Finding the right memory care facility for your loved one is not easy. Many questions come up when you begin to explore senior living options, and you will probably have no trouble finding at least one that suits your family’s needs.
However, there are a few important things to consider that can help determine whether or not this particular community or facility is the best choice for your loved one. Here are important factors to consider when looking for a memory care facility;
- Staff and training: Research the training that is required of every staff member. Make sure they participate in ongoing education about Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. The facility should be able to demonstrate competency in caring for people with memory issues;
- Security: You should never assume that a locked door is enough security. Try to find a facility with added security measures such as alarms on the doors, hallways, and a memory care unit. Your loved one should not be able to wander out of the memory care unit without a staff person finding them first;
- Activities: Memory care facilities provide round-the-clock supervision, but they do not provide day-to-day care. If your loved one has been independent their whole life, they may not be willing to accept the loss of privacy and independence due to memory issues. They need activities to keep them as active as their abilities allow. Make sure there are enough activities to keep your loved one engaged;
- Nutrition: When a person’s short-term memory starts to fade, it often takes away their ability to recognize when they are hungry or thirsty. Make sure there is decent food available for your family members at all times. If the facility promises three meals a day, ask them to have one of those meals delivered to your loved one so you can see what they get to eat daily. If your loved one has specific dietary requirements, make sure the facility can accommodate them;
- Staff turnover: When people work in memory care, a tough job comes with it. Many times, staff turnover is high, and finding good caregivers is difficult. The staff must have been at the facility long enough to understand your loved ones and their needs. They should be able to help you navigate some of the difficult stages that come with dementia.
- How long the community has been operating:The date of opening can indicate how well a memory care community performs on routine inspections. A facility with a continuous compliance record is more likely to have better-trained staff, updated medical equipment, and additional safety features.
- Flexible transition: A good memory care facility offers transitional care to help residents with Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia make the transition from independent living to assisted living. Many communities have both assisted living and memory care wings so that residents can move between the two as their level of need changes.
- Personal amenities: Choose a facility where residents can personalize their space. For instance, a studio or one-bedroom apartment with a private bathroom and a kitchenette may be more desirable than a shared room in another facility where residents must share bathrooms and common areas.
- One-on-one care:Some facilities offer assisted living for people with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia, while others offer skilled nursing or short-term rehab. If you’re looking for a true memory care facility, be sure it provides the highest level of care for each resident — which means one caregiver is assigned to no more than ten residents.
Finding a good memory care facility is central to ensuring that people dealing with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia receive proper care. It is therefore advisable for those seeking a professional memory care facility to consider the factors discussed in this article.