Getting Started with Memory Care

Are you caring for a loved one with memory loss issues, Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia? As a caregiver, you may be feeling overwhelmed and unable to handle the demands of around-the-clock care. Maybe there are health and safety issues you’re concerned about. We’re here to help. We’ll talk about what memory care is, when it’s the right time to move into memory care, if other options are available and what to expect when a loved one is moved to memory care.

What is Memory Care?

Memory care is long-term care for those living with memory loss conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Memory care communities can be standalone facilities or located within a senior living community. Some retirement communities offer independent living, assisted living and memory care all on the same campus. These types of communities offer a continuum of care, meaning a resident can move easily from one level of care to another without major disruption.

When is it Time to Move into Memory Care?

There are a few signs your loved one may show that mean it could be time to consider memory care. It’s important to talk with other family members and your loved one’s doctor about concerns related to memory loss. Common signs may include:  

  1. Personal hygiene is not being maintained.
  2. They can no longer perform activities of daily living (ADLs), such as getting dressed.
  3. Basic home care is neglected and they don’t complete basic household chores.
  4. They are unable to engage in conversation or struggle to follow the conversation.
  5. They experience personality changes such as aggression or inappropriate behaviors.

A major reason people move into a memory care community is due to concerns about physical safety. Choosing to live in a memory care facility makes it possible for your loved one to move about in a safe and secure environment.

Transitioning from Assisted Living to Memory Care

If your loved one is in assisted living and lives in a continuum of care community, transitioning into memory care will be relatively easy. Care providers of senior communities conduct frequent health assessments and look out for signs of cognitive impairment. If they notice common signs of dementia or other memory loss conditions, they may suggest a shift to memory care.

What Other Memory Care Options are There?

There are options available for memory care, including nursing homes and in-home care. Nursing homes offer long-term, 24-hour care similar to a memory care community but residents usually require constant care and medical supervision. A skilled nursing facility (SNF) will have daily medical care and medical personnel such as physical therapists, registered nurses (RNs) and doctors. A skilled nursing facility is often used for those in recovery or those who need care for a chronic condition, but still maintains a life at home. For example, someone who needs dialysis would go to a SNF to receive treatment but live independently at home.  

There are many in-home care services that can support memory care:

Moving Forward with Memory Care

If you are moving a loved one into a memory care community, there are a few things to consider. Your loved one may not understand what is happening and you may feel guilty, especially if you’re a spouse that continues to live at home.

Keep in mind that a move to a memory care community will offer a higher degree of safety. Plus, your loved one will be surrounded by compassionate caregivers and have therapies, activities and programming specially created for those living with memory loss conditions.  

What Should I Pack for Memory Care?

After you have chosen a memory care community for your loved one, it’s time to pack. Many communities are fully furnished, but you may be able to bring a favorite chair or other treasured items. Be sure to have photos of your family, favorite pillows and blankets for your loved one. Other items to include:

  • Walkers, hearing aids and eyewear
  • Appropriate clothing, including a nice outfit or suit
  • Accessories such as hats and scarves
  • Books, movies and music
  • Medications, supplements and toiletries
  • Non-slip slippers, robes and a cozy blanket from home
  • Items with familiar smells such as cologne or laundry done with their current detergent

The admittance staff in your community will be an invaluable resource. They will have tips for easing into a move and ways a new resident can make friends and enjoy their new home.

Find Memory Care Near You

If you need help or guidance in exploring the benefits of memory care, in-home care or other types of compassionate care services, BrightStar Care can help. Our dedicated care staff delivers award-winning care and offers help when and where you need it.

Please call 866.618.7827 or contact a BrightStar Care location near you to discuss your needs.

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