In terms of senior housing, memory care is a relatively new concept. Up until the 1970s, most senior living facilities around the country operated under the same model and offered the same treatments and services. After 1970, caregivers for seniors began to recognize the need for specialized care. The growth of hybrid care facilities, rehabilitation facilities, memory care communities and specialized nursing care organizations began to grow and they continue to grow today. The National Survey of Residential Care Facilities estimates there are now more than 31,000 memory care communities in the U.S. with more than a million seniors living in them.
When it comes time to consider senior housing options for a loved one, there are a lot of questions that arise. When memory care is part of the discussion, there can be even more uncertainty. Who needs memory care? When is the right time to move a loved one with dementia? How do you safely move a loved one with dementia? Answering these questions ahead of time can help alleviate stress and make any needed transitions much smoother.
When to Consider Memory Care
When seniors are in the early stages of cognitive decline, it can be difficult to tell what are warning signs and what are natural parts of the aging process. There are questions to consider if you are concerned your loved one may have Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Ask yourself if your loved one can do the following:
- Spell simple words backward
- Correctly do simple addition or subtraction
- Keep himself or herself safe at home
- Monitor and manage all medications and doctor’s appointments
- Remember any falls or injuries
- Safely care for his or her home environment
- Understand the location of objects (spatial recognition)
While it may be tempting to wait until the signs and symptoms progress, that is not necessarily the best option. During the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, the individual can make clear decisions, participate in making choices and ensure their wants and goals are solidly in place for the future.
Tips for Moving Someone with Dementia
Moving is never a simple task, but for a senior with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, changing environments and routines can be especially stressful. Here are some tips to help make moving day simple and stress-free:
- Make decisions together. Include your loved one in the choices that need to be made and make sure their preferences are top priority.
- Set goals and make a plan. Once a decision is made to move a loved one to memory care, a plan needs to be put in place to ensure all tasks are accomplished and all ends are tied up before the moving date.
- Choose wisely. Do the necessary research and select the memory care community that best fits the needs of your loved one. Bright Oaks of Aurora offers tours to all interested families so everyone can be confident in their decisions.
- Create a feeling of home. Bring items along in the move that remind your loved one of home. Special photographs, blankets, photo albums and wall art are all wonderful things to add to a space to help it feel like home right away.
- Coordinate a plan for moving day. Be sure to talk to your loved one about what will happen that day and discuss it often. Schedule everything with the community team ahead of time and make sure everyone understands what the day will entail. The more comfortable and confident your loved one is in the plan, the easier the day will go.
- Establish a schedule. It takes anyone time to adjust to a new living space, and seeing family and friends helps to ease the adjustment. Set times and days to come visit your loved one and enjoy all the things their new community has to offer. At Bright Oaks, residents enjoy access to salon services, fitness programs and restaurant-style dining!
- Give grace. There can be bumps in the road, even with the best-laid plans; and the very nature of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia make understanding difficult. Be kind and supportive of everyone involved during this time of transition.
Finding a New Home
At Bright Oaks, our memory care residents live in neighborhoods, designed to keep residents active, social and engaged. We use evidence-based approaches to care, including music and art, as well as other forms of neurocognitive stimulation that keep our residents’ brains working hard. Our goal is to reduce confusion and provide a supportive, stress-free, engaging environment our residents enjoy each and every day.
Interested in learning more about Bright Oaks? Contact us today to schedule a tour or a consultation or to learn more about our community!