We see them everywhere. New communities appearing all over the country advertising and promoting the newest trends and programs for memory care residents. It is one of the fastest growing sectors in senior living and will have a significant impact on the industry for the next several years.
What is Memory Care?
Memory care is a type of care in senior living communities that provides specialized, focus care for individuals with memory issues that most commonly stem from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Operators are busy researching, developing, and obtaining new tools to help delay and/or treat dementia and as research continues to produce new treatments, many senior living communities are looking to revamp how they approach memory care.
Growing Use of Technology
The use of technology is the biggest growth area for both evaluation and care. At a recent Brain Health Conference hosted by Senior Housing News there were significant conversations and demonstrations featuring the use of technology. For example, one company uses the circadian rhythm, or the natural processes that govern our sleep and awake hours, to adjust the lighting in the building, with morning light much different than the lights at dusk. Utilizing this type of lighting provided the residents a more natural environment and increased their well-being by allowing them to “feel” the time of day instead of just looking at a clock. This technology has also demonstrated a reduction in behavioral challenges and improvement in sleep for residents experiencing the effects of cognitive decline.
Memory care units are also looking at technology for direct care staff: the use of wearable technology for residents to provide reminders and video-based applications for residents that may need visual demonstrations for care such as brushing their teeth, using the bathroom, and eating their meals.
While the memory care sector of senior living continues to change and adapt to growing needs, many communities are seeing residents being admitted with more advanced dementia. This means challenges are increasing to provide the individualized care needed and desired by families with limited resources and staffing. Making sure residents’ nutritional needs are being met will also have an impact on care as well.
Appropriately designed dining services can enhance the dining experience for residents living with dementia. Our Dignified Dining program offers valuable expertise and training for senior living communities needing to design an inviting dining environment, geared for these special residents with suggestions on menu planning, dining room layout and table-top modifications.
Learn more about how our wellness programs can help residents achieve their highest state of wellness and support custom diet needs for virtually any need to promote well-being and build community one meal at a time for all levels of care.