If your loved one is living with dementia and currently is being cared for at home, you may be considering whether a memory care community might be the best choice to meet the higher level of care needed.
Families are often unfamiliar with the many benefits but the following description of a typical day in a memory care community paints a picture of the quality of life your loved one could experience.
What is memory care
These communities are designed to care for and meet the needs of those living with dementia. The environment, residences and common areas are specially designed to support the residents, as well as provide a secure place to live.
You’ll typically find a lower staff-to-resident ratio which creates more available time and attention. The staff are also trained in the best practices of dementia care and are experienced in how to respond to different behaviors while minimizing anxiety.
Why families may find it difficult to continue providing care
Most individuals are cared for at home in the earlier stages of their illness. But as a progressive disease, it’s not uncommon for the needs of your loved one to eventually exceed the level of care that the family can provide.
A memory care community is able to offer elevated services, such as specialized therapies and programs, activities and social opportunities. Around-the-clock care is a difficult responsibility for a spouse or family member, especially when it comes to a loved one who wanders, has difficulty sleeping or eating.
The health and well-being of the caregiver is also a concern when care is provided at home. Attending to someone living with dementia can be exhausting and overwhelming. Caregivers often neglect their own health and may eventually become unable to continue in this role.
A day in the life of a memory care resident
To provide a better idea of the benefits that a memory care community may offer, take a look at what a typical day could be like for a memory care resident. Although each individual can respond differently to dementia, this portrayal provides a glimpse into what you might expect if your parent makes a memory care community home.
1. Beginning the day
Residents begin the day when they choose. When to go to sleep and wake up is a personal preference. A smiling face, cheery greeting and assistance with grooming and dressing is ready when they are.
Breakfast offers several selections and assistance is provided whenever needed. Some residents will prefer to ease into their day while others appreciate the opportunity to jump in.
2. Joining in activities
After a nutritious breakfast, it might be time to participate in a favorite activity. This could be a walk outside in a secured area or the chance to work in the garden and enjoy the sun and fresh air.
Others may prefer to join an exercise class or yoga group before dropping by the art room to work on their latest creation.
3. Engaging with others
Like everyone, those living with dementia need to connect with others. While this can often be more difficult if living at home, memory care communities provide several opportunities to interact – during activities or at social events.
The staff also becomes an important part of a resident’s life as they interact with each other daily. The residents are reassured and feel more comfortable with familiar faces who know their likes and dislikes.
4. Entertainment and leisure events
As the day continues, residents enjoy taking part in pleasurable activities. Communities often arrange for music concerts or movies to be available. Residents look forward to having fun while playing games or interacting with others – which can also be stimulating for the brain.
5. Healthy and delicious meals
Healthy food is essential for those living with dementia and communities make a point of not only providing nutritious meals but know how to make them delicious and appealing.
Residents appreciate the support for their independence by being served food in ways that help them eat without assistance whenever possible. Finger foods or using specially designed utensils and dinnerware can help promote eating and create a pleasant dining experience.
6. Visits from family and friends
Residents enjoy their visits with family and friends. Depending on what is available in the community, a resident may be able to share a cooking class or craft project with their visitor.
Many residents find they are better able to enjoy interactions at certain times of the day so families often arrange their visits accordingly. But the residents always benefit from knowing they are loved and cared about.
7. Time for rest
Communities recognize that evenings and nighttime can pose more of a challenge for their residents who may experience sundowning – a period of enhanced confusion or frustration.
Evenings in communities often offer a quieter transition to bring the day to a close and help their residents get ready for bed, using music or other nighttime routines to promote sleep and rest.
Discover life at a Northbridge community
If you’re considering memory care for your loved one, we hope this information on what a day in a community might be like was helpful.
We understand the challenges of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia for both the individual and the family. But beyond the difficulties, we also see the potential and possibilities that can help improve quality of life and bring even simple pleasures to their days.
Our associates are specially trained in the best practices of Alzheimer’s and dementia care. Families are assured that their loved ones are supported 24/7 to live their best lives, with our programs, activities, healthy meals and social opportunities.
We invite you to contact us to discuss possible care choices and are here to answer your questions. Please download our complimentary guide, Just the Facts: Your Guide to Memory Care. Or, contact us to schedule a personalized visit.