According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some 5.5 million Americans were thought to have dementia in 2014. That number is expected to rise to nearly 14 million in 2060. Interestingly, dementia isn’t a specific disease. It’s a general term for when impairments in thinking, memory, or decision-making interfere with a person’s ability to do everyday activities. That interference, and its potential consequences, is what makes memory care so valuable. So, what is memory care?
What Is Memory Care?
Memory care is designed to support people living with dementia. Understanding who might benefit from it and exactly what this type of care typically includes can help you decide when it’s time to get serious about seeking out this service for your loved one. You might also benefit from some suggestions about what to look for when choosing memory care.
Signs That It’s Time for Memory Care
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, but it’s not the only one. Other causes include vascular dementia and mixed dementia. Whatever the cause, people battling dementia may be able to get by with just a little help in the early stages of their disease. However, as their condition advances, it may become trickier to manage. U.S. News & World Report suggests that there are five red flags that could signal that it’s time for memory care:
- Behavioral Changes: Dramatic changes in behavior or personality can indicate that your loved one may benefit from the secure, consistent environment a memory care unit can provide.
- Confusion That Creates a Safety Risk: Individuals with dementia sometimes get lost in places that were once familiar or forget rules that should be second nature. This can be dangerous for them and those around them.
- Physical Decline: People with dementia may forget to eat or take medication. A community that offers basic health monitoring can help them rebuild their physical strength.
- Incontinence: A difficult issue for caregivers, incontinence can be a sign it’s time for a memory care community.
- Loss of a Caregiver: Many people with dementia are being cared for by a relative. What if the caregiver is no longer able to do the job? Memory care may be the best solution.
Defining Memory Care
What is memory care? The rules for memory care vary from state to state. Generally speaking, it is a form of senior residential living that is designed to deliver a safe, structured environment. Regular routines minimize stress, and alarmed doors prevent wandering. Employees ensure residents are eating healthy meals, receiving needed help with personal care tasks, and participating in engaging activities that support cognition.
Memory Care Considerations
What should you look for when seeking out memory care for a loved one? AARP suggests keeping these four factors in mind:
- Staff: Is the staff friendly? What are their interactions with residents like? Do they seem to know the residents as individuals? What certifications do staff members have?
- Physical Environment: Is the community clean and pleasant? Does the signage use words and pictures? Are hallways connected so that residents don’t get frustrated by dead ends? Is the level of supervision appropriate for the residents?
- Activities and Food: Are activities engaging? Are residents encouraged to join in? What if they choose not to? Is the food appetizing?
- Spectrum of Care: Some senior living communities provide both assisted living and memory care services, but many don’t. As you explore the options, think about your loved one’s current needs, and what they might need in the future. Selecting a community that can meet their evolving needs – transitioning them from assisted living to memory care, for example – could prevent a move that may be traumatic or disruptive for a dementia patient.
With some care and consideration, you can find the ideal community for your loved one.
Are you looking for a premier assisted living and memory care community in the heart of downtown Greenville, South Carolina? Come visit us at Waterstone on Augusta. Our community is both relaxing and elegant, and we strive to enhance the quality of life of the seniors we serve through teamwork and unity. To learn more about our amenities and to view our lovely community, please schedule a tour online or call us today at 864-605-7236.