As a Senior Living Advisor in the Nashville Metro Area and Middle Tennessee, I’ve seen how difficult it can be for families to place a senior loved one into an assisted living community. Their relative is entering a brand new phase in life and leaving behind a home they’ve lived in for decades and surroundings they’re intimately familiar with.
However, I’ve also witnessed that apprehension quickly fade once the person settles into their new lifestyle and begins to partake in a wide array of activities, meet new friends, and get the support they need to thrive and live as independently as possible.
One of the most valuable aspects of assisted living is the onsite healthcare team that keeps families apprised of any growing health concerns. This includes changes in the person’s behavior, memory issues, or how the person interacts with the world daily. These signs and other potential cognitive issues could preclude a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia.
These are progressive conditions for which there is no cure. Eventually, assisted living may no longer offer the right level of care your loved one will require. This is when placement into memory care, which provides a more secure, attentive and regimented experience, might be the best course of action.
What is memory care?
Memory care communities specialize in supporting people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia and keeping them safe. They are staffed with healthcare professionals trained and qualified to provide specialized dementia care. Many assisted living communities include a memory care wing.
These communities are purpose-built for easy navigation and cognitive stimulation. Meals served in the dining hall are prepared with nutritious, brain-healthy ingredients, and activities focus on creativity to exercise the brain. The residences and common areas in memory care communities feature enhanced security protocols to prevent wandering, also known as elopement, ensuring that all residents are safe and accounted for at all times.
How to know when it’s time to transition to memory care
In many cases, the staff in assisted living are the first to notice changes in a resident’s behavior, such as refusing to come to the dining hall for meals, no longer participating in activities, exhibiting confusion or frustration, or wearing the same clothes every day. Often the triggering event will be an episode of wandering, or showing signs they want to walk away from the community to return to a familiar place which may not exist any longer.
Although assisted living staff can help the person going through these changes, the condition may progress until the team proposes elevating the person to the specialized programming, supervision, and anxiety management available in memory care.
While assisted living communities typically charge for care in addition to the rent, most memory care services are all-inclusive, meaning the price of the care is included in the increased price of the rent. If a resident in assisted living requires a high level of care, that cost may begin to approach the all-inclusive price of memory care. At this point, the movie may also make good financial sense.
What are the differences between assisted living and memory care?
The transition from assisted living to memory care is typically very smooth because the resident already has a feel for the rhythm of life in a senior living community. However, there are some differences that the resident and families should be aware of, such as:
Cost of care
Even with an elevated care plan, assisted living in the Nashville Metro area and Middle Tennessee is usually less expensive than memory care. Many families opt to place their loved one in assisted living at first so they can thrive in the least restrictive environment. This also helps to save significant funds for what we all hope to be a long life in a senior living community.
Design of residences
Accommodations in memory care are typically smaller and simpler than in assisted living. Memory care spaces are specially designed for easy navigation to help someone with a cognitive impairment move around safely and with less confusion.
Strict safety protocols to prevent falls and other mishaps are built into every aspect of daily life in both communities. In addition, memory care wings are secured - locked - to prevent wandering and keep everyone within the community safe.
Staff interaction styles with residents
All assisted living and memory care residents are treated with kindness and respect in both communities. However, a heightened level of patience and empathy is necessary in memory care, especially when responding to a dementia-related challenge. Staff will also use tactics such as redirection to divert a resident’s attention when they appear confused, upset, or angry.
For all the differences between assisted living and memory care, there are also many important similarities. For example, both types of communities are staffed by qualified teams around the clock to support the residents and ensure they have as great a day as possible, every day. Staff in assisted living and memory care also highly value communication with families about resident health and behavioral problems so they can collaborate on a plan that benefits the loved one’s health and well-being the most.
With the support of the memory care team, your loved ones will have the best quality of life possible in a safe and secure environment where they can live their best life possible.
No-cost help finding memory care in the Nashville Metro area and Middle Tennessee
When it’s time to consider moving to memory care in the Nashville Metro area or Middle Tennessee, you need as much information as possible to make an informed decision on where your loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia will receive the right level of care.
Researching all the different options can be daunting, especially if you’re doing it alone or for the first time. That’s why local families turn to Tim Tuttle and Nancy Blankinship of Assisted Living Locators at 615-375-3553 or firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com.
Tim and Nancy make the entire process easier by doing all the research for you, accompanying you on community tours, and providing you with a list of best-fit options based on your loved one’s individual needs. Tim and Nancy genuinely care about helping your loved ones spend their vintage years in a community where they will be happy and thriving.
Contact us today. We’re always happy to help!