How Memory Care Communities Promote Safety for Seniors with DementiaJune 2, 2023
Recognizing your loved one may no longer be safe living at home can be a difficult realization. When they have Alzheimer’s disease or other form of dementia, the risk of them wandering becomes even more likely. If you’re considering dementia care for your family member, this blog post will offer suggestions on what to look for in a memory care community that will help ensure your loved one can safely enjoy a higher quality of life.
What Makes a Memory Care Community Different?
Alzheimer’s disease and dementia symptoms can vary greatly and change dramatically with little to no warning. While there are different stages to this condition, recognizing each stage and adjusting to it can be difficult.
Memory care communities — like those within the Oaks Senior Living family — are designed for these changes and prioritize senior safety. They also employ a staff trained to care for those with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, and offer programs to keep residents engaged. Here are the safety features you should look for as you explore your options:
- 24/7 care: Memory care staff members are available 24/7, and apartments are equipped with emergency buttons or call systems. Always be sure to ask about the depth and breadth of medical support available.
- Security: To prevent wandering, communities feature coded and secured doors and windows that open only a few inches. They should also have fenced courtyards with walking paths or gardens so residents can safely enjoy the outdoors.
- Ease of navigation: Memory care communities will generally have defined spaces for easier navigation. They may also have built-in features — like memory boxes featuring items or images from your loved one’s life — to help them recognize their residence and reduce dementia-related confusion and wandering.
- Fall prevention features: According to the CDC, falls are the leading cause of injury and death in adults age 65 and older. Memory care communities have several features to help prevent your loved one from falling; these include wider hallways, walk-in showers, ramps and elevators, and accessible door handles and light switches.
- Emergency and evacuation planning: A fire, severe weather, or natural disaster can present a danger for those with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. That’s because it becomes more difficult for someone with memory loss to orient themselves during times of stress, and they may have mobility issues. Ask the community about their emergency protocols.
- Specialized staff: Memory care requires a higher level of supervision than other types of long-term care, so look for high staff-to-resident ratios. Staff members should also be trained in ways to anticipate the needs of those with dementia and know how to de-escalate and avoid potentially stressful situations.
- Medication management: Ask about procedures to ensure proper medication management and the safe administration of medications.
- Social opportunities: Depression can be a risk for those with dementia, as people with symptoms of depression tend to suffer a more rapid decline in thinking and memory skills. A structured environment with meaningful activities can help patients reduce stress while avoiding isolation.
- Wellness monitoring: Community team members get to know your loved one and can notice changes in appetite or energy level, or even a change of mood.
Oaks Senior Living: Your Memory Care Resource.
If you’re weighing long-term care options for a loved one and are wondering if a memory care community is the best option, we can help. Contact Oaks Senior Living here to learn more.