Deciding to place your loved one in a memory care community isn’t an easy choice to make. You want to preserve their quality of life and dignity while also offering them the help and support they need.
As you start exploring your memory care options, there are a few questions to ask both yourself and the facility you’re considering.
Understanding the level of care your family member needs and what services the facility offers are two important first steps.
Let us help guide you in the decision-making process.
Continue reading for seven important questions to ask when choosing the best memory care community for your aging loved one.
1. What Type of Training Does the Staff Have?
Staff qualifications and training top the list of important questions to ask when considering memory care. Your loved one will be a resident of the facility, which means this will be their new home.
They’ll spend most of their time with the community’s staff members. You want to make sure these individuals are properly trained in caring for patients with memory loss.
Ask what certifications they have and if they receive ongoing training. Ask the administration about staff turnover and if you can speak with employees about their experiences there.
You should also inquire about the staff-to-patient ratio. An important feature of memory care is that patients receive one-on-one attention.
Staff members should be readily available for welfare checks, support, and assistance whenever needed.
2. What Medical Services Are Offered?
In addition to compassionate and highly-trained staff members, the memory care facility you choose should offer certain medical services.
These vary from one facility to the next but many of your loved one’s issue can be diagnosed or treated on-site using the following accommodations:
Some memory care communities also have RNs (registered nurses) or LPNs (licensed practical nurses) on staff. These nurses can help with diagnosing and treating medical conditions and work closely with the community’s lead physician.
If your loved one has underlying medical conditions in addition to dementia, this is an important question to ask when considering memory care options.
3. Are Rooms Private or Semi-Private?
When it comes to preserving your loved one’s dignity and quality of life, having a private room might be a deciding factor.
Some residents enjoy their privacy and aren’t willing to share their room, while others welcome the opportunity for socialization.
Ask the memory care community to see their private and non-private rooms so you can compare the two. You may also want to ask about pricing.
In most cases, private rooms are more expensive than shared spaces.
4. What Are Your Security Measures?
Safety is a major concern for dementia patients. Memory loss leads to confusion and disorientation as well as anger and aggression.
When navigating your memory care options, you need to consider the safety of your loved one, as well as other residents and staff members.
Find out how the community secures the exits and entrances. Ask how they secure any outdoor gardens and grounds.
You want your loved one to safely explore the grounds without feeling confined, but also want to ensure they can’t wander off or harm themselves.
How is the facility laid out? Is it easy to navigate? Are the rooms and designated areas clearly marked?
Find out what measures the community takes to guarantee your family member can explore the community safely.
5. What Activities Are Offered?
Maintaining both cognitive function and dignity is important for memory care patients. When exploring your memory care options, ask what amenities, therapies, and activities the community offers.
Most assisted living communities offer a wide range of activities from exercise groups and book clubs to trips, outings, and other social events. In the right atmosphere, these activities can be very beneficial for your loved one.
Those suffering from memory loss need extra support and cognitive stimulation. Ask if they offer any therapy including physical, art, music, and reminiscence.
These activities aren’t just fun for patients but they’re also highly beneficial.
Art and music therapy are said to slow down cognitive decline. Reminiscence therapy uses the five senses to help dementia patients recall specific people, places, and memories.
These activities are essential for keeping your family member mentally sharp and alert.
6. How Are Residents Grouped?
Not all memory care patients require the same level of care. If your loved one was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia, they may only need mild intervention at this point.
Some memory loss patients act out in anger and aggression while others are more prone to wandering.
Ask the memory care community how they group residents together. Are they allowed to freely mingle or forced to remain in a specific wing of the building?
You may also want to ask about how residents are “bridged” from early-stage dementia care to later stages. You want this process to be as seamless as possible for your loved one.
7. What is the Discharge Policy?
There may come a time when your loved one can no longer stay at the memory care community you chose. Whether they need additional services, are relocating, or are asked to leave, you’ll need to go through a discharge process.
Ask the community what their discharge policy is. Do they charge you a specific amount? Do you need to give them advanced notice and if so, how much?
In some cases, residents are asked to leave based on behavioral incidents. Find out if they have a “three-strike” rule and what your rights are.
Some facilities offer support and resources to families following discharge.
Find the Right Memory Care Facility Today
If you or your loved one are suffering from memory loss, it’s time to consider your memory care options. Not all facilities are created equal.
Some offer ample activities, therapies, and resources alongside medical services, while others offer minimal support. Be sure to ask these important questions before making any final decisions.
Contact us today to learn more about our comprehensive facilities and how we help residents maintain their health, happiness, and quality of life.