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Memory Care: How to Make Your Residents Feel At Home

By Heather Brown
July 29, 2016

Memory care is growing niche in the adult care industry. According to The National Institute on Aging, Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the elder population.  As an owner or administrator of an adult residential care home, you are already seeing the need for memory care rise.  As the needs of potential residents change, it is vital that you make changes to your adult residential care home.  Keeping up with the times helps keep your resident census consistent and gives those needing some sort of resident care a place to call home.

Four important steps to providing quality memory care include:

  1. Educate Yourself.  If you are considering extending care in your adult residential care home to residents with memory care needs, take the time to get educated.  There are several types of memory care including care for dementia, Alzheimer’s and loss of memory from a catastrophic event.  Residents that live with one of these memory struggles require a unique care plan to their individual needs.  Research in advance by taking classes, talking to physicians, interviewing families and other memory care providers to gain a better perspective of these unique needs.  Remember that your research will never be complete.  Types of care change and you need to continue your education as time progresses.
  2. Hire the right team. Hire team members that have experience working with memory care residents.  They understand the daily needs of memory care residents and are able to guide your residents from day one of their employment.
  3. Include Families.  Families find it difficult to place their loved ones in the care of another.  It is often times a necessary evil for them.  Make it a positive experience by including them in the care planning. Ask them for a complete history on the resident including family, friends, likes, dislikes and healthcare information.  Taking the time to get to understand the complete history of the resident will help the family feel comfortable with you and their decision. Keep the family informed on any changes in the resident’s mood or future needs and always encourage them to communicate concerns with you or the staff.
  4. Develop relationships. Take time daily to get to know your residents.  Those in early stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s will still be able to communicate effectively.  A better quality of life is formed when the resident’s feel comfortable with you as their caregiver.  The caregivers on your staff will provide better care as well for the residents.  Relationships are important to developing trust and likeness between your staff and the residents.  Be sure to educate staff members on its importance to help you residents.
  5. Physical Layout.  Is your adult residential care home set-up for residents in need of memory care?  Does the physical layout promote independence?  Alzheimer’s and dementia residents need areas that are free of clutter to wander without worry of tripping or falls.  Purchase alarms for doors and windows as well to notify you in one of the residents tries to move outdoors.
  6. Services.  Memory care residents benefit from a unique set of therapies and services.  Offer innovative types of therapy like music and art therapy to promote self-expression.  Daily activities are important as well for residents.  Activities with other residents promote communication and relationship building which helps memory care residents stay positive and happy.

As you look into offering memory care services in your adult residential care home, take the time to fully understand the needs of this unique set of residents.  Offering care that is well-researched and structured gives them a better quality of life.


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