For those with Alzheimer’s, dementia, or another form of cognitive decline, in many cases, memory care is the most beneficial and realistic living option. Memory care communities offer the right balance of assistance and amenities so that a resident’s medical and lifestyle needs can be treated with expert-level care, without taking their sense of agency. However, in the past, family members or significant others worried about their loved ones feeling isolated in a memory care community. The evolution of senior living is such that inclusive couple-friendly memory care options are now available.
The benefits of social interactions, activities, and enrichment are so tangible that innovative memory care communities, such as Vineyard Henderson, encourage residents to live with a spouse, relative, partner, or friend. This couple-friendly memory care approach curates a holistic, inclusive, and resident-focused environment that increases both peace of mind and quality of life.
Below, we’ve highlighted four science-backed reasons that partnership is essential for anyone in a memory care community.
Slows the Pace and Symptoms of Cognitive Decline
Social isolation can worsen the rate at which someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia experiences memory loss, according to research published in 2018 by the Journal of Biomedical Science. In fact, this study continues, when the brain does not receive enough stimulation from positive social contact, the neurons that command mental recall in order to activate memories are underused and, as a result, ultimately impaired. However, those with companionship are more likely to have strong neuron receptors, which keep their brains active and slow their memory decline.
Helps Perceive and Maintain a Sense of Personal Identity
One of the most distressing aspects of Alzheimer’s or dementia is a buried sense of self. The person affected only remembers brief, tenuous, and fragmented pieces of who they used to be and the life they once had. This can lead to confusion about their own identity. But those who maintain close emotional bonds with family members, friends, and partners, whom they can interact with regularly, can stay embodied and connected to their own personhood, notes the BioMed Central Nursing Journal. This illness can erode memories, but relationships sustain identity.
Creates Emotional Security and Alleviates Stress
Because memory-related diseases cause feelings of anxiety, stress, overwhelm, and disorientation, the transition to a new memory care community can further exacerbate those acute emotions. Anxiety is one of the most prevalent comorbid symptoms, affecting as many as 71 percent of those with memory impairment, confirms the Dementia and Neurocognitive Disorders Journal. Disruptions in a routine or environment will often produce anxious behavior. To counteract this, a couple-friendly memory care setting allows the presence of someone the individual feels secure around. Living with a partner can help to normalize changes and reinforce safety.
Increases Healthier Behaviors, Habits, and Attitude
When a person with Alzheimer’s or dementia has loving, consistent, and supportive relational connections, this enhances other vital areas of their life too. The Journal of Aging Research has found a link between socialization and improved lifestyle habits such as nutrition, exercise, sleep, and mood balance. The data indicates that meaningful and positive social interactions can foster self-worth, which, in turn, motivates the person to care for their own physical and emotional health too. This can help them feel more active, nourished, strong, rested, healthy, and optimistic.
Explore the Advantages of Couple-Friendly Memory Care
If your loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia has—or will soon—make the transition to a specialized care community, couple-friendly memory care is an ideal option to ease them into their new surroundings. Relationships are crucial at any phase in life, and this one is no different. Human connection is a healing force.
The benefits of partnership cannot be underestimated. At Vineyard Henderson, we know that whether it be your spouse, best friend, life partner, child, or parent—love is love. 💚 That’s why we offer all-inclusive suites, so that when your loved one transitions into Memory Care, you can join them. No matter the relationship, we’re couple-friendly.