Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia can be overwhelming to deal with for seniors and their families. Cognitive decline leads to an increased need for support and daily care. There are physical and mental aspects to dealing with a dementia diagnosis. Unprepared families may experience elevated stress that impacts health and relationships.

Dementia isn’t something that you and your loved one must face alone. Resources are available to provide care and support. One of the biggest assets you have on your side is memory care.

Are Memory Care and Assisted Living the Same?

While memory care and assisted living are closely related, they are not the same. It’s important to know what your loved one needs or may need in the future, before choosing a senior community. Both facilities will provide:

  • Nutritious meals every day
  • A comfortable, clean place to live
  • Staff to administer care and support
  • Access to social activities and groups
  • Access to medical care and other services

Memory care is considered a higher level of care because it provides increased security and support. Staff will include people who are specially trained to work with seniors who have dementia.

The daily schedule may also vary. Assisted living communities encourage socialization with groups and events geared toward the general senior population. Memory care does the same thing, but usually with activities that are more suitable for adults with cognitive decline. Memory care will also work with more structured schedules because routines help dementia patients remain independent.

Both services are also equipped to handle an increase in care needs. However, assisted living may not be able to accommodate someone who has more extreme needs due to dementia.

Many assisted living communities make it easier for seniors to find the right level of care by providing both options. Seniors who are in the early stages of dementia or are diagnosed while in assisted living can eventually move to memory care without leaving the community. This makes transitioning from one to the other easier and less traumatic for the resident.

Older adults who do not have dementia should consider the 5 ways that assisted living helps families of seniors. There are still many benefits for those not facing memory loss and cognitive decline.

How Does Memory Care Make Life Better for Seniors with Dementia?

The needs of a senior with dementia will become more demanding over time. This can be stressful for family caregivers who may not be trained to handle the effects of cognitive disorders. Memory care is equipped to provide the attention and support needed while reducing the burden placed on families. 

How does memory care make life better for seniors with dementia?

  • Increased Security and Safety to Prevent Wandering

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, six out of every 10 dementia patients will wander at least once. Many do so more than once. Wandering is very dangerous because it can cause a senior to become lost or end up in a dangerous situation.

Families may notice signs of wandering like returning late for no reason, forgetting how to get to familiar places, or talking about fulfilling obligations they no longer have like going to work. They may also have difficulty finding their bedroom, bathrooms, or other places within their own home.

Other signs include pacing, restlessness, repetitive movements, and acting as though they are doing something but nothing is done.

Memory care is built with safety in mind. Doors and windows are locked so that patients cannot wander outside of the facility. There is 24-hour monitoring, so your loved one is never left alone.

  • Ensures Ongoing Good Nutrition and Hygiene

One of the common side effects of dementia is poor nutrition and hygiene. Patients may forget to eat and bathe. This can quickly become a bigger health issue because food is essential to sustaining life and cleanliness helps prevent infection.

Memory care staff provide support for dining, bathing, and grooming. They will ensure that your loved one is fed and stays clean. They can provide the level of care needed while allowing the resident to remain as independent as possible.

  • Cognitive Stimulation Therapy to Improve Functioning

Memory care staff organize activities that help improve brain function. These can be fun and promote thinking and memory use. Common cognitive stimulation therapy activities include puzzles, games, music, and discussions. They may also engage in activities like gardening and baking.

The types of activities provided will be based on the resident’s ability. Staff are on hand to supply support and encouragement.

  • Structured Daily Schedules to Reduce Stress and Promote Independence

Surprises can cause anxiety and stress in dementia patients. This can lead to behavioral issues, which make it harder for the individual to function independently.

Memory care provides a structured daily schedule for each resident. Having a routine lowers stress and helps seniors understand their environment. It also enables them to continue doing activities without triggering behavioral issues. Being able to complete tasks on their own promotes self-esteem and gives dementia patients a sense of control in their lives.

  • Supplies Social Interactions That Are Essential to Mental Wellness

Socializing has been connected to the progression of dementia. Seniors who socialize may notice slowed progression or even regain some cognitive function.

Dementia can make it difficult to continue socializing independently. Memory care promotes formal and informal socialization. Residents can interact with their neighbors and staff. Staff organize gatherings and events and ensure that all residents have access to these group activities.

Socialization is essential to the emotional wellbeing of seniors with dementia.

  • Support and Encouragement for Families of Dementia Patients

Dealing with a loved one who has dementia isn’t easy. It can be scary and intimidating for families. Memory care can facilitate better relationships by encouraging families to visit and engage with their loved ones. Memory care creates a comfortable setting that allows friends and family to maintain a bond with their loved ones.

Memory care also reduces stress. Family members who were caregivers no longer have to cope with the increasing needs of a loved one and can instead focus the time spent together on more fun or meaningful activities. It dissolves the emotional tension that can form when trying to juggle responsibilities with the care of a parent or grandparent who has dementia.

How Do I Know If My Senior Loved One Needs Memory Care?

Discussing memory care isn’t easy, but it’s necessary when an older loved one starts showing worrying symptoms of cognitive decline. You can look for 10 signs that your elder parent needs memory care assistance. It can also help to talk to a medical professional.

Moving into memory care will significantly improve the quality of life of a senior with dementia.