Senior Living Engagement Programs: Family Support in Memory Care Communities


question-symbol What programs are available to help me engage with my loved one when I visit? 

Why it matters: Communities should offer a variety of programs to foster engagement between families and a loved one. It doesn’t have to be elaborate —even the simplest materials and activities can build deeper connections and more successful family visits.

Meaningful Interaction

When visiting a Benchmark memory care community, for instance, families will find Engagement Boxes to help interact with your loved one on a meaningful level. The boxes may be filled with pictures, conversation topics, themed topics and other artifacts that have personal meaning for your loved one. By going through the box together, families can find ways to truly connect, which can in turn reduce any anxiety or depression your loved one may be experiencing. Find out if your loved one’s community offers similar resources to foster family engagement.


Family Support Groups and Resources

compass-300x300Memory care communities offer support groups and educational programs to assist you in navigating the disease process. In any senior living community, you should receive an activity calendar each month, as well as flyers for every major event and holiday. Look for variety and innovation in daily programs, advises Michelle Tristani, Benchmark’s corporate director of memory care.

“I think the best way to visit is by coming in and doing a program with us because it allows that easy engagement,” she says.You don’t have to sit down with mom and say, ‘How was lunch?’ ‘Well, I didn’t eat lunch.’ ‘How was breakfast?’ ‘Oh, I didn’t eat breakfast either.’”

Those conversations can be upsetting—until you discover that your mom actually did eat breakfast and lunch, but simply doesn’t remember, or can’t find the words to express herself. By actively participating in programs with your loved one, you’ll have a much better sense of how she’s doing and how you can continue to support her.

When a loved one is in memory care, both of you need some extra support. Find out what tools and programs the community offers to help families connect in a meaningful way.

Stay tuned for more tips and insights at Open Conversations
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Content for Open Conversations was developed in partnership with Caregiving Advice.

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