Memory and Aging: Assisted Living

When a loved one with memory problems moves to an assisted living facility, there are many benefits because of the support that is offered. Not only are there a variety of activities but, if needed, there are reminders and encouragement to participate. Often it is helpful in the initial weeks for family and friends to offer more assistance so that the person is not overwhelmed with all the changes and new routines especially when there are more significant memory or adjustment issues. Visits can also be part of the memory fitness routine so that the older adult enjoys the benefits of a variety of activities and an ongoing connection with family and friends once they have settled in their new home.

Perhaps you can create a ritual. You might share a news or weather story or work a simple puzzle together.  It can be an opportunity to address some cards or sort the mail. Begin going through old pictures and organizing them, making sure to add details to go along with the pictures to help others who may look at it with the older adult.  Create an ongoing project together. Plan an outing.  Attend a program with your loved one. Call up a friend they have not seen in a long time and invite them to visit when you are there. Explore some of the suggestions in this Communication Connection Resource Kit for someone now in an assisted living residence.  If a loved one needs to move to a nursing home, take a look at some of the information about the  IDEAS for a Better Visit booklet which provides many practical suggestions.

Think about the activities you have enjoyed and what might be important to you if you were living in an assisted living with some limitations, perhaps hearing, vision, mobility or memory. Volunteer to assist at an activity or an event. Then think of what your loved one enjoyed doing and how you could make some or part of that happen, perhaps with some modification.

“The moments of happiness we enjoy take us by surprise.
It is not that we seize them, but that they seize us.”
Ashley Montagu

Quick Link to all blogs and Memory Fitness Toolkit

About Kathryn Kilpatrick

Kathryn Kilpatrick received her Master's degree in Speech-Language Pathology in 1968 from the University of Massachusetts. She has worked in a variety of settings, primarily in Ohio, including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and for decades in the area of home health care. Kathryn is president of Memory Fitness Matters ( and Communication Connection( She offers memory coaching for all ages and has a geriatric consulting practice. She is a national motivational speaker and author of more than 30 products to enhance communication and connection as well as a Memory Fitness Toolkit. Kathryn brings her decades of experience as a speech-language pathologist to all those wanting to enhance their quality of life, particularly when there are communication, memory and cognitive challenges. Her websites offer information on a wide variety of topics related to elder care concerns as well as memory fitness and successful aging.
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