Nurse caring for sick man Memory care is a form of elderly care that can reduce the symptoms of dementia and calm agitation without medication. It can help seniors lead a fulfilling and semi-independent life, while still doing the things they love.

If an elderly loved one has been showing signs of confusion and memory loss, they’ve been diagnosed with dementia, or confusion is impeding their independence, they don’t have to move to a nursing home.

Nursing Homes vs. Memory Care Homes

Traditional nursing homes are set up like hospitals and most use medications to subdue residents who are confused or agitated. Every week in the U.S, more than 179,000 elderly people are given anti-psychotic drugs to control their behavior and make them docile. These drugs were never meant for people with dementia and can have a sedative effect.

There is a way to ease the symptoms of dementia without resorting to medication – memory care.

What is Memory Care?

Memory care uses prompts and items to trigger old memories. Recalling events from the distant past help calm and comfort people with dementia. Activities that can be stopped and started halfway through without having to remember sequences, such as hanging laundry, may also give them a sense of independence without adding to the confusion.

The building itself is constructed in a way that prevents residents from getting lost and there are fully enclosed and safe lawns and patios so that they can enjoy walking outdoors or gardening without the worry that they will wander off. In resident’s private bedrooms, personal possessions and photographs can be placed around the room to help trigger memories.

Legacy Village of Provo notes that remembering and discussing past events can help keep dementia patients calm. Assisted living facilities in Utah County, for example, may also have restaurants, bars, a movie theater, or dementia-friendly grocery stores to add to the feeling of community.

The use of psychotropic medication is common for dementia patients, but memory care can offer medication-free independent living in a home away from home environment.