Caring for someone living with Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia can be rewarding but it can also be challenging. Relationships change as spouses become caregivers, and adult children find themselves parenting their parents. Many families struggle with the decision over whether or not to keep their loved ones at home or to move them to a retirement residence or a long-term care home. It’s not an easy decision to make, and knowing when to make it can also be difficult. But when it’s the right decision, moving a loved one into memory care can provide many benefits, including the health, safety and well-being of both the caregiver and the person living with dementia.
Retirement homes in Ottawa with memory care
Many retirement homes in Ottawa provide specialized memory care programs that offer not only a safe and engaging environment but one that enhances a sense of belonging and community. When your loved one moves into the residence, the care staff will want to learn all about them so that they can best provide for their unique needs. It’s important for caregivers and family to talk about their loved one’s needs, like their daily habits, favourite foods, family history and hobbies or interests. Does your mother like to sleep-in? Maybe she only likes tea, not coffee, and just a light breakfast. Try to recall things about their routines that even though they may seem small, can make a difference to their day-to-day comfort. An in-depth assessment helps determine the level of care and attention your loved one requires.
Making sure your loved one is staying healthy by eating well
Keeping engaged with specialized memory care programs and activities
Memory care programs provide your loved one with a variety of engaging opportunities. Activities and programs are designed to meet the changing needs of residents. Things like games, trivia and reminiscing activities can be adapted for different abilities. Residents participate in a number of different activities every day, from brain games and physical exercises to arts and crafts. Daily activities stimulate the mind, help maintain fine motor skills and keep residents physically fit. Nature walks, dancing, gentle stretching, and games that promote coordination such as bouncing a ball, can strengthen, build muscle, and maintain flexibility. Physical activity, even chair exercises, also help to prevent injury and the risk of falls. Many retirement residences also offer music programs, including singing, using instruments, listening to music and being entertained by live musicians! Music is highly therapeutic, even for those living with more advanced dementia. Regardless of ability, involvement has a positive effect on mental health, cognition and socialization.
Creating a supportive environment with routine
If you have been caring for a family member with dementia, you will know how important a daily routine is to their wellbeing. Memory care communities provide consistency, routine, and familiarity, which helps create a supportive environment. That includes supporting your loved one’s regular routine as much as possible, like turning on the news in the evening, laying out their clothes for the next day, or having their hair done every week. Staff who care for residents on memory care floors will have ongoing training and education to best support residents’ needs. Reminders and cueing may be enough for some residents to independently navigate their mealtimes, activity schedules and events. A regular routine also helps to reduce anxiety and behaviours related to frustration.
The challenges of caregiving during COVID-19
Moving your loved one into memory care
When your loved one moves into a memory care community, they’ll get to enjoy the many programs, services, entertainment and support they need, but this allows you to become less of a caregiver and more of what you want to be – a partner, loved one, or friend. There are many great memory care homes in Ottawa to choose from. Supporting Seniors can help you sort through the options, and find the place that’s best for your loved one. It’s not an easy decision to make, so talking it through and learning about what is offered can help you put a plan in place. We do everything we can to help you make the best choice for you and your loved one. If you’d like to discuss how finding the right memory care option can help your loved one thrive, contact us and start your search today!