Supporting Families of Memory Care Residents

For supporting families of memory care residents, witnessing a loved one’s memory decline can evoke a cascade of emotions, from sadness to frustration and even guilt. It’s a unique grief—one not often discussed but deeply felt. At Westmont of La Mesa, we have extensive experience with this journey and are here to offer insights and guidance.

The Unique Grief Surrounding Memory Care

The Ongoing Loss

Unlike other forms of grief where loss is finite, families with loved ones in memory care continuously experience ‘little losses.’ Every forgotten name or missed memory is another moment of mourning.

Emotional Complexity

Guilt, confusion, and sadness often intertwine. Some days are better than others, and emotional rollercoasters are common, especially when the individual has sporadic moments of clarity.

Adjusting to a New Normal

Accepting the new reality can be one of the most challenging aspects. Often, the person may physically be there, but the essence of who they were might be distant.

New Normal in seniors in memory care

Strategies to Navigate Grief Effectively

Navigating this unique grief demands strategies tailored to its nuances.

Seeking Professional Guidance

Support groups and counseling can offer a safe space to express emotions and receive guidance. They provide a community of individuals undergoing similar experiences.

Embrace the Current Moment

While grieving the past is natural, embracing the present can offer solace. This involves cherishing the moments of clarity and accepting the times of confusion.

Educate Yourself

Understanding the progression of memory-related illnesses can offer some solace. Knowledge equips families to set realistic expectations and to approach situations with patience.

The Role of Westmont of La Mesa in Supporting Families

Our experience positions us as a beacon of support for memory care families.

Personalized Care for Residents

Every individual’s memory journey is different. At Westmont of La Mesa, care plans are personalized to meet every resident’s unique needs, ensuring they receive the best care possible.

Regular Communication

We prioritize open and consistent communication with families, keeping them updated on their loved one’s well-being and any changes in their condition.

Offering Emotional Support

We understand the depth of emotion involved in this journey. Our staff is trained not only in medical care but in emotional support, always ready to offer a listening ear.

Emotional support in seniors

Recommendations for Families of Memory Care Residents

Based on our expertise, here are specific recommendations to ease the journey.

Create Memory Books

Creating a memory book with photos, letters, and mementos can serve as a bridge to past memories for the resident and offer comfort to the family.

Stay Involved

Even if your loved one doesn’t always recognize you, your presence can still offer comfort. Regular visits or calls can make a world of difference.

Prioritize Self-Care

Remember to care for yourself. Engage in activities that offer respite and rejuvenation, whether that’s reading, walking, or seeking therapy.

Embracing the Positive Moments

While the journey through memory care is undoubtedly filled with challenges, there are moments of joy, clarity, and connection that are equally important to cherish.

Celebrate Small Wins

Whether it’s a shared laugh, a fleeting moment of recognition, or simply a calm day, it’s essential to celebrate these moments. They can offer a much-needed respite from the challenging times.

Celebrate Small wins

Foster Connection through Music and Art

Research shows that music and art can evoke deep-seated memories in individuals with cognitive decline. Playing a loved one’s favorite song or engaging them in art can pave the way for meaningful connections.

Engage in Physical Activity Together

Simple activities like walks in the garden or gentle exercises can be therapeutic for both the resident and the family. It’s a way to stay connected and engaged in the present.

Setting Realistic Expectations

Adjusting expectations based on the evolving reality can alleviate some of the emotional burdens.

Understand the Nature of the Illness

Memory-related illnesses are progressive. Knowing what to expect can help families prepare and adapt as the condition evolves.

Celebrate the Person, Not Just the Memories

While memories are fading, the essence of the person remains. Embrace the individual for who they are now, cherishing the shared history but also creating new moments together.

Accept the Fluidity of Emotions

It’s okay to have good days and bad days. Grief isn’t linear, and there’s no right or wrong way to feel. Give yourself grace and patience during this journey.

Building a Supportive Community

Having a strong support system can make all the difference.

Connect with Other Families

Speaking with others going through a similar experience can be cathartic. Share stories, lend support, and find solace in shared experiences.

Engage in Community Events

Many memory care facilities, including Westmont of La Mesa, organize events and activities that cater to families and residents. Participating can offer moments of joy and connection.

Stay Updated with Memory Care Research

Staying informed about advancements in memory care can offer hope. New treatments, therapies, and approaches are continually being developed. Being aware of these can provide a ray of hope for the future.

Stay Updated in Research in memory care

Embracing Change and Moving Forward

Adapt to the New Reality

Change is a constant in the world of memory care. By embracing it, families can find a sense of peace and acceptance, even amidst the challenges.

Keep Memories Alive

While your loved one might forget, you can keep memories alive. Share stories, revisit old places, and ensure that their legacy lives on in your heart.

Seek Continuous Support

Remember, you’re not alone in this. Seek support when needed, lean on loved ones, and never hesitate to reach out for professional assistance.

Final Thoughts

The journey through memory care is one of love, resilience, patience, and understanding. At Westmont of La Mesa, we are dedicated to supporting families every step of the way.

If you ever find yourself in need of guidance, advice, or just someone to talk to, remember that our doors are always open. 

Your family is our family, and we’re here to navigate this journey together. For more information, assistance, or simply to chat, call us at 619-369-9700.


Creating a Comfortable Environment: Memory Care Facility Design Principles

The design of a memory care facility plays a pivotal role in the well-being of its residents. A well-designed facility does not merely offer aesthetics. Still, it intricately interweaves the elements of safety, comfort, and therapeutic interventions.

The environment we reside in dramatically affects our emotional and cognitive well-being. This influence is profound for those living with memory-related conditions, dictating their ability to recall, connect, and feel at ease.

Westmont of Encinitas, located in beautiful Encinitas, CA, understands the importance of this design nexus. Our experts have taken care to ensure that every design element within the facility aids in providing a nurturing environment for our residents.

Key Principles of Memory Care Facility Design

While there are various components to consider when designing a memory care facility, certain principles stand out in terms of importance and effectiveness. Here, we highlight the most vital of them.

Safety First: One of the cornerstones of memory care facility design is ensuring safety. Residents should be able to move freely without risks. This means eliminating sharp edges, securing furniture, and installing appropriate handrails.

Natural Lighting: Ample natural lighting not only uplifts the mood but can help regulate the circadian rhythms of residents, which is essential in managing sleep disorders common in memory care patients.

Senior Homes

Therapeutic Use of Colors

Colors have a psychological impact on our emotions. For residents with memory-related challenges, certain colors can stimulate memory recall, while others can have a calming effect.

Soft and neutral colors, for example, can provide a sense of calm and comfort. Brighter colors might be used in moderation, to highlight specific areas or activities.

At Westmont of Encinitas, we’ve meticulously chosen our color palette to resonate with our residents, ensuring they feel comfortable, stimulated, and, most importantly, at home.

Personalization is Key

Every individual is unique, and their memories and experiences vary. A one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t suffice when it comes to memory care.

Allowing residents to personalize their living spaces with familiar items can be a potent tool for memory recall and emotional comfort. It can also make the transition to a new environment smoother.

By offering personalization options, Westmont of Encinitas assures that each resident’s space feels like a ‘home,’ evoking warmth and familiarity.

The Role of Nature

The therapeutic benefits of nature are undeniable. Incorporating nature into the design, whether through gardens, plants, or even nature-themed artwork, can have a soothing effect.

Gardens or outdoor spaces must be designed with safety in mind, ensuring residents can enjoy nature without any risks.

Westmont of Encinitas boasts beautifully landscaped gardens, allowing our residents to enjoy the outdoors, reminiscing memories, or simply feeling the therapeutic effects of nature.

Role of nature in memory care

Community Spaces for Socialization

Socialization plays a crucial role in mental health. Memory care facilities should offer common areas that encourage interactions.

These areas should be designed comfortably, with adequate seating and spaces that cater to group activities and private conversations alike.

Our facility ensures that residents have plenty of opportunities to engage with each other, fostering a sense of community and belonging.

Senior community

Sensory Stimulation Areas

Sensory stimulation is therapeutic, especially for those with memory challenges. Designing areas dedicated to stimulating the five senses can be beneficial.

This could include rooms with music, textured walls for touch, aromatic stations for smell, and visual arts for sight.

Westmont of Encinitas recognizes the value of sensory stimulation, incorporating areas that cater to this need, ensuring our residents are always engaged and comforted.

Flexibility in Design

As research progresses and we learn more about memory care, the needs, and best practices evolve. Therefore, the design should be flexible, allowing for modifications and improvements.

Having a design that can adapt ensures the facility remains at the forefront of providing the best care for its residents.

We pride ourselves on our adaptability, always seeking ways to enhance our residents’ lives through innovative design elements.

Memory Care Designs

Why Design Details Matter in Memory Care

Navigational Simplicity

An often-overlooked element in the design of memory care facilities is the ease of navigation. Corridors and pathways should be clear, uncomplicated, and linear. Confusing layouts can lead to agitation and stress for residents.

Simple cues, like distinct artwork or colors, can assist in wayfinding, enabling residents to move confidently within the facility.

Westmont of Encinitas emphasizes navigational simplicity, allowing our residents to explore their environment with a sense of independence and self-assurance.

Consistency is Crucial

While introducing changes and new stimuli can be beneficial, consistency in the living environment is vital for individuals with memory-related challenges. Regular changes to furniture layout or room settings can be disorienting.

Establishing consistent physical surroundings offers residents a sense of stability, ensuring they can navigate their daily routines without unnecessary disruptions.

Our facility adheres strictly to this principle, making sure that any necessary changes are introduced gradually and with the utmost care for our residents’ well-being.

Access to Technology

The role of technology in memory care cannot be understated. Innovations such as digital memory aids, mood-enhancing light therapies, and specialized apps can provide cognitive support and stimulation.

While integrating technology, it’s essential to ensure it remains user-friendly and not become a source of frustration for the elderly.

Westmont of Encinitas incorporates the latest technology tailored for memory care, ensuring our residents receive modern care complemented by technological advancements.

Senior Access in technology

Sound Management

The acoustic environment plays a pivotal role in creating comfort. Excessive noise can lead to overstimulation, which may result in anxiety or agitation for those with memory challenges.

Using sound-absorbing materials, creating quiet zones, and ensuring equipment operates silently are just a few ways to manage noise levels effectively.

Recognizing the importance of a tranquil environment, Westmont of Encinitas has employed sound management strategies throughout our facility, providing our residents with peaceful surroundings.

Incorporating Resident Feedback

Engaging with residents and gathering their feedback is invaluable. Their firsthand experience can shed light on areas for improvement, ensuring the facility’s design remains aligned with their needs.

Regular feedback sessions, surveys, or simple conversations can offer insights that might be absent to facility managers or designers.

At Westmont of Encinitas, we prioritize the voice of our residents, believing that their feedback is integral to our continuous improvement.

The Path Forward

As our understanding of memory care deepens, the role of facility design becomes even more crucial. By paying attention to every detail, from color choices to navigational aids, we can craft an environment that truly supports the unique needs of those with memory challenges.

Memory care facility design is not just about the present; it’s also about adapting and evolving to meet future challenges. Facilities that prioritize adaptability, resident feedback, and stay updated with the latest research and technology will undoubtedly lead the way.

For those seeking a memory care facility that understands and upholds these design principles, Westmont of Encinitas is here to guide and support you. With expertise and compassion, we’re dedicated to ensuring your loved ones feel truly at home. 

If you have any questions or need assistance, please call us at 760-452-6037. We’re more than happy to help.


Daily Activities in Memory Care: Boosting Cognitive Health at Westmont at San Miguel Ranch

Located in the heart of Chula Vista, CA, Westmont at San Miguel Ranch understands the significance of daily activities in memory care. Not just any activities but those specifically curated to benefit cognitive health. 

We pride ourselves on our expertise in this field, and this guide aims to shed light on the importance of these activities and how they play a role in the overall well-being of those in memory care.

Why are Daily Activities Vital for Those in Memory Care?

Creating a Sense of Purpose

Engaging in daily activities gives residents a sense of purpose. It gives them something to look forward to, something to accomplish, and ultimately, a sense of achievement at the end of the day.

Routine and Familiarity

Routine is comforting, especially for those with memory impairments. Daily activities help establish a predictable pattern, which in turn fosters a feeling of security and lessens anxiety.

Social Interaction and Connection

Activities, especially group ones, promote social interactions. This combats loneliness and helps residents form meaningful connections with others, which are crucial for emotional well-being.

Seniors Cognitive Activities

Activities that Promote Cognitive Health

Here at Westmont at San Miguel Ranch, we ensure that our daily activities are not just entertaining but are designed with cognitive health in mind. Let’s delve into some of these activities and understand their benefits.

Music and Memory

Music has been shown to evoke deep emotional responses. For those in memory care, music can trigger memories and even improve mood. Our music sessions encourage residents to sing along, tap their feet, or even dance, offering both cognitive and physical benefits.

Art and Craft Sessions

Creating art, whether it’s painting, crafting, or sculpting, stimulates the brain in unique ways. These sessions foster creativity, improve hand-eye coordination, and even serve as a form of expression for residents.

Gardening Activities

The act of nurturing plants and watching them grow can be incredibly therapeutic. Gardening also offers sensory stimulation – from the feel of the soil to the scent of the flowers.

The Science Behind the Activities

Neuroplasticity and Stimulation

Engaging in varied activities challenges the brain, promoting neuroplasticity – the brain’s ability to form and reorganize synaptic connections. By regularly participating in cognitive-stimulating activities, the brain gets a workout, helping to maintain and even improve its function.

Physical Activity and Brain Health

There’s ample evidence showing the connection between physical activity and brain health. Even light activities, such as walking or gentle exercises, increase blood flow to the brain and can enhance cognitive function.

Emotional Well-being and Cognition

Emotional well-being directly impacts cognitive health. Activities that elicit joy, reduce stress, or provide a sense of accomplishment play a role in maintaining cognitive function.

Senior watching movies

Tailoring Activities to Individual Needs

Every individual is unique, and so are their cognitive health needs. At Westmont at San Miguel Ranch, we recognize this and strive to tailor our daily activities to meet the diverse needs of our residents.

Personalized Activity Plans

By understanding the personal history, preferences, and strengths of our residents, we design activity plans that resonate with them. This personal touch ensures they are more engaged and receive the maximum cognitive benefits.

Involving Family in Activity Planning

Families have a wealth of knowledge about their loved ones. Involving them in the planning process helps us craft activities that are truly meaningful and beneficial.

Adjusting Activities Over Time

As residents progress in their journey, their needs might change. We continually assess and adjust our activities to ensure they remain effective and engaging.

Measuring the Impact of Activities on Cognitive Health

Understanding the effectiveness of our activities is essential. That’s why, at Westmont, we believe in measuring the impact of our daily activities on cognitive health.

Regular Cognitive Assessments

With periodic assessments, we gauge the cognitive function of our residents. These insights help us refine our activity offerings and ensure we’re on the right track.

Feedback from Residents and Families

Feedback is invaluable. By listening to our residents and their families, we gain insights into what’s working, what’s not, and where there might be room for improvement.

Cognitive Activities

Continuous Training for Our Staff

Our staff undergo regular training to stay updated with the latest research in memory care. This ensures they’re equipped with the knowledge to guide and support our residents effectively.

Making the Most of Every Day

Life in memory care at Westmont at San Miguel Ranch isn’t just about managing symptoms – it’s about thriving. We strive to make every day meaningful for our residents.

Celebrating Small Achievements

Every achievement, no matter how small, is celebrated here. This boosts the self-esteem of our residents and fosters a positive atmosphere.

Senior Celebrating

Emphasizing Physical, Emotional, and Cognitive Balance

We believe in a holistic approach. Along with cognitive-stimulating activities, we emphasize physical well-being and emotional support to ensure a well-rounded care experience.

Encouraging Independence

While we’re always here to support, we encourage our residents to be as independent as possible. This promotes self-confidence and a sense of autonomy, which are crucial for overall well-being.


At Westmont at San Miguel Ranch in Chula Vista, CA, we’re not just providing memory care – we’re setting the standard. Our understanding of the profound impact daily activities have on cognitive health drives our mission. 

With a blend of science, compassion, and expertise, we ensure our residents lead fulfilling lives brimming with activities that uplift, stimulate, and nurture.

Ready to Explore Our Memory Care Offerings?

If you or your loved one needs memory care that’s a cut above the rest, look no further. We invite you to explore the difference between Westmont and San Miguel Ranch. 

For more details or to schedule a visit, please reach out to us at 619-271-4385. We’re here to help, offering expertise and care that stands out.



Nature Up-Close

Residents at Oceanview Senior Living Eat Quail Eggs that they watched incubate and hatch at a local Quail Farm

Last week, residents at Oceanview Senior Living in Newport, Oregon enjoyed deviled Quail eggs that actually started as an unusual activity months ago thanks to Lifestyle Director Stacey Hall who has her own Quail Farm. Hall said, “I created a YouTube page for them to watch the incubation and hatching process from our activity room.” Quail spend most of their lives in a relatively small area, in small groups in a single covey and generally forage twice a day, in early morning and mid-to-late afternoon. Hall donated 10 dozen eggs to the Westmont Living community awhile back where residents steamed and pickled the eggs. According to Hall, “I haven’t had so much laughter and chatter in a group in ages.” Everyone tried the eggs.  “It was a fun activity, they taste great!” said Oceanview resident Karen T.. Another resident Ed B. said, “I really enjoyed them, but they are hard to peel.” According to Hall, “Quail eggs are the richer cousin to chicken eggs, with a higher yolk-to-white ratio it’s a decadent little egg that works well with everything from microgreens to a specialty cheese-filled omelet. Now its July and the residents continue to enjoy the eggs, this time though, they are Deviled Eggs.”

Senior Watch — Online Theft Scamming Older Americans

A crime statistic that is affecting more seniors today is that of online scams. Studies show only 1 in 20 seniors who are scammed report this crime or are made whole. They don’t report this because they are embarrassed, according to Scott Pierrello, Deputy District Attorney Senior Task Force in San Diego. Seniors are the group that stands to lose the most as they are more unsuspecting and may not be as tech-savvy as those in their 30s-50s. Seniors who are home alone are often innocent victims of such scams where criminals portray themselves as someone the senior can trust such as a grandson, or a tech support representative from Microsoft, or even disguised as someone from Best Buy Geek Squad.

If you want to protect yourself, experts say DON’T RESPOND if someone calls, emails, or texts you where they are asking for sensitive information, try to make you act urgently, or create fear that if you don’t act something terrible will happen. Hang up, don’t respond. Tell someone who you are close to so that they can check to see if there is an active scam. Sometimes just googling “Microsoft Tech Scam” can give you answers. Always double-check and it’s okay to be paranoid if something doesn’t seem right. Trust your instincts.

In San Diego County you can find out or report more information:

To watch the recent 60 Minutes report on Senior Scams:

Charles Dever is the Senior Citizen of the Year 2023 in Santa Barbara County

Mariposa of Ellwood Shores was recognized during Older Americans Month

The 107-yr-old Charles Dever a resident of Mariposa of Ellwood Shores, Westmont Living Community was recognized as Santa Barbara County’s Senior Citizen of the Year during the Older Americans Month celebration hosted by the Central Coast Commission For Senior Citizens at the end of May. This year awards were announced on ZOOM in a virtual celebration. Lt. Dever, one of the few surviving WWII veterans, celebrated his 106th birthday honored by the City of Goleta with a proclamation and joining of a group of seniors who went on a field trip hosted by Dream Flights, a non-profit established and dedicated to honoring seniors and the United States military veterans.

According to Gary Suter, Executive Director, Central Coast Commission For Senior Citizens, “Charles Dever commitment to making a positive impact in the lives of others is truly inspiring. Through his tireless efforts, he has demonstrated that age is no barrier to achieving greatness and making a difference. His compassion, wisdom, and selflessness have touched the hearts of many, and his contributions have undoubtedly left an indelible mark on our community.

According to Mark Cortez, Executive Director at Mariposa at Ellwood Shores, “We were all tremendously excited about the honor given to Charles Dever. This prestigious recognition is a testament to his remarkable contributions, dedication, and exemplary service to our community.”

California Bloomin’ Beauties!

As spring paints the landscape in vibrant hues, California bursts into a breathtaking showcase of colorful blooms. From majestic wildflowers to delicate blossoms, the Golden State’s diverse flora comes alive during this enchanting season. For seniors residing at our Westmont Living communities, we embarked on outings to witness California’s spring blooms. It was an invigorating and enriching experience. These outings offer not only a chance to marvel at nature’s beauty but also an opportunity to connect with fellow residents and create lasting memories.

Engaging Spring Activities for Seniors!

Seniors can enjoy a variety of activities during the spring season! Let’s discover how we can embrace this season of growth, rejuvenation, and vitality while creating lasting memories and nurturing well-being.

  1.  Walking or Hiking: Spring is a great time to get outside and enjoy nature. Take a leisurely stroll in a local park, or explore nearby hiking trails. Just be sure to wear comfortable shoes and dress appropriately for the weather.
  2. Gardening: Spring is the perfect time to start a garden or tend to an existing one. Watching flowers, herbs, and/or veggies grow can provide a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.
  3. Bird Watching: Many birds return from their winter migrations during the spring season. Enjoy watching and identifying different bird species at local parks or nature reserves.
  4. Volunteering: Use extra time to volunteer in your local community. Help with events at a local museum, library or animal shelter or volunteer to help out with the local park or gardening club.
  5. Cooking and Baking: Springtime is a great opportunity to try out new recipes or cook up some old favorites.
  6. Painting or Drawing: Painting or Drawing: Springtime can be an inspiration for creativity. Express creativity through the beauty of the season.
  7. Photography: Spring is also a great time for photography. Explore and capture the beauty of the season and its natural beauty.

Hug a Nurse – It’s National Nurses Week

National Nurses Week started in 1954 by the American Nurses Association, which was started to celebrate nurses who work in all different settings from schools to hospitals to traveling around the world in order to provide care. Sixty-nine years later we are still honoring those who choose to care for others.

“Nurses Week means that it’s a time when all nurses are recognized and honored for their dedication to the health and wellness of people. Nursing is being selfless, they make sure that their patients, or residents are the priority while ensuring they are treated with kindness, compassion, and dignity,” said Theresa Egurrola, R.N. and regional care director for Westmont Living communities in Central California.

The 2023 Nurses Week theme “Nurses Make a Difference: Anytime, Anywhere – Always” honors the unwavering commitment of DHA nurses to their patients and the value they provide to the unified healthcare team in accomplishing their medical readiness mission.

If you see a nurse this week, take a moment to thank them for their service. And, if they are agreeable…give them a hug!

Sales Office Opens for Newest Senior Living Community in Carmel Valley

Westmont Living is excited to announce that Westmont of Carmel Valley’s sales office is now open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. by appointment. The brand-new senior living community will offer Independent Living, Assisted Living, and Memory Care apartment homes and Casita duplexes. All residences can be reserved now for an anticipated move-in at the end of the year. Call us today to learn more about our Founder’s Club and how to receive exclusive benefits. The community grand opening is anticipated to take place early next year. Our address is 5720 Old Carmel Valley Road, San Diego, CA 92130. Call 858-465-7356 or email For more info. visit

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