How Do Memory Care Communities Prioritize the Safety of Residents?

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How Memory Care Facilities Prioritize Resident Safety
Cedarhurst memory care resident reading a book.

Memory care communities are specialized environments focused on providing the support, care, and resources residents need to thrive. A large part of this is providing around-the-clock care from multiple dedicated caregivers in a safe and structured environment that residents may not have otherwise. 

To best help your loved one, it’s essential to understand how safety in memory care facilities is addressed and the safety features these communities offer that they may not receive if they stay in their current residence. This can help inform future decisions regarding their care.  

Safety in Memory Care Communities vs. Staying at Home

Safety is one of the top priorities for family members and team members alike. Here are the strategies communities implement to support residents’ security and safety in memory care communities.

Secure Environment

Memory care communities are specialized, structured environments for those who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Team members are accustomed to responding to the unique challenges and providing the support those living with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia require. 

Alzheimer’s disease or dementia can alter awareness and judgment, which can impact what someone assesses as being risky or safe. For example, someone with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia may automatically use an object that’s within reach. They may be able to use the object effectively, but they’re in the wrong kind of setting for it, which could potentially result in injury. Memory care facilities keep items such as stoves and sharp objects in areas where residents can’t access them.

Safety in memory care facilities also involves securing the community as much as possible with features that may include secure doors and a smaller environment. This helps the environment be more controlled, which can help prevent those with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia from becoming overwhelmed and overstimulated.

The secured doors are equipped with alarms and timers, and communities give all care team members pagers to carry at all times to respond to residents’ needs. At home, those with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia may not have an alarm system on the door, which can be a safety and security concern.

To help residents feel safe and secure even outside of the building, all courtyards are enclosed and have alarms. All of these safety features enable team members to monitor those who may be at risk of wandering.


One of the top benefits of safety in memory care facilities is the consistency of having more staff members to respond to and support residents. At home, there’s often only one caregiver. 

In memory care communities, the care team sees residents each day and can track trends and patterns in their behaviors. This enables the team to address situations in a timely and proactive manner based on known patterns and trends.

However, at home, there’s often only one caregiver to support someone with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, which can result in a reactive response after a complication or behavior has already occurred.


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Personalized Care Plans

Personalized care plans are an essential component of memory care. For a care plan to be effective, it must be based on the person—rather than being a generic care plan—because the way people react to situations is different.

An essential component that’s needed to build a care plan is the resident’s life story. It’s crucial to get this information early in the transition process because it can help the care team relate to the resident. Without this information, staff members may be just guessing what the resident needs.

At Cedarhurst, our Living TRUE℠ program helps us thoughtfully and lovingly honor residents’ wishes and needs and tailor every day’s plans to their preferences. We learn about residents by asking their loved ones to complete a life story about them. These life stories help staff members develop personal relationships with residents and know how to redirect them when they’re experiencing challenges. 

Safety Features and Emergency Response Systems

Typical safety measures that are taken within someone’s home include good lighting to prevent falls in those with low vision, bathroom safety measures such as grab bars and skid-proof rugs, reduced clutter, and secured cords.

These safety features are also available in memory care communities, but there are additional measures that are likely not available within the home. These include door-closing delays, a pager system, and lights and call systems.

Structured Activities

Having a routine is essential for someone living with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Keeping consistent timing for meals and activities helps residents know what to expect.

Familiarity is key for those with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia because these conditions impair their ability to plan, initiate, and complete activities. Creating an environment filled with familiar, structured activities helps those with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia feel calm and also enables them to retain a sense of independence. 

At Cedarhurst, we offer purpose-driven activities based on residents’ life stories. For example, if a resident previously worked in maintenance, this person’s activities may be focused on helping with tasks such as checking light switches.

Activities also take place around the same times each day so residents are familiar with the schedule of, for example, moving from breakfast to an activity. Throughout these activities, there are also plenty of opportunities for socialization, which may not always happen when living at home.

Staff Training

At Cedarhurst, our staff members are trained in and provide person-centered care. Managers and life enrichment teams receive certification through the National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners and are trained in an Alzheimer’s Association-recognized program focused on evidence-based dementia care practices. 

All team members receive ongoing training for dementia education and are also trained in specific residents’ needs so they know how to address that person’s unique patterns and behaviors.

Person-centered care helps team members build connections with residents and vice versa, resulting in fewer concerns and challenges. Families are encouraged to be involved in their loved one’s care to support a collaborative effort with the team members caring for their loved one.

Medication Management

At home, people with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia may not have someone overseeing their medications to make sure they’re taking them as directed. Additionally, people with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia may not have the language to talk about any adverse reactions.

In a memory care facility, people with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia have someone overseeing their medications so they’re taken as directed. Team members also monitor for adverse reactions.

Family Involvement

The importance of family, especially for those who have received a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, can’t be understated. Family involvement is an essential component of safety in memory care facilities. Families are the best resource for community staff members to find out what a resident was like before their Alzheimer’s disease or dementia diagnosis.

Family members can help staff members best understand how to build a personal relationship with and support their loved ones. Additionally, it’s comforting for residents to have family close by to visit them.

Be Your Best Self for Your Loved One

Being a caregiver is an incredibly important role—and you don’t have to go through it alone. To guide you through your important role, we’ve created our free Caregiver’s Guide to Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care. Download it today to learn about strategies for establishing a stable environment, steps to create an effective routine, and essential self-care tips for family caregivers.

Discover everyday care tips to support a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

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