23 Nov, 2021

The Alzheimer’s Association reveals that in the United States, over 15 million family members act as caregivers for their loved ones who have Alzheimer’s disease or some other type of dementia. These family members often sacrifice their health, finances, and careers to care for their loved ones while living at home.

When aging at home is no longer possible due to the higher demand for care, memory care communities can take over your caring responsibilities and provide a secure environment for your loved one. They can also enjoy social activities to sharpen memory and access health services 24/7 support from trained staff.

What is life like in a memory care facility?

Memory care communities address the unique needs of seniors living with dementia and Alzheimer’s. The facility offers support, guidance, and supervision by specialized care staff. The environment is also designed to focus on safety during bouts of confusion and agitation, wandering, and sundowning, which is expected as dementia progresses.

Aside from providing specialized care, communities also strive to create a homey vibe within their surroundings to foster a sense of familiarity, which is essential for people with memory impairment. There are also plenty of amenities to keep residents engaged and active. Although it varies, the most common amenities include fitness centers, support groups, relaxation rooms, game rooms, beautiful shared spaces, and secured grounds with walking paths where residents can take a walk and enjoy the outdoors.

Additionally, residents in a memory care facility can enjoy engaging programs, whether in small groups or one-on-one, such as pet therapy, memory games, music therapy, and supervised excursions to local attractions. So, all in all, life in a memory care facility is safe but engaging.

A Day in the Life at a Memory Care Community

If you’re curious to know more about what a day is like in a memory care community, this detailed narrative will help paint a clearer picture.

Morning:

Residents wake up according to their schedules. In the dining room, staff members prepare each resident’s breakfast order and deliver their food with a smile and a morning greeting. Residents can choose from a light breakfast of bread, fruit, and coffee or a warm and hearty breakfast of eggs, potatoes, and meat. Morning medications, if any, are then given to residents.

After breakfast, residents are escorted back to their rooms, where they can shower and dress with the help of caregivers. If they need assistance with other daily activities, the caregivers are always ready to assist.

Once they’re groomed and ready, residents can choose from many activities for the day. They can spend some time in a safe outdoor space or attend a nonstrenuous community fitness class. Physical therapy is also an option for residents with body aches and pains due to old age or previous injuries.

Afternoon:

At mid-day, lunch is served in the dining room, where residents eat and talk about their morning activities or catch up on current events. A menu featuring soups, sandwiches, and salads made with fresh ingredients is commonly served. Kitchen staff in memory care communities work hard to ensure that each meal served is healthy and delicious.

After lunch, residents can join social and recreational activities that help boost memory and stimulate the mind. Afternoon activities can include book club meetings and pet, art, and music therapy. A nap might also sound appealing, in which case, the private bedrooms are always tidy and comfortable. Lastly, friends and family can also come to visit.

Evening:

After a long day, dinner is served in the dining room. However, if the resident’s friends or families stay for dinner, many memory care communities have private dining rooms where they could have a quiet family-style dinner together.

Residents can then continue to engage in social activities, evening clubs or classes, or simply return to their private bedrooms to rest. Caregivers can assist residents with their nighttime routines, such as brushing their teeth, washing their face, and slipping into their pajamas. Caregivers also make sure residents take their nighttime medications.

As residents sleep through the night, caregivers and staff members will be nearby if someone needs them. Residents can sometimes wake up in the middle of the night, not knowing where they are. If that happens, caregivers can provide the reassurance that the residents need.

How long does it take to adjust to memory care?

There are things you can do to help your senior loved one fully transition to memory care, such as visiting them, having meals with them, and participating in activities. However, the adjustment period might still take four to six weeks. Transitioning to memory care is a significant lifestyle change that demands time and patience.

At what point do dementia patients need 24-hour care?

It can be hard to discern when your senior loved one who has dementia will need 24-hour care and support. Here are some telltale signs to watch out for:

  • Aggressive behavior: This is common among patients with dementia, especially during the mid to late stages.
  • Home accidents: Your senior loved one may experience accidents at home when you’re not around, which is very dangerous at an old age.
  • Increasing care needs: Your senior loved one requires care that is beyond your capability to provide.
  • Wandering: The risks associated with wandering are greater during the late stages of dementia. As a result, the likelihood of injuries and accidents increases as well.
  • Sundowning: Another common behavior among people with dementia is sundowning, which can cause confusion and anxiety. It’s challenging to manage this behavior if you’re not a professional.

Does insurance cover memory care facilities?

Concerning long-term care insurance policies, they cover care expenses in various settings, including memory care. However, some policies tend to have limitations or stipulations, so it’s essential to understand your loved one’s policy. You may also ask directly from the insurance provider.

Is memory care more expensive than assisted living?

Among the many types of long-term care, memory care is expensive due to several factors, including additional safety measures and specialized staff training.

The general estimation is that memory care costs 20–30% more than assisted living. You can expect to pay a monthly average rate of $5,375 for memory care, whereas assisted living only costs roughly $4,300 per month.

Is memory care the same as a nursing home?

Memory care facilities and nursing homes both provide meals and 24-hour care and supervision. However, memory care is intended for seniors with memory impairment. The focus of the services is to enhance the quality of life in a safe environment and minimize the struggles that come with memory loss.

On the other hand, a nursing home is for individuals (regardless if they’re seniors or not) with any serious medical condition that makes aging at home too challenging. Residents in nursing homes have different health profiles, including people who are bedridden, in a wheelchair, or those who need daily nursing care.

Final thoughts

Memory care facilities provide 24/7 care and assistance to people with memory loss. Generally, memory care residents are still free to do the activities they love and enjoy, but this time, they’re in a safe place with trained caregivers to assist them whenever the need arises.

If you’re in the middle of making a crucial decision about moving a loved one into a memory care community, this sneak peek will give you an idea of what a typical day in the community looks like. Hopefully, this helps lessen your worries about letting go of your care responsibilities at home.

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Syed Rizvi


Syed has years of experience dealing with people, understanding their needs, and helping them find solutions to their problems.
As a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA), Certified Dementia Practitioner (CDP), Certified Montessori Dementia Care Professional (CMDCP), Syed is committed to working closely with Senior and their family knowing what is it like for individuals facing a challenging time, at times groping in dark trying to figure what is the appropriate next step or care level for their unique situation.
Syed and Senex Memory Advisors are fully committed to working closely with families in creating a personalized, step-by-step process memory care plan at zero cost.

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