Memory care facilities in CCRCs
Continuing care retirement communities are well-known for their ability to provide a continuum of care, allowing senior adults to transition to higher levels when the situation requires it. Residents who are diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia can opt for a memory care facility and remain on the same campus, taking advantage of the person-centered approach.
What is memory care?
Within such communities, senior adults can preserve their identity and unique sense of self for as long as possible. They can live in private apartments and feel secure, knowing that their needs are considered at all times. Moreover, these facilities have a full schedule of activities for daily engagement. These activities help residents thrive, even in the situation that their condition has progressed to an advanced stage.
Life with dementia can be challenging, especially if you are living alone. It is only normal to ask yourself what is going to happen and how you will handle everyday life at a more advanced stage. By choosing a memory care facility in a CCRC, your journey will become less daunting. These communities help you feel secure, providing you with an environment that meets your needs.
Memory care residents can live in apartment-like homes, with special features for safety. They are surrounded by people who have the same age and problems, with assistance offered by the nurturing staff. The main goal is to make you feel like you belong, with a clear sense of purpose. CCRCs are committed to offering consistent care, with the staff acting in a respectful and supportive manner. The nurses are trained to provide specialized care to those dealing with memory loss.
Engagement, as mentioned above, is essential for the health of dementia residents. Trained staff encourages senior adults who suffer from dementia to engage in activities that help them preserve current cognitive skills, as well as enjoy various hobbies and passions. It is also worth mentioning that the staff is available 24/7, responding immediately in case of emergencies. They offer specialized care, monitoring the health and independence of residents from a close distance.
Services and amenities offered by memory care facilities
Experiencing memory loss and cognitive decline can be challenging, to say the least. By choosing a memory care facility is a CCRC, you will know that you have the necessary support during these trying times. You will have the opportunity to spend your days in a familiar setting, surrounded by people you know.
All CCRCs offer a wide range of services and amenities for those in memory care, with the purpose of guaranteeing the best quality of life. Senior adults are encouraged to take advantage of these, as a carefully-planned daily schedule can help them maintain their current skills and even gain new ones. Specific memory care programs are designed to meet their unique needs, regardless of the disease stage (early, middle, or late stage).
Memory Care Services
First and foremost, all memory care residents benefit from a safe and secure environment. As a general rule, all exterior doors are secured. All entrances have doorbells and keypad entries, with the staff closely monitoring who uses them. Enclosed courtyards are available for these residents, allowing them to explore the outdoors, without getting lost or getting confused.
The diagnosis of dementia should not prevent senior adults from enjoying the best possible quality of life. Considering this obvious need, the CCRC staff is happy to handle various chores, such as: housekeeping, general maintenance, security, laundry and housekeeping. They will also offer the necessary support throughout the day, including with meals, medication, bathing, dressing, and toileting.
Speaking of meals, it is worth mentioning that most memory care facilities have dementia-friendly menus. Residents can receive assistance with meals, and they are encouraged to maintain the same routine to encourage memory skills. Familiarity is essential for someone who suffers from such health issues, and CCRCs offer a warm and welcoming environment. The apartments in which senior adults live are private, allowing them to feel comfortable and supported at the same time.
The floor plans are easy to navigate and all facilities have common areas, where residents can take part in group activities. Every detail is to the point, even the walls are painted in soothing colors to promote an atmosphere of calm. Often times, an umbrella of services is covered under a customized care plan, based on the individual needs and interests of each resident. The staff undergoes permanent training, with focus on modern dementia care techniques and ways in which one can encourage familiarity.
Memory Care Amenities
The amenities you will find in a CCRC memory care facility are designed to keep residents engaged. As with the other care levels, amenities target both physical and mental health, and they offer opportunities for socialization. With dementia residents, the matter is a bit more complicated, as most of them require both 24/7 monitoring and support. This is the reason why many CCRCs have developed specific amenities for such residents.
Dementia residents have access to general amenities, such as: swimming pool, tennis court, golf course, fitness and wellness center, yoga, library, computer room, billiard room, performance hall, theater, restaurant, café, weekly worship service. Senior adults might attend or take part in the associated activities with the help of trained personnel.
What about the specific amenities? These might include: dancing and music programs, brain games, learning center, art studio, memory garden, guided walks, occupational and speech therapy sessions. As previously specified, many CCRCs have secure outdoor spaces, where residents can take walks, try gardening, or just explore the environment.
A better quality of life
CCRCs welcome residents of various ages, and they have the advantage of being able to offer several levels of care. Seniors who suffer from dementia can opt for memory care facilities or transition to this level in time, enjoying a better quality of life by being part of such a community.
Dementia can lead to confusion, not only with regard to one's abilities, but also to the future and what one should expect. As a member of a memory care facility, you will find the answers to many of your questions. The biggest gain is, as said, a sense of belonging. There are plenty of safe activities in which to become engaged, which will help you maintain your abilities and use your current skills.
Perhaps one of the biggest advantages that you will discover in such a facility is the gentle structuring. You will enjoy the daily structure, being able to participate in specific programs for dementia residents. As a result, your day might include cognitive workouts, music time, reading time, art class, physical activity, brain stimulating games, etc. The secure outdoor spaces allow you to take safe walks, enjoying the beauty of nature.
The staff providing assistance and support is well aware of the challenges you are dealing with. For instance, they know how difficult it can be to be in the early stage of dementia, fighting to keep your self-esteem at a healthy level. Aware of your cognitive changes, you might feel depressed, withdrawing from social activities. However, as you will discover, memory care facilities can help you overcome all of these issues and maintain a great quality of life.
Memory care programs are designed to counteract all the negative changes dementia brings, slowing down the progression whenever possible. Residents are invited to take part in art and dance classes, to visit various museums in off-campus trips, and make new friends around the dinner table. Seeing that other people are going through the same things as you are, you will feel more comforted, drawing the strength to go on.
These facilities also have customized programs designed to meet the needs of residents who suffer from advanced forms of dementia. These programs often have sensory awareness as a main focus, but many of the chosen activities are simply meant to bring comfort and joy. Residents receive assistance with even the simplest tasks, such as grooming. The staff chooses activities that engages their sense, often based on music or aromatherapy.
For someone who suffers from dementia, skills such as spatial planning and coordination can be impaired. This is the reason why memory care facilities are designed to allow easy navigation. In many CCRCs, the hallways are more spacious and even color-coded. Units are clearly marked and residents are encouraged to be as independent as possible. Even the outdoor spaces are enclosed, as mentioned, which reduces the risk of getting lost or becoming confused. Basically, everything provided in a continuing care retirement community serves the needs of its residents.
From another point of view, research has confirmed that dementia residents who live in such communities require less medication. Thanks to the careful consideration of their nutritional and physical activity needs, they enjoy a better state of health and wellness. In addition, CCRCs encourage socialization from every possible angle, which means that senior adults living there present a lower risk of depression or anxiety.
When is the right time to consider moving into a memory care facility?
Is it better than living at home? While cannot deny the comfort of living in one's own home, the diagnosis of dementia can make things tricky and even put one at risk of injury. Alzheimer's disease, as well as other forms of dementia, are known as progressive conditions; as the disease advances, the senior adult requires more assistance and support. When caregivers try to provide these themselves, they present a high risk of stress and burnout. As a result, the overall quality of life is lower, for both the senior adult and the caregiver.
No one can tell you when is the right time to move into a memory care facility. Nonetheless, caregivers are usually the ones who realize the time has come, not only because they are feeling overwhelmed but because they lack the necessary resources to provide quality care. Dementia, as mentioned, is a challenging condition, which requires an unbelievable amount of time, energy, and resources. The trained staff of a CCRC is better equipped at handling the complex needs of senior adults living with dementia.
When a senior adult lives alone, the cognitive changes associated with this condition can increase the risk of accidents. Many retirees are no longer capable of cooking for themselves or they suffer various injuries while trying to handle everyday activities. Some of them lose their ability to perceive danger and they are not able to cope with additional health issues. Considering all of these issues, it makes sense to opt for a memory care facility, where residents live in a safe and secure environment. Most CCRCs also have an emergency alert system, which can be quite useful in case of major health events.
There is an added benefit to consider, which might help you move forward with this decision. Senior adults often live alone, feeling isolated from their community, as they no longer have opportunities to be included. Memory care facilities offer this sense of inclusion, including in terms of housing. Residents can choose to share an apartment with another senior adult, enjoying the undeniable value of companionship. They re-discover their sense of purpose, forming meaningful friendships. Moreover, this is also a practical decision, as it will mean a lower fee to be covered.
Unfortunately, dementia rates are on the rise, affecting more and more senior adults. At the moment, there is no cure for the condition; all we are able to do is stimulate one's mind, and ensure the disease progresses as slowly as possible. Specialized memory care facilities, such as the ones offered by CCRCs, are the solution to one's problems; they offer customized healthcare and support, with access to a wide range of services and amenities.
Residents of memory care units in CCRC communities enjoy a sense of belonging and feel secure, knowing that their complex needs are handled by trained staff. They can live alone or with another resident, feeling happy with their daily schedule. Specialized programs help them thrive, both mentally and physically, always with the same goal – enjoying the best possible quality of life.
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