Searching for a memory care community is often overwhelming. This process can be simplified by asking certain questions and looking for specific accommodations during your tour of prospective communities. In this article, we will discuss the best ways to determine the suitability of a memory care community for yourself or a loved one. Staffing, memory care services and the overall safety of the community are essential items to consider. We also recommend that you tour memory care communities as many times as necessary to feel completely comfortable with the staff, programs, and community prior to making a decision.
A memory care community is only as good as the staff who work there and care for its residents. Staff at a reputable memory care community will complete highly specialized training to work effectively with residents who suffer from Alzheimer’s, dementia and other memory-related illnesses. Make sure that twenty-four-hour caregivers are staffed at a higher rate than a traditional assisted living community. Regardless of the time of day, there should always be more staff on the floor at a memory care community due to the time and care required to support residents suffering from memory-related illnesses.
Memory Care Features/Therapies
Over the past few decades, Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other memory-related illnesses have become a national health crisis. New studies are confirming that custom treatment methods and advanced memory care features are important features of a successful memory care community. There is strong evidence that memory care therapies provide a higher quality of life, better treatment outcomes, reduced hospital visits, and increased social interaction. Some of the treatments that have offered the most promise and benefit include:
- Memory Boxes – For many memory care residents, remembering their room number can be a challenge. Fear of getting lost will often cause the resident to miss out on beneficial programs and events. To help residents identify their room, leading memory care communities implement simplified room numbers as well as memory boxes. A memory box typically contains items that are uniquely familiar to the resident placed next to their room number near the entrance to their room. For example, if a resident was an auto mechanic, their memory box may be filled with models of vehicles they used to work on along with some of the tools they used to use and their name badge from their uniform. Having a mix of job-related items, family photos and other personal items ensures that residents can easily return to their room as needed, without increased fear or agitation resulting from forgetting their room number or room location.
- Music Therapy – Recent studies have demonstrated that music is an effective therapy for memory-related illnesses. In many cases, when residents listen to a song from a specific era, they will be able to remember – with great detail – where they were when they first heard it. Most of us have experienced the sensation of having a song bring back a memory from our childhood that we hadn’t thought about in years. With all of the potential benefits of music therapy, it is no surprise that progressive memory care communities have started utilizing it as a way to help residents reconnect with their past. As an industry leader in memory care, Oakmont Senior Living has been providing music therapy for nearly a decade.
- Memory Stations – For many individuals who are battling memory-related illnesses, the act of being immersed in a task can bring back memories from the past and a sense of deep comfort. For this reason, leading memory care communities provide memory care stations that include simulated vanities, workbenches, nurseries, wardrobes and more. These stations allow residents to relive the experience of getting ready for an evening out, working on a project at their workbench, rocking a baby to sleep, or getting ready for work with time period appropriate clothing. This is another effective way for residents to regain a connection to their past.
Safety & Security
Memory care communities should always have advanced safety features that exceed those found in traditional retirement communities. Some of the most common security features found in memory care communities include keypad controlled entrances and exits that protect residents from areas that are unsecured and unstaffed.
For example, dedicated memory care communities will usually have enhanced security, visible landmarks, navigation aids and other design features like memory boxes, mentioned earlier in this article. These modifications lead to a better quality of life and positive treatment outcomes for memory care residents. Oakmont Senior Living creates specialized buildings that are easy to navigate and designed specifically for residents suffering from memory-related illnesses.
We would like to invite you to tour our world-class memory care community in Fresno so that you can experience luxurious senior living firsthand. If you can’t make it for a tour, please feel free to give us a call. No matter how you get in touch, we hope to hear from you soon.