It can be difficult to choose the right memory care community for your loved one. There are many factors that need to be considered. We created a memory checklist to ensure that your loved one is happy, safe, and well taken care of.
Finding a Memory Care Facility
1. Know your loved ones’ priorities and needs
Finding the right memory care facility for your loved one starts with prioritizing their needs.
Do you think your parent needs assistance with daily activities (ADLs), such as dressing, bathing, and eating? It’s crucial to know how the staff at memory care will help your loved one throughout the day and night if they have a memory impairment.
These are the questions you should ask yourself:
- Do you notice any aggression in your loved one?
- Do my family members wander off, get lost, or look for exits often?
- Do you have concerns about mobility? Is it possible for my loved one to walk on their own or does he or she need a walker/wheelchair?
- Do I need 24-hour supervision for my loved one?
- Do my parents need assistance using the toilet?
- Do my relatives require ongoing medical attention, such as diabetes management or dialysis?
A memory care community might not be right for your loved one if they have severe health issues that require 24-hour supervised nursing care. According to the National Institute on Aging, a nursing home might be better suited to meet their needs.
Memory questions can be asked if your loved one requires skilled nursing or long-term support.
Are they more likely to need continuous medical care than shorter, weekly or daily visits?
- Do they usually stay in bed and are unable to move?
- Do they need a feeding tube or assistance to eat?
2. Check the amenities
Memory care communities provide a wide range of amenities. These include meals that can be tailored to specific diets, care coordination, and concierge services. To determine the most important features, take into account your loved one’s interests and needs when creating a memory care checklist.
Ask staff members or tour guides:
- What are the different types of accommodation available? There are many living arrangements, from shared apartments to memory care cottages.
- What are the daily meals and snacks?
- What are the meals like? Is it possible to escort your loved one to the meal if they need help?
- Are there any fitness and wellness programs?
3. What memory-enhancing and enrichment activities are available?
Ask staff members if they are familiar with caring for people with dementia.
One way to find out if a community has a current understanding of dementia care is to see how staff deal with difficult behaviors such as anger, resisting care, and aggression.
Ask caregivers how they can help someone with dementia who is experiencing distress. Also, ask how the community can prevent dementia behavior from happening.
Look at how long they have been there and evaluate whether they are willing to learn more about your loved one. Look for caregivers who treat your loved one like a person and not as a disease. You want someone who will help your loved one thrive, not survive.
Finding out the extent to which staff members know their residents is one of the easiest ways to learn more about their care and involvement. Ask the community how they use residents’ histories to better communicate with individuals and provide care.
These questions are used to evaluate staff interaction:
- What is the difference between staff at dementia care and those who live in assisted living?
- What dementia technique does the staff use?
- Are residents assigned to the same staff member every day?
- How can staff care for residents who display disruptive behavior or are physically aggressive?
Each state has its own requirements regarding training for memory care staff. Ask your community about the requirements for certification or training, as well as whether nurses and aides are provided with ongoing training. All staff members, including housekeepers and cooks, are required to receive training in dementia care.
These questions will help you find the right memory care facility for you.
- Do you have accreditation for your facility?
- Do any of your staff have certifications as dementia care managers (CDCMs).
- How often do employees receive training?
4. Find a memory care facility that places safety first
Families seeking dementia care are concerned about safety. Memory care communities often include a range of safety features and technology, including motion-sensor technology in apartments and secured windows and doors with keypads. Memory care protocols and safety measures are particularly important in order to prevent wandering, which can be dangerous for people with dementia or Alzheimer’s.
The following are the top safety features for memory care communities:
- 24 hour supervision
- Emergency alert systems
- Keypad entry
- Alarms at emergency exits
- For safe wandering, there are interior courtyards
5. Are the grounds and buildings secure?
Do you have emergency alert systems, enclosed courtyards, and safety locks for outdoor fences?
- Are the hallways color-coded so residents can navigate the facility easily?
- Are nurses on duty 24 hours a day? What are the hours of nurses if not?
- Is there a physician who can visit you? Is it easy to get medical help?
- What are the available medical services?
- What is the staff-to-resident ratio during the daytime? What about at night?
6. Understand memory plans
Memory care facilities often offer person-centered dementia care, which is based on the residents’ past experiences and abilities. The staff takes the time to build a relationship with senior citizens and their families, in addition to a memory care assessment. The care team creates a customized dementia care plan for each resident that addresses their unique needs and supports their health and well-being.
7. What therapies and activities do they offer?
Individualized therapies and treatments can help people with dementia or other health conditions improve their quality of life and slow down cognitive decline.
Ask about memory-enhancing therapies in the area and how they could help you or your loved one.
Ask if there are any therapies offered by the memory care facility.
Art therapy can stimulate the brain, improve communication and increase self-expression.
Music therapy can improve mood, increase overall well-being, and even generate memory retrieval.
Aromatherapy uses relaxing scents such as lavender to reduce anxiety and agitation while encouraging better sleep. Or it uses energizing scents such as citrus to stimulate activity.
Occupational therapy can be used to help those with dementia maintain their life skills, from dressing and eating alone to dressing.
8. Check the building layout for assistive design components
Memory care facilities are more homelike than other senior living options. Memory care has unique layouts, which include floor plans that are easy to navigate and other elements that help residents avoid wandering. Ask about the design and construction elements of a memory care facility when you visit it.
These are some additional features to look for when looking for a memory care facility:
Mobility assistance. Are residents able to use the building safely and comfortably in a wheelchair? Many communities offer sit-to-stand lifts and elevators as well as zero-threshold showers and other assistive features.
Prevention of falls. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls are the most common cause of fatal and non-fatal injury in older adults. To ensure stability, choose wider doors with handrails. Hard floors are important for seniors to maintain balance.
Therapy gardens. Memory care communities often have green spaces and healing gardens. According to the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, such spaces can reduce isolation, aggression, depression, and agitation.
How to find the right memory care facility for you
When choosing a memory care community, the cost is an important consideration. The cost of memory care depends on many factors, such as the location, amenities, and level of care. It is important to know what monthly fees include and what happens if your loved ones’ needs change.
These are the questions to ask when you’re assessing the cost of a memory care facility in Myrtle Beach.
- What is the monthly fee structure? How is the cost structure determined? Are services offered a la carte or at a flat rate?
- How is the memory care assessment performed prior to admission?
- What are the monthly fees? What services aren’t included in the monthly fee?
- Is there an additional fee, such as an entry or deposit?
- Are prices increasing annually? Is there a maximum price increase?
- Are there any specials or incentives for move-in?
Know the last questions you should ask a memory care facility and trust your instincts
It doesn’t matter how much information is gathered, it’s always a good idea for you to trust your instincts.
Ask yourself these questions after touring a memory care facility:
- Does your staff seem knowledgeable and caring?
- Are residents happy?
- Is the community safe?
- Do you resonate with their philosophy of care?
- If your loved one lived in this home, would you feel at ease and comfortable?
It doesn’t have to be difficult to find a memory care facility. Call Reflections Assisted Living at Carolina Forest now for more information.
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