Memory Care Services

Memory Care Healthcare Services

If you have a family member who struggles with memory loss, you may find yourself searching for answers. You’ve heard about memory care and wonder if it will help your family member have a more fulfilling life. In short, the answer is “yes.” Memory care has come a long way from what it once was. Specialized communities and programming have changed the lives of those who live with memory loss for the better.

What Is Memory Care?

Memory care is a specialized type of long-term care designed to meet the specific needs of someone who has varying levels of memory loss, as well as the behaviors that are associated with it. Memory care is best accomplished by:

  • The creation of a stress-free lifestyle using structured programming with regular routines and consistent schedules
  • The cultivation of cognitive skills using specialized programming
  • Ensuring the security of residents
  • Having a team who is trained to assist adults who struggle with dementia and impaired cognition and memory

Specifically, memory care may include therapies to reduce agitation. Other activities may be planned to provide cognitive stimulation and trigger each resident’s ability to remember past interests and hobbies.

What Healthcare Services Are Provided in Memory Care?

Memory care professionals deliver specialized memory care programming tailored to the specific needs and preferences of each resident. Staff are also available 24/7 to help residents with activities of daily living (ADLs) like dressing and grooming, although residents are encouraged to be as independent as possible.

Generally, memory care staff are limited in which healthcare services they are legally able to provide. The most common services include:

Medication Management
Since most memory care residents take many medications each day, it can be challenging for them to remember to take the right medication at the right dosage at the right time. Staff help by preparing the dose, ensuring the medication is taken and creating a record of the medication administration.

Therapies to Reduce Anxiety
A variety of therapies are provided to reduce agitation. From pet therapy to reminiscence therapy to music and art appreciation, these activities help residents to reminisce, relax and enjoy themselves. This, in turn, decreases wandering and agitation.

Basic or Minor Emergency First Aid
Most memory care communities do provide minor emergency first aid care. Nevertheless, how much care can be provided is dictated by law. If the emergency exceeds these limits, the resident must be transported to an emergency room.

Pharmacy Services
Instead of providing pharmacy services directly, most memory care communities turn to external experts for pharmaceuticals. Some communities stipulate a preferred pharmacy. Other communities work with multiple local area pharmacies.

Medical Records Maintenance
In most cases, medical records maintenance is the responsibility of memory care residents and their families, though memory care communities will maintain the records they need to support residents. Due to the importance of these medical records, more communities are moving towards Electronic Medical Records (EMRs). EMRs allow communities, hospitals and healthcare providers to easily keep and share a resident’s latest health information for more efficient and effective healthcare.

Chronic Disease Management
A memory care community can help a resident manage chronic diseases. With diabetes, for example, they can assist with blood glucose testing and the administration of insulin. With heart disease and high blood pressure, they can monitor their conditions and take blood pressure readings. Obesity, chronic conditions and many other diseases are addressed through dietary changes.

Chronic diseases that require higher levels of healthcare management are not typically handled by memory care communities, although they may provide transportation services to a local doctor’s office or hospital.

Foot Care
Many memory care communities regularly schedule a podiatrist to work with their residents to ensure they receive the foot care they need. Some communities also have personal hygiene helpers to cut and file toenails, buff calluses and provide any needed foot-related care. Regulations often require that the foot care needs of individuals with diabetes be addressed by a podiatrist instead of a memory care staff member.

Medical Checkups 
While memory care communities are not designed to accommodate advanced healthcare needs, many have a nurse or physician on staff to provide medical checkups. If the nurse or physician determines that a resident needs higher-level care, they may recommend an assessment. They may also recommend transitioning the resident to a community that can offer more support.

In Summary

Finding the best care for a parent with dementia is a challenge. You want a location that is attentive and respectful of your family member’s legacy. Memory care communities have the experience needed to care for people with dementia, while also putting a focus on joy and living an exceptional lifestyle.