Memory Care FAQs Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About Memory Care Q. What is your approach to memory care? A. At Willow River communities, our THRIVE approach to memory care is based upon the recommendations of world-renowned dementia expert Teepa Snow. Her Positive Approach® to memory care advocates a holistic focus on emotional, physical, intellectual, social, and spiritual wellness. We encourage residents to maintain their autonomy as much as possible, from moving freely within our self-contained community to connecting with friends and families in new ways that work for them. Q. How is memory care different from assisted living? A. Memory care provides an enhanced level of assisted living designed specifically for those living with Alzheimer’s or dementia. This includes care teams specially trained in supporting those living with memory loss, dining that accommodates changing abilities and appetites, and activities programming that encourages connection and engagement. While some assisted living facilities offer a designated area for memory care, Willow River communities are completely dedicated to providing memory care, allowing our residents to move freely within our community. Q. How do I know if my loved one needs memory care? A. There are many stages along the Alzheimer’s and dementia journey, and if you have concerns about cognitive impairment, it’s important to consult with a healthcare provider. Families often ask how they can know whether the behaviors and memory gaps they are seeing are normal signs of aging or indicative of something more concerning. A doctor’s diagnosis can help, but often comes after a crisis or when cognitive impairment is fairly advanced. Watch for changes in behavior, including excessive defensiveness or anger, decreased attention to housework and personal care, issues with bills and money management, challenges managing medication, and increased confusion and distraction. Our free, online survey can guide families through senior living options, assisted living, and memory care, and provide some recommendations about the potentially suitable options to explore. Q. Why would a family choose memory care for their loved one? A. Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s and dementia can be incredibly stressful, especially when added to work and family responsibilities. For families that are far apart, phone calls and infrequent visits may not be enough to keep your loved one healthy, happy, and safe. When you choose a Willow River community, you know that your loved one’s well-being is our top priority. We’ll make sure that they are dining well every day, managing their medication, engaging with others, and finding purpose again. For families, this means they can go back to spending quality time with their loved one, rather than dealing with the challenges of being caregivers. Q. How do I talk to my family about moving our loved to a memory care community? A. Making decisions about what’s best for a loved one is challenging, especially when there are signs of memory loss that goes beyond normal aging. A diagnosis or recommendation from your loved one’s health care provider is often the catalyst for making the move to memory care. In your conversations with family, acknowledge that your loved one’s safety and well-being are your first priority. Share with them how memory care can reduce isolation, encourage engagement, support proper nutrition, and provide much-needed purpose. This is also an important time to ensure that a primary decision-maker has been designated and that all relevant legal paperwork is in place. Q. What levels of dementia does memory care include? It is important to ask this question when choosing a memory care setting, because not all communities offer care across the spectrum of memory loss. At Willow River communities, we provide the right level of care for individuals all across the Alzheimer’s and dementia journey, including early, middle, and late stages. This full range of care makes it easier for those just beginning to show signs of memory loss to become part of our family and remain comfortably with us as their disease and symptoms progress. Q. What does all-inclusive memory care cover? A. At Willow River communities, our all-inclusive care means that we provide the right level of friendly, respectful care even as needs change. (Our discreet, respectful continence program is available for an additional fee.) Q. Is nursing a part of memory care? A. Clinical care is an important aspect of memory care, as the diseases and conditions that cause cognitive impairment not related to aging can significantly impact health beyond the brain. At Willow River communities, we have specially trained staff on-site 24/7 and regular consultation with licensed nursing professionals. Q. What is a typical day like? A. Each of our residents is an individual with their own personal experiences, and we honor that through flexible daily routines. We encourage them to find their own joy and purpose in each day, with hobby activities that encourage memory and motion and sensory experiences that facilitate connection and ease stress. Each day brings full activities programming, with opportunities to choose from musical programs, entertainment, movies, art classes, and fitness classes such as movement and yoga. Residents may decide to enjoy nature in our outdoor courtyard, strolling the walking paths, exploring the flower gardens, or practicing their short game on our putting green. Our community comes together at mealtimes, plus we offer Snack-tivities to encourage nutrition, hydration, and social time. And there is always time to simply relax and reminisce with friends and family.