How to Start the Memory Care Conversation Tuesday, March 14, 2023 Memory care offers more than just safety for your loved ones. A memory care facility also provides social interactions, cognitive stimulation, and rich day-to-day engagement for all residents. Before you choose a memory care facility, however, you have to open the door for the initial conversation about memory care first. Starting the conversation about memory care can be a delicate endeavor. Prepare by identifying key individuals in your family who need to be present for the conversation. A few of those people may be decision-makers, caretakers, or close family members who are aware of and/or have experienced your loved one’s symptoms. As always, refer to your loved one’s medical physician for any insight or information they may have shared previously. Once these preliminary steps have been taken care of, you can set yourself up for a successful conversation by identifying the following key elements: The Time Individuals experiencing dementia symptoms typically experience more positive moods and sharper cognitive abilities in the morning. Steer clear of stressful conversations at the end of the day to avoid sundowning––a behavioral and cognitive reaction elderly individuals can experience as the sun goes down at the end of the day. Think about planning your conversation around breakfast, earlier in the day, while sharing a familiar meal. The Place The memory care conversation should be had in person to avoid confusion or misunderstanding. Choose a location that your loved one feels comfortable and safe in, such as their home, perhaps over a meal or activity that they enjoy. Starting the memory care conversation can often bring out strong emotional reactions. Prioritize your loved one’s comfort and privacy, while validating their feelings throughout the conversation. The Approach How you approach the memory care conversation can make a huge impact on your loved one’s response. Body language and visual cues will be important and ideal to avoid confusion. If you notice that your loved one is having trouble understanding or responding to you, concentrate on how you’re communicating with them both verbally and non-verbally. Be patient, speak clearly, show affection, and allow your loved one to communicate and respond in whatever way they need to. Starting the memory care conversation can feel very daunting, but preparing ahead of time can help smooth the way. Remember why you’re having the conversation in the first place––to improve your loved one’s safety and quality of life by providing them with the care they need. When you’re ready to start touring facilities, Willow River is ready for you. Trained memory care professionals can provide the oversight and medical attention needed to ease your loved one’s anxieties and symptoms, allowing for more meaningful experiences and family visits. Explore Willow River today. Willow River is Here to Help At Willow River, we understand the challenges Alzheimer’s and dementia can bring. If you have questions or need help, Willow River has the answers and resources to assist you in this transition. Call Willow River Senior Living at 888-546-1886 or contact us through our website to start the conversation today.