Assisted living communities offer housing, meals and help with activities of daily living. Some also provide caregiving services. Memory care offers a specialized environment for residents with dementia. They’re designed with safety in mind, featuring functionally designed spaces that are easy to navigate and that provide protection against wandering and other common dementia behaviors.
A well-lit environment is essential for the safety and comfort that a person with dementia feels. Eliminating glare is also important, as it can be distracting and disorienting to elderly individuals. It is achieved by providing appropriate spacing between lights and using only non-reflective surfaces. Circadian lighting is another important element of a safe and comfortable care facility. Studies have shown that the sky-blue light signal (at 490 nm wavelength, for peak melanopsin sensitivity) found in natural daylight is effective at mimicking the biological twilight, which reduces symptoms of agitation and sleep disruption among people with Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Diamond Assisted Living and Memory Care offers round-the-clock supervision and assistance with everyday tasks like assisted living. This kind of memory care focuses on creating safe environments that reduce stress and confusion for people with dementia or Alzheimer’s and incorporates specialized activities to promote cognitive stimulation. These differences can increase costs, as the median rate for assisted living is $4,300 per month, and memory care adds 20% to 30%. The physical design of a memory care community heavily emphasizes safety, with locked doors, delayed egress systems, and windows that can’t open until the resident’s alarm goes off or staff checks in. These security measures can help prevent wandering, a common behavior associated with dementia, and decrease agitation and aggressive behaviors. Memory care communities also offer dining options that are easy for dementia patients to eat, often using adaptive plates and utensils. They’ll enjoy three meals daily in a cozy environment, encouraging socialization with their peers and the care team.
A key design component that can affect emotions and moods is color. Certain shades elicit specific responses, such as blues and greens, associated with nature and healing, and yellows and oranges, representing happiness and joy. It’s important to use colors soothing to the eye, such as warm shades of brown or earthy tones that feel familiar and comforting. It evokes a sense of stability, safety, and wellness for seniors and staff alike. Using colors that are high in contrast can play tricks on the eyes of people with dementia, making it hard for them to distinguish objects or navigate through spaces. In addition, patterns and flooring with too much contrast can cause residents to feel dizzy or have the false impression that something is moving beneath them. Motion blindness, a typical sign of Alzheimer’s disease and other memory loss can make it extremely challenging for some people.
Assisted living and memory care are similar in that they provide housing and meals and help with activities of daily living, like bathing or toileting. However, memory care is a more specialized form of long-term care option, and it can include additional services like cognitive therapy. Often, these programs are offered in separate areas of an assisted living or nursing home, but they can also be standalone facilities. When touring a memory care residence, look for circular hallways that prevent residents from getting frustrated by dead ends, doors with delayed egress systems so they don’t open immediately, and enclosed outdoor areas to reduce the risk of wandering. When considering whether your loved one needs memory care, it’s important to consider their prognosis and how quickly the dementia is expected to progress. It’s also important to discuss this with their doctors and other caregivers. Depending on their situation, your loved one may be eligible for financial assistance, which offers vouchers for memory care.