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When Is It Time for Memory Care?

In the United States, the population of adults between the age of 65 and 74 is expected to increase faster than any other population demographic between 2015 and 2030. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 National Projections, all baby boomers will be age 65 or older by the year 2030. This will grow the senior population to the point that one in five U.S. residents will be of retirement age.

Because of this shift in population makeup, there is a growing need for senior services. From senior activities to companionship for seniors and even cognitive care services, seniors and their families are looking for support. For families facing cognitive challenges – dementia, Alzheimer’s disease or any other memory impairment – memory care communities can be an incredible source of comfort.

Memory care communities are residential facilities that provide specialized care for people with cognitive and memory impairment. They are designed to offer safe, structured, supportive environments with routines to lower the stress levels of people with cognitive challenges. So, what are the memory care requirements? And when is it time to move to memory care?

When Is the Right Time for Memory Care?

There are no legal memory care requirements; however, prior to moving into a memory care community, seniors must receive a diagnosis such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, or family members may have sought out an assessment out of concern over growing cognitive challenges. So, when is the right time for memory care?

The right time for memory care is before memory care is truly needed. The sooner a senior with a diagnosis of cognitive challenges makes the move to memory care, the sooner they can take advantage of the benefits. Moving sooner rather than later also means:

  • Safety concerns of living alone are avoided
  • In the early stages of dementia and Alzheimer’s, seniors are able to participate in decision-making
  • Memory care communities set seniors up for success and cognitive improvement through specialized programs
  • Seniors are able to adjust to their new routine in a comfortable environment before further cognitive decline occurs
  • In a vibrant senior living environment, seniors remain engaged during the day and sleep better at night, reducing fall risk and improving overall health 
  • Safety is a priority in memory care apartments and the rooms are kept simple; the move into this space is not complex

If there is still some question about timing for when to move to memory care following a dementia diagnosis, here are five questions for seniors and their families to discuss to make a decision:

  1. Have loved ones noticed a change in the senior’s temperament?
  2. Are family members and loved ones worried about the senior’s safety?
  3. Would the social connection and structure available at a memory care community help?
  4. Is memory impairment impacting daily life?
  5. Are there concerns about medication management for other conditions?

What to Expect From Memory Care Apartments

Memory care communities provide 24-hour care, memory-enhancing activities and programs, specially trained staff, specialized therapies and safe, secure environments. Residents in memory care communities also receive nutritious meals daily, housekeeping services and support with the activities of daily living. Memory care residents usually live in memory care apartments, and these spaces may have different features than typical senior living spaces. Here are some things to keep in mind regarding memory care apartments:

  • Roommates can be a safety support. The advantages of living with a roommate include alleviating the resident’s fears of being alone, providing support when needed and alerting staff members when help is needed.
  • Environments are curated. Creating a comfortable environment is important in memory care, but there are many additional items to consider. In addition to tripping hazards, memory care apartments focus on familiarity, safety and soothing colors and patterns.
  • Connections are crucial. In addition to giving residents lots of opportunities for social connection, there is also a focus on connection to family, loved ones and the resident’s past and personal interests. Music, photographs and even favorite recipes help to support memory!

About Mount Prospect Senior Living

Mount Prospect Senior Living in Mount Prospect, Ill. provides memory care services with a personal touch. Our combination of enriching activities, caregiver support and community services help guide our residents with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia through their journey.

Ready to learn more about Mount Prospect Senior Living? We would love to talk to you. Contact us today with questions or concerns or to set up tour!