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Ingleside at Rock Creek Blog

IRC Blog
Posted: Tuesday, September 29, 2020

How a memory care community can improve your loved one’s quality of life

If the time has come when you believe your loved one needs more help than you can provide at home, you may be considering what a memory care community could offer.

But families often struggle with the idea that a move may cause a decline, once the comfort and care of home is no longer available. Yet in reality, the opposite is likely true.

Read on for 5 reasons why your loved one’s quality of life, and yours as well, may actually improve:

1. Activities and programs designed for those with cognitive issues

Living with Alzheimer’s requires a continued adaptation to a progressive illness that involves much more than just memory loss. The brain’s deterioration also affects behavior and how they are able to respond to the world around them.

A memory care community offers programs and activities that can stimulate or calm their residents. There are opportunities to socialize and participate in physical exercise and activities. The days and nights of community life can be both structured and flexible to provide comfort and a feeling of security.  

A community will also have staff trained in the knowledge of dementia, what actions and reactions are most appropriate and how to carry them out. They are practiced in the best theories and know how to connect to your loved one and can also offer you guidance.

2. A supportive environment for daily life

Most of our homes were not designed to accommodate those with Alzheimer’s. But memory care communities are. The common areas, outdoor spaces and the individual’s living space accounts for the challenges as well as promotes a safe feeling for the residents.

Those who design memory care communities understand how the physical world affects emotions and behavior. And one of the most important attributes they bring is creating a space that feels like home.

Understanding what people with Alzheimer’s need and then designing around those needs can result in a better quality of life and care. Environmental factors can be just as important as other traditional methods when interacting positively with those living with dementia.

For example, a well-planned garden area can reduce agitation and aggressive behavior in residents, while a repetitive interior building design can be disorienting for those with Alzheimer’s if every hallway and room looks the same.  

3. Options that encourages eating

As Alzheimer’s progresses, it’s not uncommon for nutrition problems and subsequently weight loss or dehydration to develop. Individuals can be confused about how to use the silverware, not recognize the food on their plate or have a problem swallowing. 

One goal of memory care communities is to help their residents eat a healthy diet, which requires understanding and compassion. Creative solutions can help those who aren’t able to navigate a fork into their mouths or who can’t sit long enough to eat.

Calm dining environments without distractions tend to work best. The number of items on the table, people in the room and the menu choices can all contribute to a pleasant experience. Something as simple as serving finger food can encourage everyone to be more independent, especially for those who struggle with utensils or who need to wander the room.

4. Having a staff to respond to needs

Family members bring familiarity and compassion to caregiving. They will always have a primary role in the life of their loved one. 

But having the weight of caregiving on your shoulders alone is too much for most to handle. Especially if you are also the one that cooks and serves the food, does the laundry, is the activities director and drives to all the appointments.

In a memory care community, there is a compassionate staff to support your loved one’s needs. And they are well-trained in the latest and best practices to respond to those with Alzheimer’s.

The staff understands how to keep their residents safe, how to communicate, including non-verbally, how to respond to escalating or difficult behaviors and ways they can promote independence. There is someone available to assist with activities of daily living and dining, redirecting those who wander, manage medication, and also support the family.

5. Improved quality of your own life

What many families are surprised to discover is that their own quality of life has declined greatly while caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s. Although often rewarding, it can also be heartbreaking and exhausting at times. If you are the primary caregiver, you may not have recognized the toll that it has taken on you.

The role of the caregiver so easily takes over your life. There may not be enough hours in a day to engage with other family members that need your time and attention. And the time you would spend to take care of yourself is usually the first to be sacrificed.

For some caregivers, it is easy to confuse love with being selfless. But you will need a physical break. Life continues to go forward and you’ll require respite in order to keep yourself healthy. 

A memory care community can give you the peace of mind of knowing that your loved one is safe. It can also relieve you of 24/7 caregiving so you can manage your other responsibilities and reclaim the role you once played in your loved one’s life.

Ingleside at Rock Creek Memory Support Assisted Living

Alzheimer’s and dementia are progressive diseases that eventually require 24-hour supervision, making it incredibly difficult for families to provide. If you find the level of care needed is exceeding what you can offer, we invite you to learn more about our memory support assisted living community.

Families often worry that the quality of their loved one’s life will decline but it more likely will improve instead. They will still have your love and care but will receive a tailored treatment plan, programs and therapies, all while living in a community designed to specifically meet the needs and challenges of those with dementia.

We invite you to visit and d

iscuss our whole-person approach to caring for your loved one. We are also here to offer our full support to the family.

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



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