Moving into a memory care community is a big decision for anyone, but choosing a community for your loved one can feel incredibly overwhelming. With so many factors to consider, it’s hard to know where to begin.
Understanding the standards of memory care communities and what questions to ask can be a great help when making your decision.
What is Memory Care?
Memory care is a specialized form of long-term care for people with cognitive impairments. Residents usually have their own space they can decorate as they like. Memory care communities are secure to allow residents to walk around with confidence without the risk of getting lost.
Residents can participate in different activities, enjoy indoor and outdoor amenities, and have regular meals and housekeeping. They should feel at home in their community.
An important aspect of memory care is the personalized care plans for each resident based on their needs and preferences.
Is Memory Care Right for My Loved One?
Caregivers for people with memory loss conditions may be unable to manage their loved one’s needs, especially as these needs continue to advance and deepen. Caring for someone with a memory loss condition requires constant attention.
While there are options for in-home care, these options can be quite expensive. Some signs that may indicate your loved one could benefit from memory care include:
- Your loved one is often confused or disoriented
- Their confusion/disorientation endangers their wellbeing
- Their confusion/disorientation endangers others
- Their behavior has drastically changed & is difficult to manage
- Their health has started to decline (i.e. frequent incontinence)
- Your & your family’s health has been negatively affected
Must-Haves in Memory Care
Every memory care community should have staff with specialized training who are on-site 24/7. Beyond these minimum requirements, there are other factors to consider when choosing the right community for your loved one.
Beyond training, staff in the community should be empathetic and patient. How you feel about the staff may be one of the most important factors when making your decision. The people working in these communities would be with your loved one all the time.
Staff members would be helping your loved one with daily activities and comforting them on bad days. Trusting the staff is critical when choosing a memory care community.
Another important factor to consider is the layout of the community and its buildings. Many memory care communities use certain design elements to reduce stress levels for those with cognitive impairments.
Memory care communities with lots of natural lighting and intuitive layouts stand apart from the rest. When you visit a community, you may want to make a note of some design features, such as:
- Are hallways clear of clutter?
- Are the restrooms easy to find?
- Are the floor plans easy to navigate without getting lost?
- Are there “landmarks” to help residents recognize their surroundings?
You may also want to consider what programs and activities are available for residents. There are plenty of different therapies to help people with memory issues get active and engaged with their community. Certain activities can help promote connections between your loved one and their interests, hobbies, and environment.
Questions to Ask
When choosing a memory care community, there are some questions you can ask to help you decide what’s right for your loved one.
- What level of care is provided?
- What training do staff members have?
- How much is the monthly rate? What does this rate include?
- How is the community secured?
- What programs/activities are offered to residents?
- Are rooms private? How does the price vary for private vs. semi-private rooms?
- How often are housekeeping services provided?
- How much personal assistance should a resident expect?
- Are residents grouped by their cognitive abilities?
- How are medical emergencies handled?
- What meals are available? Are dietary requests accommodated?
- Is there an additional cost for special dietary requests?
- How many staff members are on-site during the day/night?
- How are special needs, like mobility issues or diabetic care, accommodated?
- How will staff communicate with the resident’s family?
- What is the discharge policy?
Asking questions like these can give you a clearer picture of what kind of life your loved one will have when they move into the community.
Taking the Next Step
Deciding to move your loved one into memory care can be overwhelming, but you don’t have to go through it alone. Contact our team to learn more about memory care support and ask any questions you may have.