Memory Care Facility?
After a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer’s, an individual should be cared for by specialists and trained professionals that an Assisted Living facility alone cannot provide.
Most common symptoms of Alzheimer’s/dementia that may require Memory Care:
Getting lost or disoriented in familiar surroundings
Misplacing or forgetting to take medications
Showing aggression, refusing to cooperate with caregivers or withdrawing that indicate noticeable personality changes
Neglecting hygiene/self-care in ADLs
What Services Should You Expect From a Memory Care Facility?
Depending on the individual, care for memory loss patients may be general or require a specific type of therapy like music therapy. Some places may offer a better ratio of staff to patients for more individual attention.
In general, Memory Care facilities are similar to Assisted Living in terms of housing and services but they also have trained staff who can handle issues that are specific to dementia and memory loss patients.
Criteria for Memory care:
Type of care provided
Ask if the facility can accommodate medical conditions and continuing care. Make sure that they also reassess individuals frequently for health and medical issues
Ensure that the caregivers are qualified and have experience with dementia and other conditions to recognize impairments and behavioral problems with communicating/difficulty communicating
check that the place has emergency systems in each room and bathroom as well as offer medical alert devices. Staff should check on patients frequently as well as make sure entries and exits are secured to prevent wandering away
ask about the kinds of educational and social activities they offer that will help and/or enrich life-like art, lectures, games, and light exercise