The establishment of a memory care plan is important in supporting more positive outcomes for individuals with dementia or other memory-related conditions. For individuals who have progressed into later phases of such disorders, alterations in a daily regimen can disrupt what they’ve come to rely upon and cause anxiety. Although memory care plans are unique to each individual and their needs, there are rudimentary elements of most care plans that are crucial to implementing routine and driving daily activity.
Discover more about some common elements of memory care plans below so you're better prepared to work with treatment providers who are caring for you or your loved one.
Establishing a meal schedule with a balanced diet that meets a person's nutritional needs is a vital aspect of memory care planning. Eating regularly can be difficult and stressful for those experiencing memory care issues. Certain foods may not taste as they once did, and preparation may become increasingly difficult to do alone.
In some cases, eating in and of itself can feel strenuous. For this reason, those experiencing memory care issues are at a higher risk of rapid weight loss. A wholesome breakfast, lunch and dinner provide a solid framework for nutritional needs and often provide opportunities for social interaction.
Maintaining the personal health and hygiene of someone with a memory care diagnosis isn’t solely about ensuring they are bathed and their teeth are regularly brushed. It’s about providing a more intimate level of personal care and helping the person feel clean, well-groomed and attractive. This can include help for basic tasks like getting dressed in the morning to assistance with beauty routines, like putting on makeup and styling hair.
Playing music, writing, crafting, painting and similar activities can be effective in helping those with a memory-related condition express themselves freely and artistically. Studies have shown that creative activities can help reduce agitation and boost overall mood for those dealing with dementia. Such activities also break up the monotony of the day and may provide a sense of accomplishment and purpose.
Getting out in nature, especially during morning or evening hours, provides opportunities for anyone to improve overall health on both physical and mental levels. Yoga, gardening or even something as simple as going on a walk is a great way to work on maintaining mobility and reduce nervous energy that can lead to other issues during the day.
Although mental and physical stimulation is of great importance, it’s equally important to not be too insistent on filling every minute with an activity. Everyone needs time to wind down at some point throughout the day, and those with memory diagnoses are no different. Tranquil activities like taking a nap or listening to music or an audiobook are fantastic activities for decompressing and re-centering.
Many people who struggle with short-term memory loss still maintain some or all of their long-term memory. As a caretaker or loved one, you can help strengthen certain cognitive functions by setting time aside to reminisce about the past with someone struggling with memory issues. Dig up old photographs and videos or simply talk to them about their life and listen to old stories. These memories are often comforting and reassuring and can produce a sense of biography that can help re-coordinate cognitive processes pertaining to memory recall.
Intellectual pursuits and puzzles are another aspect of memory care plans that help keep a person's cognitive ability sharp. They also introduce fun social interactions into the equation. Crosswords, jigsaw puzzles, Sudoku and card and board games can stir up liveliness and animation and revitalize the mind and spirit of a person with memory-related difficulties.
These are just a handful of activities and pastimes that have proven to be effective in building a fruitful and constructive memory care plan. The most important aspect of scheduling and executing an individualized care plan is to implement activities that continually bestow a sense of biography, support and independence.
If you’re a close friend, relative or caretaker of someone suffering from memory care issues, there are several things you can consider and do to support your loved one and facilitate their cognitive health:
• Do your research regarding what the best avenues and options are for their treatment. Openly communicate with your loved one to ascertain what they need in a memory care plan and look into the amenities and policies of any memory care community you are considering. Autumn View Gardens is an example of a community that provides intensive, unique care plans that accommodate individual needs in a safe, stimulating atmosphere.
• Work with caretakers, counselors and healthcare professionals by communicating openly with them about your loved one’s struggles and needs. In doing so, you can assist them in designing the right kind of memory care plan for your loved one.
Dementia and other related memory care issues can be a difficult and scary territory to navigate for both the individual experiencing them and loved ones witnessing it. But with the right amount of open communication, research and personalized routine care, these obstacles can be overcome.