Memory Care is about much more than providing residents with a safe, stable environment. It’s also about cultivating an environment and lifestyle that inspires memory retention and brings out the vibrant personalities within each individual person. It’s about caring for the individual holistically and creating a safe and familiar environment that tends to the needs of the person.
At St. Anthony’s, a foundational piece of creating this environment is spirituality. We believe that faith-based senior living is important for the culture of our community, both at a staff and resident level — And in memory care, it’s even more essential.
What is Faith-Based Memory Care?
Faith-based memory care does not mean we impose our beliefs or values on the residents. We understand that every person has a different background and unique preferences. For this reason, we aim to create a personalized, supportive environment for each resident. Our care staff works closely with residents and family members to create a flexible schedule for each individual person in memory care to best meet their needs.
Our team believes that faith-based activities and rituals can make a powerful difference for residents in memory care with a spiritual background! The goal of faith-based memory care is to provide access to spiritual practices that residents will find familiar and comforting in hopes of helping them stay connected to who they are and retain memories for a longer period of time.
How Spirituality Improves Memory Retention
The positive impact of spirituality on memory retention is not just a theory. It’s backed by actual research! Spiritual practices like attending religious services, praying, and valuing religion have been associated with lower national levels of Alzheimer’s and dementia. We believe this is because spiritual beliefs are deeply meaningful and foundational to those who hold them. That combined with the habitual nature of spiritual practices like praying the Rosary, attending Mass, and singing hymns, makes spirituality a beautifully transformative instrument for helping those with memory loss illnesses to remember who they are.
Faith-Based Memory Care at St. Anthony’s
Spirituality is woven into the fabric of everything we do at St. Anthony’s, from day-to-day activities and religious services to the love we provide each resident as a beloved child of God. When you or your loved one join the St. Anthony’s community, you become part of our family — and we love to care for our family physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
Beyond this mindset of love and tenderhearted care, here are some ways we put faith-based senior living into practice, specifically in memory care:
1. Participating in Mass
When your loved one moves into a memory care facility, one of the goals is to keep them in a secure environment with wander monitoring in place. To keep our memory care residents safe and in close community with each other, we invite them to attend Mass alongside their caregivers and assisted living friends through virtual Mass service in the dining room. This makes it possible for St. Anthony’s residents of all ability levels to stay connected with their spiritual roots while remaining safe in the comfort of the familiar senior living community they call home.
2. Communion with On-Site Priests
While virtual Mass may keep our residents safer and more comfortable, it is no replacement for having a religious leader present with them. St. Anthony’s has priests from our dedicated chapel who come tend to the spiritual needs of memory care residents as well. The priests aid in communion, confessions, and any other needs our residents may have. Our residents are also supported spiritually by the Sisters of St. Anne in residence and a healthcare Order from India.
3. Music Therapy and Hymns
Did you know that music is linked to improved memory as well? A person with Alzheimer’s who barely ever speaks has been known to suddenly burst into song, remembering every single word, if it’s a song they know and love!
For residents who have a lifetime of spiritual practice behind them, hymns and familiar songs of praise and worship can bring back memories long thought forgotten and help them stay tethered to who they are. In addition to the worship during virtual Mass, we do singalongs and music therapy sessions throughout the week, and many of the songs we use are beloved, well-known hymns!
4. Praying the Rosary
To help our memory care residents remain connected to their faith and core beliefs all week long, we pray the Rosary together midway through the week. This is another familiar ritual any residents with a Catholic background will find nostalgic and comforting as they speak the words of the Apostles’ Creed and scriptures that speak to the mysteries of Jesus Christ from memory. This recitation helps residents to maintain their connection with God and their spiritual foundations, even when memory fails.
Come Stay, Play, and Pray with Us!
While faith is not a key piece of every resident’s background, faith-based memory care gives our care staff a heart for loving each resident on a deeper level. Whether they are familiar patterns or new routines, we believe that weaving spiritual practices into the daily living of memory care can help residents of all backgrounds find comfort and meaning as we celebrate their life and honor their dignity.
If you would like to learn more about memory care at St. Anthony’s and the many ways our Catholic faith informs how we care for residents of all care needs, please contact us to schedule a tour! We can’t wait to meet you.