How Memory Care Living Can Help Your Loved One

Posted on 09/01/2021

Caregivers of individuals with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other forms of memory loss or cognitive impairments are increasingly interested in how memory care living can help their loved ones, and “village” settings for memory care have gained popularity in the past few years. . This type of community offers unique benefits for those with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia and cognitive impairment.

Senior living communities provide safety, security, and comfort for those with memory loss. Memory care neighborhoods can add even more value to these communities.

What is a Memory Care Neighborhood?

A memory care neighborhood is an environment created and operated specifically for individuals with memory loss. These may be one part of a larger senior living community, or they may run independently. These neighborhoods increase comfort for memory care residents through design and architecture elements, trained staff, activities, and other details.

These neighborhoods often resemble a typical town or shared community like an apartment building. In some memory care neighborhoods, people with different levels of Alzheimer’s or dementia may all live closely together. Other neighborhoods separate residents into groups based on their stages of memory loss.

Design and other aspects of a memory care community can include:

Lighting. Lighting is a subtle but important aspect of designing a memory care community. People with Alzheimer’s and memory loss are more likely to have sleep problems, which can make their symptoms worse. Lighting that closely follows the natural patterns of nighttime and daytime can help residents sleep better.

Many memory care neighborhoods have large windows to let in natural light from the sun. They may also have carefully-placed LED lights that minimize shadows and adjust color and brightness throughout the day.

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Building layout. Many memory care communities utilize building layouts that provide the most safety and comfort for people with memory loss. Instead of dead-end hallways, many memory care neighborhoods have circular hallways with few sharp corners or shadowed areas.

Rooms and shared spaces are often large and open. This type of layout allows for a simple space for residents to navigate and socialize.

Outdoor spaces. Calm outdoor spaces with lots of greenery can improve quality of life for people with memory loss. Many memory care neighborhoods have well-maintained gardens and parks for residents so they can spend time outside, exercise, and relax.

Access to nature and outdoor green space can improve brain health, mood, sleep, and other health benefits. Outdoor environments also serve as spaces for residents to socialize and connect with each other, boosting their mood and confidence.

Areas to wander. Wandering or becoming lost is a common behavior in individuals with dementia and other types of memory loss. This can become dangerous if they can’t find their way back, especially if it’s very hot or cold outside or they get hurt in a secluded area. Memory care neighborhoods are specifically designed to be safe and secure so that residents can't hurt themselves when they wander.

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Subtle details. A memory care neighborhood is meant to be inviting and similar to the daily life that residents are used to, without seeming clinical or sterile. This can include hardwood slip-resistant floors, specific types of artwork styles for different parts of a building, and other elements that make a neighborhood feel like home.

Specialized care. Employees at memory care neighborhoods are all specially trained in person-centered care for Alzheimer’s and memory loss residents. Caretakers take time to understand each resident’s individual preferences and stories, and use that information to personalize the residential experience.

Memory care facility staff can lead classes and social activities, serve as personal nurses and aides, and fulfill other roles within the community. Staff usually receive dementia-specific training, like de-escalation strategies and instruction in how to use comforting body language.

Benefits of Memory Care Neighborhoods

Specialized memory care neighborhoods can be a smart choice for many individuals with memory loss and their families. While many assisted living residences and care options are generalized, these communities cater specifically to those with Alzheimer’s and dementia. A team of professional staff provides each resident with high-quality, personalized care, taking the stress of caregiving away from you.

A resident’s loved ones have the opportunity to stay engaged and involved with them in the memory care neighborhood. Many neighborhoods are located close to other independent living residences where spouses or other family members can live. Loved ones can also participate in group activities, meals, and visits with residents.

‌Memory care neighborhood residents often experience a higher quality of life than they might elsewhere. In one Dutch memory care community, residents reportedly take fewer medications and have healthier sleep patterns.

If you’re interested in finding out whether a memory care neighborhood is right for you, learn more about LivGenerations’s luxury retirement community options here.