As our loved ones age and face the challenges of dementia, finding a caring, supportive environment is so important. Memory care assisted living communities are designed to provide specialized care and assistance to individuals with memory loss. However, not all facilities are created equal. Here are seven things to consider when selecting a memory care community, ensuring your loved one receives the support and dignity they deserve.
Compassionate and Trained Staff
The heart of any exceptional memory care community lies in its
compassionate and well-trained staff. Look for communities where caregivers
receive specialized and ongoing training in dementia care, understanding the
unique needs of individuals with memory loss. Observe how staff interacts with
residents, noting their patience, empathy, and dedication to preserving
Each resident is unique, with a life story and individual needs. An
outstanding memory care community will emphasize a person-centered approach,
tailoring care plans to each resident's preferences, abilities, and history.
They should focus on maintaining a sense of independence and self-worth,
promoting engagement and a high quality of life.
Safe and Secure Environment
Safety is key for all loved ones, but especially so for those living
with dementia. Ensure the memory care community provides a protected environment
with measures like secured entrances, monitored exits, and surveillance
systems. The community should be designed to minimize confusion, with clear
signage, easily navigable layouts, and secure outdoor spaces. By incorporating
elements such as ample natural light and intuitive floor plans, community
designs can greatly contribute to fostering a more positive state of mind and a
sense of independence among residents.
Engaging Activities and Programs
Staying active and engaged is crucial for the well-being of individuals with dementia. Look for communities that offer a wide range of stimulating activities and programs specifically designed for memory care residents. These may include opportunities for socialization, as well as memory-enhancing games, sensory experiences, and art, music, and pet therapy. Additionally, access to secure outdoor spaces, thoughtfully designed walking paths, inviting patios, and serene gardens can greatly contribute to relaxation and overall enjoyment for residents.
Nutritious Meals and Dining
Proper nutrition plays a vital role in maintaining overall health and
well-being. Ensure the memory care community provides nutritious, well-balanced
meals tailored to meet the dietary needs of individuals with dementia. Consider
the dining experience as well—look for inviting dining areas, personalized
assistance if required, and flexible mealtime options to accommodate varying
preferences and abilities.
Holistic Healthcare Services
Comprehensive healthcare services should be readily available within
the memory care community. Look for communities that offer regular health
assessments, medication management, and coordination with medical
professionals. Additionally, ask about onsite therapy services, including
physical, occupational, and speech therapy, to address residents' specific
Family Involvement and Support
Maintaining strong connections with family members is vital for
individuals with dementia. Seek out memory care communities that actively
encourage family involvement and provide support services. Look for open
communication channels, family education programs, and opportunities for family
members to participate in care planning and decision-making processes.
Selecting the right memory care assisted living community for a loved
one living with dementia calls for careful consideration. By keeping these
seven aspects in mind, you’ll have a head start on homing in on a community that
provides the compassionate care, security, engagement, and support necessary
for your loved one to thrive. Remember, a well-designed, attentive memory care
community can make a big difference in the lives of residents and their
families, offering peace of mind and enhancing the quality of life for everyone
Mary Ann Morse
at Heritage, situated on
eight acres in Framingham, MA, is renowned for its exceptional memory care, traditional, and mental health assisted living communities. Nonprofit
Mary Ann Morse Healthcare Corp. has been dedicated to delivering quality,
affordable senior living and healthcare services for over three decades in the
MetroWest area. Our mission is to support aging adults and their families by
providing a comprehensive continuum of senior living, healthcare, and home care
options. We are deeply committed to our mission of helping seniors to live
their best lives and to embrace healthy aging, no matter where they are on
This informative, brief article explores the pros and cons of an older adult moving into a community living situation vs aging at home. There are many factors to consider, and the decision is not "one size fits all". By reviewing the options and the care needs of the person who is aging, a thoughtful, safe and happy living situation is possible, especially when a move to a place like Kavod Senior Life (among others) may dispel some misgivings or concerns. See what YOU think - read on!
More than 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimers, and that number is expected to reach 13 million by 2050. Although dementia treatment can lessen the impact of symptoms on daily life (and promising new drugs may slow the progression of dementia), currently there isnt a cure or a way to prevent the disease that affects memory, thinking and behavior.Common dementia treatment options include:Medication options for dementia treatmentMedications are commonly used to treat symptoms of Alzheimers disease and other dementias. Symptoms include cognitive (memory and thinking) issues, behavioral changes and sleep problems.Recently, there have been exciting breakthroughs in dementia treatment. New medications are showing promise at slowing the progression of dementia. These include anti-amyloid antibody intravenous (IV) infusion therapies for people in the early stages of dementia.When considering medication options for dementia treatment, questions to ask your loved ones doctor include:How does this medication treat the symptom(s)?How will you measure its effectiveness?What are the potential side effects? When should we contact you if we notice changes?How will this drug interact with existing treatments for other conditions?What options are available if insurance does not cover this drug?A Person-centered approachA person-centered approach complements medical dementia treatment by addressing behaviors that often stem from an unmet human need. Executive Director of Memory Support Services for Country Meadows Retirement Communities, Joel Kroft, explains, All behavior has purpose and meaning, and all humans use behavior as part of our normal communication with others. When we recognize that behaviors are often expressing an unmet need, either physical or emotional, then we can work toward understanding instead of frustration. If we meet the unmet need that is being expressed, then that behavior often goes away. Through this person-centered care lens, we can minimize or eliminate many challenging behaviors that are really just our residents expressing their needs, without the use of medications, and improve the quality of life for our residents living with dementia.Validation MethodThe Validation Method is a technique and a philosophy for dementia care created from the person-centered care practice of the late, Naomi Fell. This approach accepts the reality of the person with dementia rather than trying to force him/her to accept ours.Family, friends and caregivers learn how to listen with empathy and ask questions that allow the person with dementia to more fully express frustrations and concerns with dignity. By being accepting and compassionate, these conversations can help reduce anxiety and worries in the person with dementia and often improve connection with others.Learn how Country Meadows has embraced the Validation Method in our commitment to quality memory care.Technological toolsTechnology is offering exciting new tools for dementia treatment. The innovative Tovertafel (Tover Table) is an interactive game console that projects dynamic images onto a table or floor for participants to touch.At Country Meadows, use of the Tover Table has been shown to increase alertness and focus, reduce restlessness and tense behaviors including sundowning and promote social and physical activity in residents with dementia. For families, it enhances connections in a fun and meaningful way.
An excerpt from Scott Millers presentation, Florida Retirement Guide: Senior Living, Care Options, Family Choices & Future TrendsFrequently Asked Question: Are There Senior Living Communities in Florida That Have All Forms of Care in One Place?Yes, there are senior living communities that have all forms of care in one place. These communities exist on a very limited basis with a pricey model. Its called a CCRC. A CCRC is a continuing care retirement community, which means every level of care is available on one campus except the hospital. You have independent living, assisted living, memory care, and you have skilled nursing all in one environment. Those come in a lot of different shapes and sizes. Westminster Point Pleasant in Bradenton, Florida is an example. Westminster is a large not-for-profit that has CCRCs all over the state of Florida. Very well run model if thats something youre considering. Some of the disadvantages to a CCRC: most of them are buy-ins, which means you have to come up with a pretty good sum of money up front to be able to get in. Now Im going to give you a sticker shock. Those buy-ins can be anywhere from $100,000 to $1 million, and more. The good ones are the not-for-profits. Be leery of for-profit CCRCs. Because if they take that money up front, you want to be sure that that money is being well-invested. That money is there to create a profit pool, to maintain that property, to invest in that property, to reinvest in its residents, but many of the for-profit companies dont do it that way. So if youre ever looking for that environment, look at the not-for-profit first and then know that youre going to be paying some money up front. Now the advantage. If you went to a Westminster community, for example, it costs you maybe $100,000 to $175,000 up front. The communities are to the nines, theyre beautiful, and their care model is incredible. Whats really nice is the money you put up front can be a declining balance back to you or your estate, and it locks in amongst the people that you would pay for as long as you live. And, its much lower than most assisted living communities. So, you could pay $150,000 up front. Theyll take away 2% of that per month. So over the course of 4 years that money goes away. If you only stay 2, half of it comes back to you. You can pay more and theyll guarantee you a 90% rate back over time. The nice part is the cost of living there which they dont call rent, they call maintenance is somewhere between $3,000 and $4,000 dollars a month, all inclusive. You end up in a place where everything is covered. Try to compare the costs of living at home versus in an assisted living environment. Those figures are important when you understand the total costs that go into that particular community. Nobody really knows how much theyre actually paying at home unless they are very, very budget conscious. But, $3,000 a month to be in that environment is very inexpensive when you consider that its three meals a day, seven days a week, your utilities, all of your maintenance, all of the upkeep, anything you could imagine, and full care delivery as you age. And in these communities you can age in place, so if you have to go over to skilled nursing, you dont pay a dime. If you have to go into memory care, you dont pay a dime more. Florida CCRCs are a great option to consider if you are looking for all your senior care in one place.-Scott Miller, CEO of Florida Senior ConsultingDont wait for a crisis! Florida Senior Consulting is here to help you prepare for your retirement journey and find the best senior living communities in Florida, including CCRCs.Call us today at (800) 969-7176 or visit FloridaSeniorConsulting.com to start your journey. The choice should be yours.