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Ingleside at Rock Creek Blog

IRC Blog
Posted: Wednesday, September 16, 2020

3 surprising benefits of memory care communities

If you are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, you may be approaching the time when more help is needed than you can provide at home. If you’ve already been researching what memory care communities offer, you’ve likely learned a few of their benefits, including:

  1. An on-site staff trained in the best practices for dementia care

  2. Availability of resources 24/7 so that help is always available when needed

  3. A pleasant and secure environment, indoors and out

  4. A layout that keeps the residents safe while minimizing disorientation

  5. Programs and therapies specifically designed for those with a cognitive illness

  6. Nutritious and easy to eat meals

  7. Assistance with dressing, bathing, mobility and other daily functions

The disruptions of Alzheimer’s

Those caring for someone with dementia also know there are many shifts and surprises along the way. Part of the caregiving journey is trying your best to anticipate what may be coming next.

But when it comes to finding the best memory support community for your loved one, there can be good surprises as well. Here are three you may be delighted to find:

1. Improved quality of life

One of the bigger surprises is that the quality of life for everyone involved - the individual, caregiver and family - can actually improve, not decline, in a memory care community.

Families provide excellent care, surrounding their loved one with compassion. But as individuals move through the later stages of the disease, their needs increase. Communities are uniquely positioned to respond with advantages that are hard to replicate at home, including:

  • Floor plans designed to meet the needs of those who wander or become easily confused or lost

  • Several caregivers are available to respond to your loved one instead of everything falling on the tired shoulders of one

  • Planned programs are specifically tailored for your loved one’s abilities and tolerances

But it doesn’t stop there. A community can also improve the quality of life for the caregiver and family as they can finally:

  • Get a full night’s sleep while no longer trying to encourage their loved one to go back to bed

  • Know their loved one is safe and well taken care of

  • No longer feel scared or anxious when their loved one’s behavior becomes more aggressive

  • Be able to turn their focus to other family members and themselves

  • Have the chance to more fully relax and recharge

2. Person-centered care

If you haven’t been involved in caregiving before, you may not be aware of all the changes in community life. Memory care is a specialized type of senior living, often with fewer residences and staff trained specifically in caring for those with dementia.

Floor plans are less confusing and the surroundings are more intimate. There are often outdoor courtyards and secured doors for safety. The right community will also offer cognitive programs and therapies, as well as person-centered care for your loved one and the family.

What this means is a treatment plan and approach tailored to the individual’s needs and preferences. The wishes of the residents are respected and their human dignity honored. Examples could include flexibility when it comes to what time to wake up, eat or bathe. The staff also will get to know the residents, their likes and dislikes and understand a little about their past and some of their experiences, which can make a big difference.

Although there are often similar symptoms for those living with a cognitive illness, everyone’s response to the disease can be very unique. But when the staff gets to know the person as an individual, they can better understand the triggers, what causes anxiety and what may bring joy.

A common phrase is if you’ve met one person with Alzheimer’s, then you’ve only met one. A one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work. Talk to the communities that you are considering about whether and how they offer individualized care.

3. Encourage social connections and engagement

One mistaken belief is that those living with Alzheimer’s can no longer connect to the world around them. But that’s not true. It is just as important for them to have personal contact as it is for everyone else.

Even though relationships and the ability to communicate with words may change, human interaction can bring the following benefits to those with dementia:

  • A strengthened sense of belonging

  • Help to refocus on the task at hand

  • Help in understanding the causes of stress or anxiety and what responses will likely work

Memory care communities help their residents engage by adapting to what works best. These are some suggestions they use and also recommend to the families:

  • Continue sharing activities the person enjoys as long as possible and then look for ways to change them when necessary

  • Enjoy the outdoors together. The simple act of taking a walk can not only foster engagement with the world but offer physical and mental health benefits

  • Include the individual in daily chores or activities that contribute to a sense of being a part of the day’s purpose

  • If verbal communication is no longer possible, engage with them by reading out loud from a beloved book or author, listening to a favorite musician or telling a story

  • Keep trying. What doesn’t work today may work tomorrow. 

Ingleside at Rock Creek Memory Support Assisted Living

When you’re considering communities for your loved one, ask how they help engage their residents and support the families to do the same. There are many challenges for your loved one and yourself when traveling the road of Alzheimer’s. But at Ingleside, we see beyond the diagnosis or symptoms.

You’ll find our person-centered approach guides our programs and caregivers. We get to know all of our residents so we can tailor our responses in the most compassionate and effective ways. 

Our staff is not only trained in the best practices of cognitive care but we also offer music, art, movement, and recreational therapies to help our residents engage in life.

You’ll also find:

  • A secure residential neighborhood

  • Spacious and sun-filled residences

  • Individualized therapeutic programs

  • Technology-based engagement opportunities

  • All day, flexible dining, a stocked kitchen and hydration stations

  • Family support and engagement

Call (202) 905-0018 if you have any questions or would like to schedule a personalized tour today.


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