For those with loved ones who are living with Alzheimer’s, dementia, or other memory-related illness, it can be tough to know how to get your family member the care that they need. Our caring team at Oakmont of Valencia is constantly asked great questions from families who are looking to select the best memory care community for their loved one. In this article, we will look at three of the most important things to look for in a memory care community.
When researching a memory care community, it is a good idea to gather all of the information you possibly can. Part of your initial research may include checking out the website of each community, gathering brochures, and reading reviews. While all of these steps are great, they miss one of the most critical components of a memory care community: the staff. Many “memory care communities” are just retirement communities that have set aside a certain percentage of their community to house residents who have memory-related illnesses. The staff at a memory care community should not be transitioning between assisted living residents, independent living residents, and memory care residents. The staff that supports memory care residents should be specially trained and the number of staff on-site should outnumber what would be needed for an independent living or assisted living community.
Residents who are living with Alzheimer’s or dementia should be cared for by a team of memory care experts who know the resident on a personal level. By knowing the resident’s, their family members, their hobbies, etc. staff members can often calm residents who are experiencing a lapse in memory. Most of us cannot imagine how scary it would be to look around and not remember where we are or how we got there. What we also cannot imagine is how much comfort can be derived from a caring individual being there for us in that moment. When nothing feels certain, having somebody who knows you on a personal level can stop a momentary memory lapse from turning into a frightening experience.
Having a team of memory care professionals who are trained to deal with memory-related illnesses can provide better outcomes for residents and greater peace of mind for family members. When you tour Oakmont of The Terraces you will notice the sincere interaction between residents and our caring team. These interactions happen thousands of times per month and set the stage for our memory care programs to offer the best possible outcome for our residents.
The Memory Care Programs
Having a safe and comfortable memory care community is only part of what makes a world-class memory care program so successful for its residents. Oakmont Senior Living has created its Traditions Memory Care program to help residents and their family members have as many great experiences together as possible. It can be a harrowing experience for family members to come to visit their loved only to be met with a “nice to meet you.” To help our residents to remember as much of their past as possible, our memory care community has stations designed to engage memories throughout all common areas. Residents can enjoy music stations that are pre-loaded with some of their favorite songs from the most memorable years of their lives. There are activity stations that simulate activities that try to strengthen the ties to memories of the past. We also have group activities that encourage social engagement between residents to help engage the mind and lift the spirits.
As a part of our memory care program, we have also designed a restaurant-style dining experience that engages residents by offering choices that they have made thousands of times throughout their lives. When somebody living with a memory-related illness is suddenly thrust into an environment where the decisions they are used to making are stripped from them it can be scary and depressing. Memory care residents who feel that they are still in control of their lives tend to be more engaged and excited by meals, events, and activities. We also offer a calendar of events for family members to review so they can help encourage their loved ones to engage and interact. Family members can even join in for events to make them even more special.
A Memory Care First Layout & Design
We have already discussed some of the key differences between retirement communities that simply set aside a portion of their building for memory care residents and those built around memory care from the ground up. It is critically important that memory care communities are easy to navigate. At Oakmont of The Terraces, the community as a whole has been designed to increase the quality of life for each memory care resident. If residents forget their room number, they have memory boxes full of personal items next to their room to help them remember. There are clearly defined memory stations throughout the community to help residents find their way.
To fully understand what makes Oakmont of The Terraces so unique, you really must experience it firsthand. We invite you to take a tour of our memory care community where you will see how we encourage and support each resident as well as their families to ensure residents’ lives are lived with purpose and vitality.