Those helping to care for a loved one who is aging in place, or experiencing dementia or memory-related challenges, often carry a heavy burden of both providing care and worrying about their day-to-day well-being. Family members are usually happy to show up for their loved ones, but it’s a lot to handle — especially over an extended period.
Making a change may seem daunting, too, but residential memory care services are designed to meet the residents’ unique needs. You may be surprised by how easy it is to get them the help they need. Plus, a life plan community like Meadowood makes memory care services available on-site, so if a resident’s needs change over time, they don’t have to worry about moving to a different community.
We spoke with a McLean Memory Care resident’s daughter to learn more about her experience moving her parents to Meadowood and her father into McLean. If you’re wondering what to expect from a memory care facility, check out what Jill has to say below.
Family Member Perspective: What to Expect from Our Memory Care Facility
A few years ago, Jill’s father and mother still lived in their original two-story, five-bedroom family home. Their bedroom was upstairs, and the washer and dryer were in the basement. With both nearing the age of 100, the house began posing serious mobility challenges. They viewed navigating the stairs on their canes to get the laundry done as good exercise, but the family knew simple daily chores were becoming more and more dangerous — especially as Jill’s father began having falls.
“They were cheerful about it and saw it was a way to ‘stay limber,’ and they didn’t want to move everything to the first floor, but when you saw them going up and down the stairs on their canes, it was really frightening,” Jill said. “It was scary for them to be alone that much, especially when we started getting calls about my father falling. And with some of us kids nearing retirement ourselves, it was getting harder to be there and help. We knew we needed to do something.”
Jill and the family didn’t know exactly what to expect from a memory care facility but realized a life plan community like Meadowood was ideal because her parents would likely need more care over time. With all the care they could need located on one campus, a life plan contract offered the most value for the price. But, of course, there was so much more that also went into their decision.
“One of the most important things to all of us was that the place felt as much like ‘home’ as possible,” Jill added. “My mother loved being able to swim in a pool, and they have a dog, so they needed yard space. We also wanted it to be easy for them to get to activities without doing a lot of walking. We visited several different communities, and they were all very nice. But Meadowood stood out because it met all our needs and felt the most like home.”
Easing the Burden of Care
As her father began experiencing more mobility and dementia issues, Jill could see its toll on her mother.
“As she was spending increasing amounts of time tending to my father’s daily needs, she wasn’t able to attend to her own needs as she typically would,” Jill explained. “Caregiving was becoming overwhelming and at times unsafe for both of them.”
Jill said it was very easy to connect with Meadowood’s McLean Memory Care and get her father moved in. She says the difference it has made for her mother and the rest of her family is extraordinary.
“Not only are we not getting calls at 2 a.m. about a bad fall, and we know they’re safe and looked after, but we also know they’re secure. I don’t have to worry about them living alone in a neighborhood where someone might knock on the door with bad intentions,” she pointed out. “Day-to-day is so much easier. If they need to see a doctor, I don’t have to worry about making an appointment and getting them there — that’s all taken care of with first-line healthcare available right there. They don’t have to cook, so there’s no risk of leaving a burner on and starting a fire. They have a cleaning service, so I know everything is hygienic and orderly without them having to do all that work.”
Jill was also impressed with the facility, which offers a homelike atmosphere but with a state-of-the-art design. The center features:
- Beautiful green spaces, including two interior gardens, so residents are free to spend time in the great outdoors any time they like without safety becoming a concern.
- A greenhouse with a horticultural specialist on hand to lead gardening activities.
- A salon to keep residents looking and feeling their best, allowing them to enjoy the normalcy and luxury of the routine grooming visits that they’re used to.
- Meeting spaces for those still working or involved with clubs and organizations.
- Two activity rooms so residents can pursue their interests in the company of friends and family.
- A new dining venue so they can enjoy meals in an elegant dining setting.
“The rooms have a lot of built-in safety features, like lifting chairs to make it easier to get up, as well as thoughtful touches to the living spaces, like plenty of shelving for pictures. Everything has been designed to meet the unique needs of the people they’re serving,” added Jill.
McLean Memory Care features many environmental cues that make it easier for residents to explore safely, enjoy the green space and grounds, and find their way back to their rooms. Digital photo boxes at each front door show family photos and photos of the resident. Hallways feature different themes in terms of artwork (like birds or blooms) to make it easier for residents to keep their bearings and know where they are. From the conceptualization of McLean to opening day, a team of employees, current independently living residents, and family members gave their input on the design to ensure it’s the best it can be.
“Even the colors we chose were done with intention,” says Meadowood Director of Personal Care Stephanie Messler. “We chose warm, welcoming colors and ensured there are plenty of large windows with bright sunshine streaming in. We opted for single-loaded corridors, which means every resident has a beautiful outside view of our green spaces on one side and a view of the courtyard garden on the other. Everyone gets a beautiful view.”
This is all in addition to engaging on- and off-site activities like the incredibly successful Equine Therapy Program, which is much loved by residents and staff alike.
“They’re Safe Now”
Jill’s final and most complimentary thoughts rested on those who work at Meadowood. Her comments are heartwarming and fill us with pride that we’ve fostered the warm and welcoming community we strive for. Though she didn’t know exactly what to expect from a memory care facility, the expectations she did have were exceeded.
“I cannot speak highly enough of the staff. They are so positive and loving,” Jill says. “They call my father “Poppy” just like the grandkids do. Every single person, from food service to housekeeping, works toward promoting the residents’ independence and especially their dignity. We’re so grateful for the care they provide. It’s one of the best decisions we ever could have made. They are both doing so much better, spending their days visiting with each other and the dog and not having to worry about anything else. We go to sleep every night knowing our parents are safe and sound — and happy. That’s worth everything to us.”
Discover Memory Care at Meadowood
Meadowood makes it easy for our residents living with dementia to maintain their health and dignity, offering a living experience that promotes active lifestyles. From a full calendar of fun and healthy activities to delicious yet nutritious food, a variety of fun ways to get exercise while socializing with friends, and the support of a nursing staff with all the medical training necessary—we have everything our residents need to stay fit and live the fullest life possible.
We’re proud to offer multiple residential living options for an independent lifestyle, as well as personal care, skilled nursing, rehabilitation, and memory care all on one campus paired with resort-style amenities. If you’re interested in learning more about our campus, request a brochure or schedule a visit.