Understanding Dementia: A Different Approach to Memory Care

Understanding Dementia: A Different Approach to Memory Care

When it comes to healthy aging, quite honestly, there’s a lot to do. You’re supposed to make sure to keep your body active and your brain engaged all while maintaining your social connections as well. Sure, the benefits to your overall well-being are worth the effort, but retirement is supposed to be a time with less responsibility on your plate, right? Well, it turns out that in senior living you can have your cake and eat it too, so to speak. Here’s how programs like our Vivid Life make keeping active, engaged, and connected easy and fun! 

Benefits of Healthy Aging 

Good things happen when you focus on healthy aging. In addition to feeling better overall, which in and of itself is a win, other benefits of keeping active, engaged, and connected include:  

  • Improved ability to do everyday things ​ 
  • Reduced impact of illness and chronic disease​ 
  • Enhanced mobility, flexibility, and balance
  • Improved sleep
  • Increased energy level
  • Reduced feelings of depression and stress
  • Increased feelings of happiness and self-confidence
  • Reduced risk of cognitive decline 
  • Increased mental adaptability and cognitive reserve 
  • Improved memory recall and problem-solving skills 
  • Improved concentration and attention to detail  

How Senior Living Can Help 

At home, particularly when living alone, it can be hard to stay as active, engaged, and connected as you’d like. From lack of opportunity to lack of motivation to lack of transportation to mobility challenges, and more, it’s tough, we get it! That’s why we created the Vivid Life program in our senior living communities. It’s composed of three parts: Vibrant Body, Vibrant Brain, and Vibrant Connections. Here’s what each entails:  

Vibrant Body We offer amenities such as a state-of-the-art fitness center, a pool, walking trails, gardening opportunities, and even a dog park to help you stay active. A sample of activities includes:  

  • Walking club – Daily walks at different outdoor locations using pedometers to measure steps. 
  • Yoga – At least once per week for gentle yoga, and once per week for mindful breathing. 
  • Fitness classes – At least two times per week using a variety of hand weights, resistance bands, and circuit-type exercises. 
  • Tai Chi – At least once per week with a live instructor. 
  • Non-traditional exercise – Dancing, gardening, etc. at least two times per week. 
  • Physical games and sports – Golf, putting, bowling, croquet, bocce, and ping pong available daily with organized events one to two times per week. 

Vibrant Brain We offer monthly calendars filled with classes, events, creative arts, and enrichment opportunities to help keep you engaged. A sample of activities includes: 

  • Visiting lecture series – Twice per month with topics such as cultural, historical, local interest, career-oriented, etc. 
  • Creative art series – At least one per week with a theme that runs 3-6 weeks, such as poetry writing, storytelling, painting, digital photography, etc. 
  • Learning series – At least three times per month with an emphasis on learning something new such as foreign language, sign language, technology, hobbies, etc. 
  • Games – At least one time per week and may include poker, bridge, Scrabble, etc. 
  • Mindfulness – A meditation class once per week and gratitude discussion group twice monthly. 
  • Church service – At least once a week through visits by local churches. 
  • Stress reduction – At least once per month class that offers deep breathing exercises, nature walks, music appreciation, spa-type treatments, etc. 

 Vibrant Connections We offer resident-led clubs, social events, outings and volunteer opportunities for any interest to help you stay connected. A sample of activities includes: 

  • Outings – At least twice per month and may include going to concerts, art shows, museum visits, theatre productions, etc. 
  • Intergenerational programming – At least once per month and focuses on building relationships between young adults/children and residents. 
  • New resident welcome party – At least once per month to formally introduce all new residents, and includes ice breakers, social games, etc. to encourage connection. 
  • Philanthropic program – At least once per month provide residents the opportunity to give back to the community, such as volunteering for a local food bank or pet shelter. 
  • Resident-led clubs – May include game clubs, professional clubs, common interests, etc. that meet at least monthly.  

What’s more, it’s all right outside your door (or transportation is provided offsite) and all in a supportive environment with home maintenance, housekeeping, and restaurant-style dining freeing your time to make it even easier to stay active, engaged, and connected. 

Learn more about Vitality Living’s Vivid Life programs. Or find a Vitality Living community near you today to schedule a tour. 



Dementia can take away so much, which is likely why the focus of traditional memory care is on that which your loved one can no longer do. This is important., however, as your loved one isn’t one-dimensional, and their care shouldn’t be either.  Learn about the benefits of an engagement-focused philosophy for memory care.

The Facts on Memory Loss

Many people assume dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are the same thing. In fact, Alzheimer’s is only one type of dementia; although it’s the most prevalent type.

Dementia is a category of diseases associated with memory loss and deterioration in other mental functions that affect daily life such as reasoning, communication, concentration and even visual perception. It’s caused by damage to brain cells and all types of dementia are progressive, meaning the symptoms get worse over time. 

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 5.8 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s. By 2050, this number is projected to be nearly 14 million. Alzheimer’s disease typically progresses in three stages: mild (early stage), moderate (middle stage), and severe (late stage). Early memory loss is mild, but in the later stages a person may forget loved ones, how to dress themselves, feed themselves or carry on a conversation.

Alzheimer’s affects each person differently. The timing and severity of progression vary. This underscores the importance of multi-dimensional and individually tailored memory care programming.

Defining Engagement-Focused Memory Care

Because of the differences in symptom progression, people benefit most from a memory care environment built especially for them. An engagement-focused philosophy such as our Vital Brain Program is founded on the belief that everyone has an innate ability to learn and succeed no matter the degree of cognitive impairment. That’s why we focus on what your loved one can do or wants to do, not what they have lost. They can live their best life regardless of how far the disease has progressed.

Key components of our Vital Brain Program include:

  • Daily opportunities to build cognitive strength
  • Learning and experiencing new things 
  • Practicing stress reduction 

Our daily schedule may have options like this:

 9:30 a.m.  Lecture – Art Deco Architecture Creative Art Storytelling
 Noon Mindful Meditation – Energize Spanish Class
 3 p.m. Virtual Art Digital Photography Class
 4 p.m. Podcast Club Summer Concert in the Park
 6:30 p.m. Using Facetime, Skype & Google Chat Mindful Meditation – Relaxation

In addition, we offer supportive care such as personal hygiene, reminders and medication assistance along with amenities such as private apartments, chef-prepared meals, transportation, housekeeping and maintenance services.

Our communities feature a neighborhood concept that’s secure and specifically designed for independence, engagement and success with lighting and colors chosen to be calming as well as access to fresh air and sunshine carefully incorporated.

Vital Brain Memory Care in Action

But perhaps the best way to show the benefits of an engagement-focused philosophy for memory care is to share some of our residents’ stories.

“One of the hardest things my family had to do was to bring our Mother to memory care. After seeing the nurses take care of her when she was sick and give her medicine to her daily. Watching the caregivers take care of her, talking with her, laughing with her even giving her nicknames. We now know it was the best thing for her.”
— Daughter of resident

 “Mom’s experience has been great, especially the friendly staff who know her well and get her involved. It’s been wonderful. She has lived there almost a year and is thriving. We appreciate the warmth, love and friendliness.”
— Son of resident

“My mom and dad are both here. Mom is in the memory care community. I feel grateful they are both in such a compassionate place. My father likes to watch the birds in the courtyard and he visits my mom every day. Mom loves music and gets to participate in the musical events; she claps her hands and sings. It is wonderful to see her so delighted.”
— Son of resident

For more information on memory care, check out our Family Decision Guide!

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