Memory Care

Understanding Memory Care. What is Memory Care?

There are distinct differences between Memory Care and other types of senior communities. Although it would be easy to think that any senior community that has residents with dementia is a Memory Care community, nothing could be farther from the truth.


Memory Care communities, like Emerson House in Portland, OR, were created solely to serve the needs of people with Alzheimer’s and other medical dementias.

These needs may include supervision 24/7 by specially trained staff, specialized communication techniques and management of challenging behavior. People with Alzheimer’s and other medical dementias may also need cuing or hands on help with activities of daily living (ADLs), such as bathing, eating, transferring from bed to a chair or wheelchair, toileting or other personal care. Because many people with dementia wander, many Memory Care communities also provide a secure environment that allows a person to move freely within the community, but prevents them from leaving without supervision.

What do Memory Care communities do?

But Memory Care communities do more than address the mental and physical changes brought about by dementia. At Emerson House, we know that memory impairments can change how a person thinks, acts and feels. These changes often present special challenges for families. An ordinary conversation, for example, can be quite frustrating when your loved one has difficulty remembering from one moment to the next what has been said.

These challenges are equally frustrating for the person with dementia. A Memory Care community gives the person with dementia permission to be exactly who they are and allows them to receive the help they need without judgement or shame.

Some Things to Consider When Choosing a Memory Care Community:

  • Can they provide care for people at all stages of dementia? Will my love one have to move if his/her needs change?
  • Was the community built solely for memory care or was memory care added?
  • Do they have experience working with dementias other than Alzheimer’s, such as vascular or Lewy Bodies?
  • Are there separate residential areas for people at different stages of dementia?
  • Are the care plans person-centered?
  • What are the opportunities for family involvement?
  • How does the fee structure work? Is there one flat fee, or separate fees for housing and care?
  • Are the activities meaningful and appropriate to each resident’s interest and cognitive level?
  • What is the staff’s experience and training with dementia?

Why Emerson House?

The primary mission of Emerson House is to provide a place where residents may live fully with dignity. Our staff work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, following Emerson House’s philosophy to help each person be as independent as possible for a long as possible. Our four progressive levels of care and three residential environments ensure that each person gets the appropriate amount of assistance with their daily living and medical needs, and our person-centered approach to care means that all services are delivered in a manner that respects the individual’s relationships, life experiences, abilities and preferences.

This person-centered approach to care carries over to activities at Emerson House. Emerson House residents enjoy activities for body, mind and spirit including outings, walks around the neighborhood, exercise, games, discussions, gardening, art, music, pet visits and social events to name just a few. Because contributing to a community has been a part of so many residents’ lives, they are encouraged to participate in any way that they are able. This may be as simple as helping set the table for family style meals, folding laundry or working in the gardens.

Assessment Ensures the Right Fit

The best way to evaluate a Memory Care community is to make a visit.

Once you’ve seen Emerson House and want to move forward with moving in, we will schedule an in-person assessment of your loved one. Julia Arnold, our RN, will met with your loved one at your home (or wherever they are currently) to determine the best residential environment within our community and the appropriate level of care for your loved one’s needs.

See for yourself the Emerson House difference. Schedule a tour, or call today.

Call us at (503) 234-8585 for more information