As your loved one grows older, you may look into assisted living as an option for them to live more safely and comfortably. However, if your loved one deals with memory issues due to dementia or Alzheimer's, you may want to look for a memory care facility rather than a more typical assisted living home. Memory care centers differ from standard assisted living homes in a few ways that make them very helpful for older adults who struggle with memory problems.
Memory Care Centers Employ Highly Trained Staff
Assisted living facilities tend to employ nurses and certified nursing assistants who are trained to notice medical problems, administer medications, and provide basic care. But these staff members don't typically have any advanced, specialized training in dealing with dementia. At a memory care center, however, the staff members have typically taken courses specifically in caring for dementia and Alzheimer's patients. They know how to best interact with patients who are struggling with memory, and they know what behaviors and issues to watch out for. Your elderly loved one won't just get medical care at these facilities; they'll get care and interaction that takes their declining memory into account.
Memory Care Centers Have More Easily Navigable Layouts
Older adults with memory trouble tend to get lost easily and forget where they are. Memory care centers are laid out to ensure they're easier for adults with memory issues to navigate. A traditional assisted living center may have several halls that look the same, whereas, at a memory care center, these halls may be color-coded so your loved one can just remember they live in "the pink hall" or "the green hall." There also tend to be wide, open areas so that staff can keep an eye on the patients and re-direct their navigation when they notice they're having an issue.
Memory Care Centers Have Greater Security
Assisted living centers tend to give their residents a lot of independence. They can go outside and even leave as they please. Giving a memory patient this much freedom can sadly be dangerous. So, memory care centers tend to have much better security. The doors are locked so patients can't wander off without someone knowing, and there are cameras all over so that if someone does wander off, they can be easily located.
If your older loved one is struggling with their memory, a memory care center is better suited to their needs than a standard assisted living center.