People living with Memory Loss can easily become confused or disoriented in the most familiar of surroundings which can put them at risk for physical harm. Providing a safe physical environment for people living with Memory Loss is an important way to ensure their safety and encourage them to continue enjoying their daily activities. This is why specialized Memory Care environments, such as Memory & Company, are designed with the physical, emotional, and mental needs of their Members in mind.
How Do Physical Surroundings Affect People with Memory Loss?
There have been numerous clinical studies highlighting the importance of a safe physical environment for people living with Memory Loss. As with other health conditions, dementia can affect each person differently and progresses in stages.
The physical and social environments for people living with Memory Loss need to be structured to assist mobility issues, poor reaction time, and visual-perceptual difficulties. Cognitive difficulties can reduce a person’s judgement and make it harder to navigate their environment.
Below are just a few safety features that Memory & Company offers to help people living with Memory Loss.
As a person living with Memory Loss may not be able to recognize dangers within their surroundings, it is imperative that security features be put in place for their protection. Access to emergency exits, operational sprinkler systems, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and other alarms need to be properly managed and maintained.
Wandering is a huge concern for care partners and loved ones of those living with Memory Loss. At home, doors and windows should be kept locked at all times if wandering has become an issue. It is also suggested you use alerting technology that alarms or informs if a person has exited an area. Memory Care environments provide secured environments that limit the risk of elopement, and unsafe wandering by providing locking mechanisms that are only released with pass cards or door codes
When at home, it can be hard for care partners to provide 24/7 supervision for individuals living with Memory Loss. But having around-the-clock supervision can be essential as Memory Care needs progress, especially if wandering becomes an issue. In addition to providing security features and exit passes, a Memory Care environment requires 24/7 supervision by highly trained staff.
The design structure of the home or residence should enhance the daily activities of each person living with Memory Loss. Feelings of isolation and disorientation can be prevented or reduced with the proper settings. The design of a Memory Care environment actually presents unassuming pathways, safety features and colour schemes to reduce the risk of confusion and disorientation.
Recreational Spaces for Members
To reduce the possibility of confusion in a Memory Care setting, creating centralized recreational spaces may help people living with Memory Loss get their bearings. The physical environment should be bright and roomy, circular in nature to avoid dead end hallways and should not contain dark shadows, which could trigger aggressive behaviour known as sundowning.
Divided Space for Each Activity
The layout of a Memory Care environment should be properly divided up based on the room’s purpose (e.g., the kitchen, the dining room, and activity room). The pathway between the areas should be cleared of clutter and, if possible, provide a clear sightline between each room. By creating an accommodating space, the possibility of wandering and pacing is reduced.
Dining Area with a Small Home-Like Space
Living in a Memory Care environment, the dining room area is set up like a personal home environment to encourage social engagement and eating. It is important for care partners and team members to be properly trained in the dietary requirements of those living with Memory Loss.
Brighter Lighting Enhances Mood and Sleep Cycle
As many aggressive behaviours occur at sundown or after dark, having proper lighting is crucial to help those living with Memory Loss feel safe and comfortable. The indoor lighting helps maintain a sleep cycle and enhances the mood of a person. Bright lighting from natural sunlight and artificial light also helps to ensure the individual can clearly see their footing.
Access to Outdoor Areas Lessens Agitation
Natural light can be enjoyed by spending time outside. Memory Care environments provide beautiful gardens for Members to sit, walk, and help nurture. It’s been shown that agitation and aggression can be reduced by spending time in the fresh air and by getting regular exercise.
The Team Members at Memory Care environments are an important part of ensuring the physical environment is designed especially for those living with Memory Loss. Each Team Member needs to be highly trained and knowledgeable in the conditions of dementia and understand the effects of Memory Loss.
Medical Team Members for Specific Needs
In addition to having qualified Team Members caring and helping for the Members, a Memory Care environment requires a professional team of medical staff. To ensure their safety, health, and security, Members receive around-the-clock attention from licensed nurses and nursing assistants. They can also get access to a physician as needed and specialists can also be added to part of the physical makeup of the living environment.
Medication Management by Team Members
These highly qualified specialists, physicians, and nursing teams work together to ensure the proper management of each Member’s medication. Oftentimes because Memory Loss can cause confusion and disorientation, medication can be mismanaged by the person living with memory loss. Those with Memory Loss are at a risk for serious health problems without timely administration of medication.
Memory & Company’s Respite Hotel Service
At Memory & Company, people living with Memory Loss are provided personalized programs to enhance their lives while their care partner is fully supported by our Team Members. Our Respite Hotel services are available for short- and long-term accommodations complete with access to our Premium Day Programs. Call us today to book a tour of our Respite Hotel and our Premium Day Program.