According to the Alzheimer’s Association, an estimated 5.5 million adults age 65 and older in the United States have Alzheimer’s dementia, and an estimated 5.7 million adults of all ages (including early onset Alzheimer’s) are currently living with Alzheimer’s dementia in the United States.
Memory care programs provide managed care for seniors who have dementia, often in a community setting with safeguards against accidental injuries or wandering.
What makes a successful memory care program?
The success of a memory care program must be measured not only in the health and safety of the residents but in the richness of their lives. Community-based memory care can allow your loved ones to enjoy a fulfilling life with dignity and respect as they age and need a helping hand now and then. At The Kensington Park, we have three core goals when it comes to memory care:
- Bringing members together to foster a feeling of community
- Supporting independence and choice as much as possible
- Respecting the dignity and bodily autonomy of every resident
As the baby boomer generation ages and the number of families with a loved one in need of memory care grows, we strive to create communities that deliver a full range of options tailored to each individual.
When you are touring senior living communities, look for the following signs that indicate they are committed to the highest possible dementia care.
- Person-Centered Care. Are the seniors in the community being treated as individuals, with respect and attentiveness to their personal needs and wants? Watch for activities like medication administration or personal hygiene arrangements. A tailored memory care program will arrange for any medication to be given discretely one-on-one, without lineups or calling of names from a list, and will use the same discretion and respect when asking if there is a need for help with hygiene. They will never resort to abrupt questions or demands for compliance.
- Abilities-Focused Care. Will the staff focus on what your mom or dad can still do, rather than what they can’t? Ask questions about how they nurture and encourage remaining cognitive abilities. In many cases, seniors living with dementia still enjoy having small responsibilities and tasks they can complete daily, supporting of their self-worth.
- Environmental Support. Community layout can support Alzheimer’s and dementia patients by helping to provide a clear sense of direction and cut down on feelings of confusion. An intuitive building layout complete with visual cues and distinctive landmarks can be important for safety as well as enabling residents to orient themselves easily.
- Dining Plans. Not only should menus offer multiple choices and high-quality food, but the dining experience should be well planned to provide a sense of community and a strong routine.Mealtimes take up a significant portion of any senior living community’s day and can deliver a sense of familiarity, security, and togetherness for seniors making the transition to community living.
- Consistent Staffing. Memory care communities with a stable core staff can help create a stable environment for residents, who depend on routine and can become unsettled by constant turnover. A core staff that is comprehensively trained in handling dementia behavioral challenges will provide consistency and make your parent’s life more predictable.
- Commitment to Life Quality. At The Kensington Park, we focus on treating every day as a new opportunity to create enjoyable experiences. Our memory care residents enjoy a wide range of social activities, and we encourage visits from family members, friends, and even beloved pets. Our residents always have the option of having a pet live with them, onsite at The Kensington Park.
- Truly Individualized Care. Therapeutic memory care plans (which direct daily living activities such as dining, dressing, and hygiene) should be carefully tailored to meet your parent’s needs which allow as much autonomy as is possible. Your loved one may also need help managing their emotional well-being and behaviors.In all cases, there should be focus providing assistance in such as way that your loved one is an active participant in their own care with cognitive function, safety, health, and quality of life all taken into account.
Knowing what to look for in a memory care community can help you and your parent find a place where their health and happiness are weighed equally, and dignity doesn’t have to be sacrificed in the name of safety.
The right memory care program will make the transition into a senior living community as smooth as possible and can help assure you that your loved one is in the best place for their needs and wants to be met.
Contact the memory care specialists at The Kensington Park to schedule your personalized tour of our dedicated memory care senior living community.
Photo by Katarzyna Grabowska on Unsplash