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What Is a Memory Care Community?

Many spouses and children caring for an aging senior in early stage Alzheimer’s disease or dementia seek resources to help their loved one. As the disease impacts more people, new resources and services emerge. A relatively new concept is a memory care community.

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A memory care community is a senior living facility, either a personal care home or assisted living facility, where residents have a semi-private or private suite and receive meals and assistance with daily living activities. This can include help with bathing, dressing, grooming, toileting, and other personal activities. These communities also provide additional services such as activities programming, medical management, transportation and amenities throughout the building including a salon, barber shop, and more. Some medical services can be provided on site by third party medical professionals such are podiatry, physical, speech and occupational therapy.

What sets memory care living apart from assisted living or senior living is that the building, facilities, staff and programming are all equipped and designed to handle older adults with cognitive issues like dementia. Staff is trained in communicating with, prompting and catering to the unique needs of their residents. Activities directors also receive training and offer programming geared toward maximizing the individual’s remaining cognition. Direct care employees must display the right temperament, empathy and patience to work with residents with Alzheimer’s. Simple technique and approaches to care are needed to redirect, encourage, and offer patience to those living with dementia.

The care at a memory care community is more resident focused and based not only on their physical needs but also their cognitive needs, a life history analysis and input from families. Team members from the administrator down to the chef become familiar with each resident.

The layout of the building, suites, furniture and fixtures are all specially selected and designed to keep seniors from hurting themselves, as well as to encourage proper behavior. This includes interior architecture and design to decrease agitation, sun downing, and exit seeking.

Like personal care homes and assisted living facilities, memory care communities are licensed and overseen by the state. In the commonwealth to Pennsylvania, the Department of Health provides oversight for memory care communities.

South Mountain Memory Village (SMMC) is a unique community. It is the only locally owned (private family), stand-alone memory care community in the Lehigh Valley. The brand new building was exclusively designed for residents with Alzheimer’s and dementia, and created to be a smaller community to enable staff and residents the ability to give adequate time and care back to residents. SMMC provides care and suites for up to 28 residents. The community is divided into two neighborhoods (wings) which offer a home-like feel. Each neighborhood has 10 private suites and 2 semi-private suites.

If you are interested in learning about the care and quality of life for your loved one at SMMC then call us – 610-965-7662

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