Memory Care at Home: Creating a Safe and Supportive Environment

Providing memory care at home requires planning. In this blog post, we’ll discuss strategies for creating a safe and supportive memory care environment in your own home.

1. Evaluate the Home Environment for Physical Hazards

If you haven’t done this already, or you have a senior adult with memory issues moving into your home, its’ time to assess for potential hazards and make modifications.

Here a few of the most important changes, though this list isn’t exhaustive:

  • Install grab bars in bathrooms and near stairs.
  • Removing tripping hazards such as loose rugs or clutter. Those smaller rugs found in front of sinks are sometimes called “slip and fall rugs”. Get rid of them.
  • Securing windows and doors to prevent wandering.
  • Ensuring adequate lighting in hallways and living areas.

If you need more safety information, we’ve written a longer post called 11 Point Senior Safety Checklist:

2. Other Safety Measures

Take steps, such as:

  • Use medication reminders or pill organizers to ensure medication compliance and correct dosages.
  • Label drawers and cabinets for easy identification of items.
  • Keeping emergency contact information and medical history readily accessible.
  • Install smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms (as you would in all homes)
Home Caregiver

3. Create a Structured Routine:

Daily routines help people with memory impairment! Memory care best practices include regular mealtimes, medication schedules, and activities to promote cognitive stimulation and engagement. We’ll talk more about activities below.

4. Promote Independence:

Supporting independence and autonomy involves breaking tasks into manageable steps and providing visual cues. For instance, you can arrange a tray with a hairbrush, comb, toothbrush, and toothpaste along with visual drawings to assist with personal grooming. Additionally, offering choices when feasible empowers seniors with memory impairment to make decisions, such as selecting meals, choosing clothing, or deciding on the next activity from a few options.

Memory care caregiver

5. Engage in Meaningful Activities:

Incorporate activities that are enjoyable and stimulating for your person experiencing memory care issues. If there are activities they’ve engaged in the past and can continue with or without assistance, start with those.

Activities could include:

  • Reminiscence therapy through photo albums or familiar objects.
  • Arts and crafts activities that promote creativity and self-expression.
  • Listening to music or participating in music therapy sessions.
  • Exercise routines to maintain physical health and mobility.

6. Seek Professional Support:

If you haven’t already, consult with a healthcare provider specializing in memory care. There are several cognitive assessments, such as the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) or Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA), that assess memory, attention, language, and other cognitive functions. There are also Neurological and Imaging tests like MRI or CT scans that doctors use to assess memory issues. Blood tests may be performed to check for conditions like vitamin deficiencies or thyroid disorders that can affect cognition.

You may also wish to join support groups for caregivers, or hire respite or memory care services to provide short-term assistance.

Home Health Care

7. Practice Compassionate Communication:

Effective communication is key. Use simple language, maintain a calm and reassuring tone, and listen attentively to your senior adult. Validate their feelings and emotions, even if they may not always remember specific details. You’ll see that if you stay calm, they are more likely to stay calm as well, leading to better day for both of you.

8. Take Care of Yourself:

Caring for someone with memory impairment can be challenging, so prioritize your own well-being. Practice self-care, seek support from family and friends, and don’t hesitate to ask for help when needed. Remember that taking care of yourself allows you to provide the best possible care for your senior adult.

Creating a safe and supportive memory care environment at home requires a combination of practical or safety measures, compassionate communication, and a focus on promoting quality of life. By implementing these strategies, you can help your senior adult with memory impairment live comfortably and safely.

Young woman showing something on digital tablet to senior woman, they are sitting at table in living room, cups of coffee on table, they are having havig fun together