What is memory care and who needs it?

While Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of aging, by age 85, approximately 25 percent of people will be diagnosed with some form of dementia. Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease is a journey full of challenges and difficult decisions. As the disease progresses, the level of care required often exceeds what can safely and realistically be provided at home. When this time comes, families must consider alternative options such as assisted living. Deciding when it’s time to transition a loved one with Alzheimer’s into residential care is a deeply personal and complex process, influenced by various factors. Here’s a few FAQs to help you learn more.

Three Pillars Memory Care

Frequently Asked Questions – Memory Care

What is memory care?
Three Pillars Senior Living Communities specifically designed its memory care neighborhood for individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia. A more structured routine, customized to each individual resident, helps residents feel safe, thus reducing behavioral symptoms sometimes seen in those with dementia. Additional staffing and programming will keep residents independent for as long as possible.

What is the difference between memory care assisted living and a nursing home?
Those who live in assisted living need help with some everyday tasks and more supervision than they can typically receive at home. Nursing homes care for those with more complex medical needs. Often, those with memory loss are physically healthy, but struggle to be independent. Memory care offers programming, staffing, and an environment to help maintain independence while ensuring safety.

How do we know it’s time for memory care?
The answer to this question is different for every family. One of the first things to consider is your loved one’s safety and whether living alone is a viable option. If your loved one is living with you or other family members, consider how difficult it is for you to meet his needs. If your physical or mental health is at risk, it may be time to consider another option. Change is not easy for anyone, but here at Three Pillars we have experience in easing families through this transition and can provide the help and support you need.

How is the direct care staff different in memory care?
Three Pillars’ staff is extensively trained in providing care for those with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Staff participates in training that covers understanding dementia, communication, assistance with activities of daily living, dealing with behavior-related dementia symptoms, person-centered care, care planning, and activities. In memory care, there is a higher staff-to-resident ratio to meet the specific needs of those with memory loss.

What activities will my family member participate in?
In addition to regularly scheduled Riverside Lodge activities, the Memory Care Neighborhood has separate activities designed to cater to each resident’s individual needs. Activities focus on social, cognitive, creative, and physical aspects of daily life. Recreational materials in the memory care neighborhood cater to people with dementia, allowing for different levels of cognitive ability. Both activities staff and service associates lead activities in the memory care neighborhood.

How do you keep my family member safe?
Memory care provides alarmed entrances and exits to ensure those who wander remain safe in our neighborhood. Staff perform regular rounds rather than relying on pull cords or call lights. Resident apartments do not have kitchens, showers, or tubs to avoid accidents. All medications are kept locked and administered by staff.

What kind of help will my family member receive?
Aside from assistance with any activities of daily living they may need (bathing, dressing, oral care, etc.), our staff will provide invitations and encouragement to attend activities and meals, as well as medication administration. Important components of memory care include supervision, socializing, and meaningful activities.

What services do you offer for families of memory care residents?
Three Pillars has a Director of Dementia Programming who can provide education and support to help guide you through your dementia journey. Our resource library provides books, videos, and other materials to help you learn more about dementia and ways to communicate and socialize with your family member. We offer monthly caregiver support groups through the Alzheimer’s Association and frequent family events to attend with your loved one.

For more information at a glance, please view this Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Association facts and figures document.