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What Is Memory Care?

April 30th, 2024

Degenerative conditions, such as Alzheimer’s or dementia, can result in memory loss. This memory loss can make life harder for those living with it, and also for carers. Memory care meets the unique needs of those living with memory loss and the associated disorders, and provides a secure, safe and engaging environment.

What Is Memory Care?

a book with notes in at a memory care facility

Memory care is long-term care designed to specifically meet the needs of people living with memory loss disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Memory care facilities offer a safe and structured environment tailored to the individual needs of residents. For example, the interiors will be set out and adapted to assist residents to move around as safely and independently as possible.

There are trained staff available at all times, with the knowledge and expertise to care for those facing the challenges associated with memory loss. A memory care facility will also have supervision and security measures in place to ensure the ongoing safety of residents.

Who Is Memory Care For? 

Memory care can be accessed by people living with diseases that result in memory impairment. Memory loss can lead to dangerous situations; if you’re worried about an elderly person and their ability to care for themselves due to memory loss, it may be time to look at a memory care facility. Some of the signs that a loved one may need memory care include:

  • Forgetting who loved ones are, including close family members and friends
  • Being unsure of where they are or being confused by their surroundings
  • Wandering off and becoming lost
  • Trouble making decisions or solving problems they previously had no difficulty with
  • Problems with routine tasks, such as personal hygiene or simple food preparation
  • Symptoms of depression and anxiety
  • A change in behaviour, such as becoming increasingly angry or agitated
  • Regular bouts of serious confusion
  • Hallucinating

If someone you know is displaying some, or all, of these signs, then it could be an indication that it is time to look at dementia care and memory care options.

The Benefits Of Memory Care

field of flowers outside a memory care facility

Safety And Security

Safety is a priority in memory care facilities. Features will include secure entrances and exits to prevent wandering, and alarm systems that residents can use when they need help. Staff are available 24 hours a day to look after residents. This is a benefit for those living with memory loss and for those supporting a loved one with dementia, offering peace of mind that their friend or family member is safe.

Specialised Care

In a memory care facility, staff have been specially trained to support individuals with cognitive impairments. They understand the specific challenges and are able to assist with daily tasks, such as bathing and dressing. They also learn techniques for effective communication and how to de-escalate challenging behaviours.

Personalised Care Plans

A care plan is a document that is used in all types of care homes. Residents in memory care receive a personalised care plan tailored to their unique needs, which includes medical care, personal preferences, and current abilities. These plans are reviewed regularly to make sure care remains relevant to the individual at all times.

Medical Care

People with memory loss may forget to take their medication on time, or at all. Medication management is an important part of memory care and staff are trained to assist with this, ensuring that residents receive their medications safely and on schedule. They will also monitor residents’ health and wellbeing, and implement any necessary changes to their care plan.

Meal Preparation

Dementia, and other illnesses that cause cognitive impairment, can impact a person’s eating habits. It may be that they find food harder to chew or swallow and need softer foods, or they may become fussier about what they eat. In a memory care community, meals are taken care of, with nutritious and healthy foods on offer, and procedures in place to help those who have developed eating problems.

Socialisation 

Social engagement is important for maintaining cognitive function and emotional wellbeing in individuals with memory impairments. In a memory care community, there are planned activities, such as crafts, music therapy and magic tables. This provides vital mental stimulation, and helps residents stay active and maintain social connections.

Time For Family

Family members are very important for those living in memory care homes. Family involvement is strongly encouraged through regular communication, ongoing visits, and opportunities to participate in resident activities. Family members can also join their loved ones in the onsite restaurants for meals and special celebrations.

Memory Care In Care Homes

jigsaw puzzles to assist with memory care

Residential care covers a wide spectrum of care provisions, from nursing care to dementia care. Memory care is a branch of dementia care that offers a supportive and nurturing environment for individuals living with memory impairment. The facilities and staff, personalised care plans, and engaging activities help residents to maintain their cognitive abilities and enhance their quality of life.

Memory Care Nurses

Memory care nurses have a unique set of skills and knowledge to effectively address the complex needs of residents in memory care facilities. As well as medical expertise, they will have a further understanding of dementia and memory loss, and how this affects individuals. This allows them to anticipate and manage any symptoms effectively, and administer medication accordingly. They will be integral in the creation of care plans and are an important point of contact for family members who want to understand the care their loved one is receiving. 

Memory care nurses are a valuable and essential element in memory care, and their high level of training is one reason many people choose memory care facilities instead of home care.

Choosing A Memory Care Home 

When choosing a care home, you want to know that you’re making the best decision for everyone involved. This means thinking about the location and the facilities in a practical sense, but also finding a care home that feels like ‘the one’. With memory care facilities, there are a few things you can usually expect to find, including: 

  • Open spaces with clearly lit and signposted hallways
  • Private rooms with ensuite bathrooms
  • Smaller communal areas set away from the main lounge
  • Subtle colours and zones to avoid overwhelm
  • Safe outdoor spaces for fresh air and activities

These are just some of the elements that make up the living experience in a memory care facility. Of course, when the time comes to think about care homes, it’s important to arrange visits to your preferred settings and ask as many questions as possible.

How Is Memory Care Different To Nursing Care?

woman giving injection in nursing care home or memory care facility

Nursing care and memory care both offer long-term solutions to people with health complications. They both follow tailored care plans and offer person-centred care to residents. Just as residential care differs from nursing care, there are also some key differences between memory care facilities and nursing care homes. Nursing care is designed to provide healthcare and assistance to individuals with physical or medical needs that require more intensive care. Nursing care settings may not have the structures in place to look after those living with memory loss – for example, the layout of the home may not be the most ideal for those living with dementia. 

Some care homes, like New Care Homes, are dual-registered care homes, meaning they’re purpose-built for residents with a range of health conditions, including Alzheimer’s and dementia.

The Cost Of Memory Care

Costs for any kind of care home will vary according to the location, the amenities on offer, and the level of care required. Memory care is a type of dementia care, but there may be add-on fees for additional services, such as transport, therapy and certain social activities. As a baseline, the cost of residential dementia care in the UK is approximately £1,200 to £1,700 a week. At least some of this fee will be self-funded, so if you’re considering memory care, it can be wise to look into changing any existing wills or organising a power of attorney as memory loss and mental decline progresses.

Moving Forward With Memory Care

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with an illness that’s associated with memory loss, then memory care may be the right option for you. Memory care can be offered as part of a residential dementia care plan. To find out about the care services at New Care Homes, please contact us to start the conversation, or visit one of our locations across the UK, including Manchester, Cheshire, Leeds and Nottingham.