There are about 260 memory care facilities in Virginia. Some of these are part of larger senior living complexes that also offer assisted living and independent living options. Others are independent communities that focus all their efforts on seniors experiencing memory loss. Memory care is unique in its scope and emphasis and provides important services to seniors and their families.

What Makes Memory Care Unique

Memory care is unique in its focus on security, guidance and cognitive stimulation. Security is key to memory care. Seniors experiencing memory loss often get confused and tend to wander. Memory care facilities provide security systems that keep seniors safe. Doors remain locked, and outdoor areas are fully fenced. Monitoring systems alert caregivers to residents’ needs so that they receive prompt help. Caregivers also provide guidance to curb confusion and agitation, and many are specially trained to interact with residents and calm their fears.

Seniors who live in memory care facilities also receive cognitive stimulation through activities designed to help people with memory loss. Residents gather to work on puzzles, play brain games and listen to music. Many communities provide aromatherapy and other sensory-focused opportunities so that seniors can keep their brains working as well as possible. Life stations help them participate in familiar activities, and memory boxes assist them in holding onto their past.

Why Memory Care Is Important

Memory care provides essential services to seniors and their families. Caregivers help residents with personal care tasks, such as bathing and dressing, and they keep track of medication. They wash residents’ clothing and linens and handle housekeeping tasks. Communities serve three meals per day with an eye on nutrition. To help seniors eat enough and stay hydrated, they offer snacks and beverages throughout the day.

Families can also benefit from having a loved one in memory care. Knowing a loved one is safe and needs are being met reduces stress and anxiety. Many facilities provide resources and support groups for residents’ family members and friends so that they can learn how to interact with their loved ones and cope with their own fears about memory loss.