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What Is the Meaning of Memory Care?

As the population of adult Americans over the age of 65 continues to grow, the frequency of diagnoses of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia is also on the rise. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, as of 2020, there were more than 5.8 million people in the U.S. living with Alzheimer’s disease; it is expected that this number could reach as high as 14 million people by the year 2050.

Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or any form of cognitive impairment is a challenging job. During the early stages of memory loss, it may be possible for some families to form a supportive network to care for their loved one at home; however, all types of dementia are progressive diseases, meaning they grow more serious over time. As memory loss diseases progress, it can be safer for the senior to relocate to a care community specially equipped to manage and support their unique needs.

The best fit for most families is to move their senior loved one to a memory care community. So, who needs memory care? What is memory care? Is memory care different from other forms of senior care?

What is Memory Care?

Memory care communities are designed to care for older adults who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. Cognitive impairment is a requirement to live in a memory care community because every aspect of the living environment, daily activities and health care support is specifically crafted to benefit seniors with a memory loss condition.

Memory care communities, like Griswold Rehabilitation & Health Care Center, are similar to assisted living communities in the level of personal care that is provided, but memory care comes with increased safety measures and specialized care plans for seniors with memory impairment. Additionally, team members who work in memory care communities receive special training and certifications to work with seniors with all forms of dementia. 

The special environment created in a memory care community has benefits for the residents and their families. These benefits include:

Increased safety levels. Memory care communities provide enhanced safety features, such as emergency alert systems and 24-hour security to ensure seniors are safe day and night. There is a special focus on supporting seniors who are prone to wandering and those with mobility challenges who may have a heightened fall risk.

Cooperative care planning. Family members of memory care residents are encouraged to partner closely with the community team members and health care professionals to develop and manage the resident’s care plan. Because the needs of seniors with dementia change rapidly, it is important to regularly review and adjust the approach taken with each resident; the support and involvement of family members helps to keep the daily care personal and individualized.

Behavioral health care. It is common for older adults with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia to experience mood disorders or depression. To support residents with these additional challenges, some memory care communities offer counseling services, as well as various therapies.

Specialized programming. The various activities and programs offered in memory care communities are designed specifically for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. The entertainment options are cognitively stimulating for those with memory loss, and some of the programs are calculated to slow the progress of memory loss symptoms.

While the average stay for a resident in a memory care community is two to three years, memory loss is a progressive disorder that affects each person differently and at a different pace. This means the length of stay in memory care can be as short as a few months or as long as a decade. For many families who are exploring memory care options, it is helpful to understand what levels of memory care are provided at a certain community and how a resident can move between levels as their need for care changes.

Memory Care Communities

It can be difficult to know when it is time for a senior loved one with a memory loss disease to move to a memory care community. Here are some signs, as the disease progresses, that it may be time to make the move:

  • Changes in behavior
  • Changes in caregiver’s availability or ability to provide care
  • Incontinence
  • Inability to initiate either electronic or phone communications
  • A decline in physical health
  • Confusion that impacts physical safety
  • Unclean or unsafe living conditions

Once a loved one moves into a memory care community, there are some services and activities that are included as part of the memory care experience. Each of these is focused on stimulating the mind of residents in memory care and keeping their levels of physical health as high as possible. The standard enjoyable, inspiring memory care activities include:

  • Art therapy to encourage self-expression
  • Music therapy to boost mood and emotions
  • Nature walks for socialization
  • Crafting classes for sensory stimulation focusing on activities such as coloring, collages, ceramics or knitting
  • Mobility-friendly exercises, such as tai chi or chair yoga to improve strength and balance
  • Games such as bingo or checkers to encourage seniors to use their fine motor skills

About Griswold Rehabilitation & Health Care Center

Griswold Rehabilitation & Health Care Center is focused on allowing residents to maintain their independence and live freely with the support of an individual support and service plan. Each person’s plan includes their preferences and needs, allowing them to enjoy each day, while staying safe and feeling healthy! Amenities and support services specific to Griswold include:

  • Linen services and housekeeping
  • Trash removal
  • Daily bed-making
  • Medication monitoring
  • Assistance with the activities of daily living
  • Delicious, nutritious meals prepared daily
  • 24-hour on-site staff
  • Laundry room
  • Private thermostat
  • Coffee bar
  • Barber shop and salon services
  • 24-hour emergency response system
  • Social, fitness and wellness activities and programs daily
  • 24-hour certified nursing assistants (CNAs)
  • Interior and exterior maintenance

Interested in learning more about Griswold? Contact us or call us today at 712-778-2534 to get answers to all your questions or to set up a tour!