Families of seniors facing a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or other form of dementia often have no idea what to expect when it comes to memory care communities for their loved one. The fear for most is that a move to a memory care community means the end of a fulfilling and independent life. In reality, however, modern memory care is designed to help, not hinder, their independence and quality of life.
As a memory care resident, each morning is a new beginning starting with help when needed to get up, get dressed and cleaned up, and take medications. Then they are off to a nourishing and appetizing breakfast with friends. Right from the get-go, each memory care resident is engaged and active, helping them to preserve as much independence and self-esteem as possible.
After breakfast, residents can pursue different activities such as exercise classes, group activities, one of a variety of therapies like those described in our blog, “How Memory Care Enriches the Lives of Its Residents,” and fun games played with friends.
Throughout the morning memory care residents who need extra help are guided by compassionate team members who are always on hand to assist. Maybe they will take a walk in an enclosed outdoor courtyard to get some fresh air and sunshine, work on arts and crafts, or help out in the garden. No matter what they choose to do, each memory care resident is always under the watchful eye of caring team members who make safety and security a part of everything they do.
Lunchtime marks the start of the afternoon. Memory care residents enjoy meals that rival the best restaurants in a formal dining room where they receive all the help they need, whether that’s a gentle reminder or hands-on assistance with eating.
After lunch, many memory care residents are ready for a little down-time in their own apartment where they can receive their medications, take a nap, or watch a little television. For others, the afternoon holds many possibilities like attending planned entertainment from local musicians, participating in a rousing sing-along, or visiting with friends and family.
Often during the afternoon, a memory care resident will continue therapy sessions, which might include visits from furry friends, music therapy, watching videos from times past, or working on cognitive skills by working on puzzles, playing brain games, and other mentally challenging activities. Everything is designed to help each resident reach their full potential and enjoy life without being overstimulated. Learn more about life in memory care in our blog, “What Does ‘Memory Care’ Really Mean?”
After enjoying a sumptuous dinner and dessert, it’s time for each memory care resident to relax and wind down. It’s also a time when sundown syndrome (or sundowning) sets in for some. The trigger for sundown syndrome is literally the setting sun and according to the my.clevelandclinic.org article, “Sundown Syndrome,” it can cause confusion; paranoia; delusions; behaviors like pacing, rocking, wandering, crying, and yelling; and emotions like anxiety, agitation or irritability.
To help ward off sundown syndrome and ease into bedtime, memory care residents may enjoy a movie, listen to a storyteller, spend time in their apartment talking on the phone, look at family photo albums, or listen to their favorite music.
At bedtime, friendly team members arrive to assist with dressing and personal hygiene, dispensing medications and talking about the day and how each memory care resident feels. Building trust between team members and residents is key to maintaining communication. Team members are constantly assessing what each memory care resident needs and noting changes in their status to help provide the best possible care.
One of the primary reasons families choose memory care for their loved one is the 24/7 year-round safety and security it provides. Unlike at home, a memory care resident cannot leave the campus unattended. There are also a variety of personal safety devices for falls and wandering, as well as the watchful and attentive team members. Accessibility aids like walk-in showers, handrails, and grab bars provide additional physical safety measures.
When memory care is being considered, Thrive Senior Living can help answer questions and show what the best memory care communities have to offer. Before choosing a memory care community, get prepared with our blog, “Make the Right Choice for Your Loved One: Memory Care Questions to Ask.”
For more information on memory care and other senior living care options, download our free guide: Senior Living Options: A Step by Step Guide for Making an Informed Decision. Or, contact us today to schedule a tour!