If you have an elderly parent or loved one who needs long-term care, you may feel overwhelmed with the number of available options on the current market. There are a lot of important decisions to make, and every detail should be taken into consideration. For many individuals, this means choosing to place their elderly parent or loved one in a nursing home or memory care facility.

Both memory care facilities and nursing homes provide 24-hour care and supervision, meals, and have staff who assist our elderly loved ones with activities of daily living. Activities of daily living include bathing, dressing, and managing specific medications.

Provided Services at Memory Care Facilities

Memory care facilities are specifically for people who have experienced memory loss. The staff and caregivers at memory care facilities undergo specific, up-to-date training on how to care for individuals who have dementia or Alzheimer’s. Their special training allows them to help residents minimize their dementia symptoms and to handle dementia-related behaviors appropriately and with empathy.

While being cared for at a memory care facility, your elderly parent and loved one can have the opportunity to participate in various memory-enhancing activities and therapies, including:

  • Light Therapy – With light therapy, indoor lights are used to provide residents the same medical benefits as receiving outdoor light, such as an increase in vitamin D and reduced effects of seasonal depression.
  • Music and Art Therapy – Art therapy helps patients to recover cognitive functions and motor functions. It can include verbal and analytical analysis of pieces created by the patient. Music therapy is a broad field that can address a variety of patients’ needs, including restoration of cognitive and motor function, through creating and listening to music.
  • Pet Therapy – Pet therapy is the use of animal interaction to help people recover from illness or injury. Interacting with animals has been shown to reduce blood pressure and assist with the reduction of anxiety many memory facility guests experience.
  • Reminiscence Therapy – Assists the elderly in exploring past memories without putting them on the spot. For example, during reminiscence therapy, a patient may be handed a photo of themselves at a young age with siblings. Rather than overwhelming the patient by asking directly if they had any siblings, the patient is allowed to remember and come to that conclusion on their own.
  • Sensory Stimulation – This therapy is used to enhance cognitive and motor skill performance by stimulating one or more of the five senses. For older adults, sensory stimulation can help return nostalgic memories, enhance relationships with loved ones and caregivers, and reduce depression and anxiety.

Memory Care Facility Security

In addition to memory enhancing activities and therapies, memory care facilities often have a much different design than nursing homes do. At a memory care facility, there are heightened security measures. Exits and entrances can have various types of security features to prevent residents from wandering or leaving the facility unattended. These security measures are put in place in a way to be effective but discreet. They allow your elderly parent or loved one to be safe and secure without jeopardizing any of their privacy or dignity.

Most memory care facilities utilize keycodes at entrances and exits, as well as video surveillance systems. Facilities with video surveillance systems are considered some of the safest because not only do they ensure the residents are not wandering, but they also prevent unwanted individuals from entering the facility. Video surveillance can also hold staff accountable by making sure that they are following proper protocols and instructions. The gardens and patio areas are typically enclosed by a fence, and large courtyards are normally placed enclosed at the center of the facility.

Memory Care Facility Designs

The interior design of a memory care facility greatly differs from that of a nursing home. It is designed with the residents in mind and has certain features that make their long-term stay more comfortable. Memory care facilities can often have color-coded walls and hallways that are not continually repetitive. Many memory care facilities also allow residents to have memorabilia boxes inside – and sometimes outside – their own room.

In order to allow residents to state and maintain personal boundaries, many memory care facilities take extra steps to make a private area, like a bedroom, very clearly marked. There are visual signs and cues designed to make dementia and Alzheimer’s patients aware of what is a private space and what is a shared common area.

Provided Services at Nursing Home Facilities

Like memory care facilities, nursing homes also provide around-the-clock care, meal services, and assistance with daily tasks. However, they are designed to provide care for residents that have critical care conditions. Nursing home residents may have some training in managing dementia and Alzheimer’s symptoms and behaviors, but typically it is not extensive or specified.

Nursing homes offer both short-term and long-term care. If your parent or loved one needs time to recover from a recent injury, nursing homes can provide consistent care for them as they get better. Some nursing homes are specifically tailored to shorter-stay patients and have specialists who can help them with their personal needs to quicken the recovery time.

Nursing home facilities offer more extensive medical care, as well. The caregivers at nursing homes are trained to provide residents with assistance in managing their medications, treating wounds, and administering intravenous therapy (IV). Some homes provide rehabilitation therapy services, including physical, speech, and occupational therapies.

When to Place Your Elderly Loved Ones

If you are considering placing an elderly parent or loved one in a memory care or nursing home facility, Rocky Mountain Assisted Living can provide you with the professional guidance you need to make the right decision. Our staff and caregivers are highly trained professionals that provide a comfortable and safe environment for the residents at our facility. If you would like to see an overview of the services we offer or start a conversation with a representative about relocating your parent or family member to our facility, contact us online today.