If you are currently caring for an older parent or loved one, there may come a time when a diagnosis or worsening symptoms require the outside support of a memory care community. These types of communities are designed to provide a safe and comfortable environment for older adults with dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Narrowing down the best long-term care options for your loved one can be stressful and overwhelming. As you search for the right memory care community, here are some important questions you should ask.
Do staff members receive specialized training?
The best memory care communities employ caregivers who are specially trained to care for individuals with memory loss. When touring communities, ask the staff if they receive training on an ongoing basis to stay up to date with current practices in memory care. What is the staffing ratio during the day? Do the residents have “dedicated” staff who they see every day? The right memory care facility will prioritize assigning the same providers to care for your loved one to ensure consistency and reduce stress levels often experienced in residents with dementia.
What dining options are available?
During your tour, check out the dining area to view a typical menu, try a meal and ask about how dietary restrictions or preferences are handled. Observe how the servers and caregivers interact with residents. Do memory care residents eat at the same time every day to reduce confusion? What techniques are used to encourage healthy eating habits for residents while maintaining independence during mealtime?
What services and amenities are included?
Engaging the minds of seniors living with dementia not only improves their mood, but it can also stimulate cognitive function and slow the progression of memory loss. A memory care community should include a diverse calendar of activities, programs and therapies tailored to each resident’s specific needs. Memory care activities may include:
- Puzzles and board games
- Music therapy
- Sensory and tactile stimulation
- Pet visits
- Reminiscing and storytelling sessions
- Gardening and nature walks
- Painting and crafts
- Physical activities, like water aerobics or dancing
- Baking and cooking
- Going on outings to parks or community events
What safety measures do you have in place?
Safety is paramount for older adults with memory loss and dementia. Symptoms such as wandering, confusion and mobility all increase the risk of injury or illness. For peace of mind, be sure to ask for a list of safety features to ensure your loved one is supervised and safe around-the-clock.
Check for these top safety features:
- 24-hour supervised care and support
- Emergency call buttons
- Keypad entry
- Alarms on emergency exits to prevent wandering
- Easily navigated hallways
- Automatic lights in the bathrooms for enhanced mobility
- Low grab bars or handrails to improve stability
Schedule a tour.
The best way to select a memory care facility is to visit local communities for in-person tours. Speak to staff members and residents to gain a deeper understanding of the community’s approach to memory care. Consider your loved one’s priorities and compile a list of questions before you visit. Once you have all the answers and details, you will be ready to confidently decide which memory care community is right for your loved one.