How Can I Help My Loved One with Dementia to Be More Social in Assisted Living?

Jan 16, 2023 | Caregivers

“My mother just moved into assisted living, and she isn’t very social. She has moderate to severe dementia, and she will not intermingle with others. How can I help her be more social in assisted living?”

A facility and a team that is completely devoted to memory care, such as we are, is much better for socialization compared to traditional assisted living units which typically have only one wing or area dedicated to memory care. Sundara Memory Care is specifically designed to lessen confusion and agitation and help our residents maintain routines. We provide plentiful opportunities for socialization and recreation, which reduces anxiety, promotes familiarity, and supports a sense of comfort. Relationships in this environment are more cohesive and in-depth compared to much larger communities, and science backs this up.

Why Smaller Environments are More Beneficial for Dementia Care

Research demonstrates that the living environment has a substantial influence on the stress level of individuals who live with dementia.

A book excerpt from “The Physical Environment for People with Dementia,” published in the National Library of Medicine, states that:

“Small units with a noninstitutional environment gave less behavioral challenges among people with dementia,” and, “Less combined multiuse spaces, greater variation, and less crowding resulted in less cognitive stress, depression and social isolation amongst Alzheimer’s patients.”

In the article, “Behavior and Personality Changes,” the Weill Institute for Neurosciences, Memory and Aging Center, reports:

“They (dementia patients) may become angry and frustrated because they cannot follow what is going on. Noise, conversation, crowds, and activity may be over-stimulating and too difficult to process or understand. Also, many people with dementia rely on others for emotional cues. For example, if you are anxious and worried, many people with dementia will mirror your emotions and become anxious and worried.”

Weill Institute speaks of creating a daily routine that is structured and predictable for people with dementia, and routine “is an important source of comfort.” In our words, structure and predictability are more difficult to control in a crowded environment, and this type of busy and noisy environment is not conducive to relaxation, and it is stressful, which diminishes socialization and relationships.

Small-sized units have been found to “positively impact resident well-being behavior, functioning, and activity engagement” in people that live with dementia, per an abstract published in The Gerontologist. When living in smaller units, people with dementia displayed “higher scores on a variety of quality of life domains, including privacy, autonomy, relationships and meaningful activities, as well as greater satisfaction and emotional well-being.” Studies reported that residents in small-scale care had “significantly less decline in cognitive function compared to residents in larger care homes.” Residents that were interviewed also expressed that small-scale environments support a sense of self and social connections with others.

Why Stress Reduction is Important with Dementia

The Alzheimer’s Association recognizes social withdrawal as a symptom of stress in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. To diminish stress and improve quality of life, and reduce physical and mental health decline, the association recommends changing the environment or finding a place where the person can relax and regroup.

To reduce stress – to help your loved one feel comfortable and more apt to socialize, consider moving your loved one to memory care, specifically a smaller environment designed concisely for dementia care and one that is supportive of social relationships. Here at Sundara Memory Care, we know that social sharing is vital for your loved one with dementia. We believe that caring is what matters. Our residents are often seen in community areas surrounded by our tuned-in professional staff who personally know each individual and attend to their needs. They go beyond having just a simple association with each resident. Instead, they know your loved one’s likes, dislikes, and favorites, and they ensure each resident feels a sense of personal attention.

Memory Care with Peace of Mind

At Sundara Senior Living, our dedication is to provide a personal non-isolating level of care.

We strive to ensure comfort and care for your loved one while offering a true peace of mind for both your loved one and you – the family.

Visit us online today and arrange a tour, come meet the Sundara Family!