Dear Donna:

I have been my uncle’s guardian for over a year now. He has Alzheimer’s disease and was starting to make some serious financial missteps. His electricity was turned off for failure to pay, but he also had significant credit with the gas company for repeatedly paying the same bill. Worst of all, he was the victim of a door-to-door scam that cost him a big chunk of his savings.

We set up systems so I can help manage his finances without causing his dignity to suffer. However, he is no longer safe at home alone due to the progression of his disease. I’m his only remaining family and am struggling to figure out how to keep him safe and improve his quality of life.

My uncle’s primary care doctor suggested I consider a memory care program. While I’m sure he would be safer, the idea of him feeling abandoned is tough to bear. Why is memory care a good solution for a family member?


Steve in Grand Haven, MI

Ways Memory Care Programs Benefit Seniors with Alzheimer’s

Dear Steve:

It’s great to see that you are concerned not just about your uncle’s safety, but his quality of life, too. The unique challenges Alzheimer’s creates can make it more difficult for families to keep a loved one healthy and engaged with life. That’s where the support of experienced, professional caregivers can help.

A few benefits of memory care for adults with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia include:

  • Specialized caregivers: Seniors who have dementia have unique needs. That’s why caregivers who work with memory care residents undergo additional training. They learn best practices for communication, behavior modification, and early detection of potential problems. Team members in a memory care program also learn how to deescalate situations and manage tough behaviors, such as wandering and aggression.
  • Care planning: While a senior can still maintain a relationship with their preferred physicians, memory care programs also have a physician who works in conjunction with staff to create care plans for each resident. These plans help ensure seniors live their best quality of life, despite their disease.
  • Dedicated dining: Mealtimes can be a challenge when a senior has dementia. A loss of hand-eye coordination makes manipulating utensils tough for many. Vision changes create difficulty distinguishing food on the plate. A busy or cluttered dining space might cause restlessness and an inability to focus on eating. That might result in poor nutrition and weight loss. Memory care dining programs work around these challenges to create healthy meals.
  • Quality of life: The daily life enrichment activities and recreation therapy programs offered in memory care allow residents to feel productive. Common activities include art classes, visits from pets, music therapy, and low-impact fitness activities. Many memory care programs also have secure outdoor spaces for residents to enjoy nature walks, bird watching, or gardening in raised beds.
  • Family support: Alzheimer’s is often referred to as the “long goodbye” because the disease slowly robs a senior loved one of their abilities. Families watch helplessly as their loved one’s health declines. Memory care communities often host support group meetings and other activities to help families throughout this journey.

I hope this list gives you a better idea of the ways older adults benefit from a move to a memory care community. Wishing you and your uncle the best of luck. Please contact me or one of the Heritage Senior Communities near your home if have any additional questions!

Kind regards,