February 11, 2020
When it’s time to find memory care and support for a loved one, you might not know what to expect, especially if you’ve never visited a memory care community before. Like many people, you may even have outdated ideas of what memory care is really like. The truth is, memory care has changed tremendously over the past few decades.
In the past, memory care facilities looked more like hospitals, but today’s memory care communities are far more warm, comfortable, and homelike. Contemporary memory care communities are also constantly looking for ways to embrace new technology and techniques to help older adults with dementia live as well as possible. Let’s take a look at some of the most recent advances and trends in memory care:
Assisted living memory care communities
Assisted living is a relatively new senior living option. It was designed for older adults who are mostly independent but need help with daily tasks like grooming, dressing, bathing, or medication management. This innovative approach to senior living helps to bridge the gap between independent living and skilled nursing care. More recently, assisted living communities are adding memory care support for older adults in the early to middle stages of Alzheimer’s or dementia. In the safe, secure environment of an assisted living memory care community, residents live in private suites but have access to outdoor areas, gathering spaces, and fitness areas. They also enjoy family-style meals and engaging group activities to enrich their quality of life.
Music therapy is a fast-growing trend in today’s memory care communities. It’s proven to provide positive cognitive benefits to dementia patients, including slowing the decline of speech skills. A typical music therapy session involves listening to music and playing simple instruments like tambourines, as well as clapping, singing, or humming. Hearing and singing along to familiar tunes can also help older adults with dementia connect with fond memories.
Next-level technology for better safety and comfort
There’s no doubt that technology has the power to change lives for the better, especially when it comes to memory care. Breakthroughs in “assistive technology” help both caregivers and those living with dementia manage potential safety risks and reduce stress. For example, GPS location tracking devices help caregivers protect loved ones from wandering, which is a common dementia behavior. These devices also have a button that can call for help in an emergency. Unlike the bulkier devices of the past, today’s wearable trackers are discreet and lightweight and come in the form of wristwatches, bracelets, pendants, or even shoe clips.
Another emerging technology in memory care is the use of interactive stuffed animals. It’s well known that pet ownership provides health benefits as we get older. For those in the later stages of dementia who are unable to care for a pet, a stuffed animal can provide many of the same positive benefits. Several companies design small, lifelike robotic cats and dogs to bring comfort, companionship, and fun to seniors with dementia. These battery-powered plush pets have realistic, brushable fur and can make soothing noises, blink, and move their paws and heads.
Specialized dementia education and training for care providers
As the population of older adults rises, there will be a greater need for healthcare professionals who are trained in specialized dementia care and treatment. The best memory care communities provide ongoing education and training to their care staff to ensure they always stay up-to-date on the current best practices in dementia care.
Innovate approaches to dining
Over time, dementia can make eating regular, nutritious meals challenging. It’s common for people with dementia to experience a loss of appetite or accidentally skip meals. That’s why today’s memory care communities make every effort to help older adults with dementia eat healthily and improve their overall dining experience. By offering familiar food choices in a simple dining setting to minimize distractions, memory care communities help make mealtimes pleasant and satisfying for residents.
Would you like to receive more information on Pavilion, Bethany Village’s newest assisted living memory care community? Please contact us today. We are happy to speak with you and answer your questions!