Memory maintenance facilities are secured facilities that cater to the needs of people with some form of dementia. “Memory care facilities typically have smaller bedrooms, but more available, open, and welcoming common areas,” says Snow.
Research shows that the way memory care facilities are designed can be helpful in easing the stressful transition from home to a long-term care community. Softer colors, no clutter, and clear signage are common therapeutic accents in memory maintenance.
“Confusion and memory loss can cause anxiety, and a predictable routine can help alleviate them,” says Pope. “As dementia progresses, they may forget to do normal daily living such as brushing their teeth, eating, showering, and dressing.” Memory care facilities ensure that these residents meet these needs.
Typically, memory maintenance has a lower staff-to-patient ratio because a person with dementia has a greater need for care. Employees often have additional training in dementia care as well, though it’s important to ask.
Safety is a major concern for people who may need a memory maintenance facility. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, six in ten people with dementia hike at least once in their life, and many do it repeatedly. While widespread, hiking can be incredibly dangerous and is one of the concerns that often weighs on caregivers and family members the most.
Memory maintenance facilities have mechanisms in place to prevent wandering, Pope says. “Memory care communities are secured by walking devices [wearable trackers] or locked and alarmed doors, ”she says. “Most provide residents with outdoor spaces to spend time in, but in a safe manner.”