There is no standard answer for “what is the right memory care facility” when choosing a memory care community for a loved one. Choosing the right memory care is a major step for families and one of the most difficult decisions they may ever make. It’s important for families to remember that moving a loved one to a community doesn’t mean they are no longer involved in care. Quite the opposite, families are making sure their loved ones receive the care they need – preventing an unnecessary decline in mental and physical health.
After recognizing a home environment is no longer safe, the first step is to find a community where the lifestyle and care can effectively meet their loved one’s needs. While many memory care options exist, many families today are choosing communities that offer a full continuum of care and service. The greatest benefit of this type of community is that residents may easily move from one level of care to another based on their needs, but remain in the security of comfortable and known surroundings which is vitally important for those with Alzheimer’s disease.
Unfortunately there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease which is why families must also consider end-of-life care when seeking the right community for a loved one. Selecting a community or program that provides quality hospice care ensures access to a truly comprehensive memory care program.
In evaluating communities, the philosophy, the levels of available care, the preferred location, and the family budget all need to be considered. Most experts agree the best memory care communities offer a person-centered approach to care that emphasizes personal strengths and embraces individuality. This person-centered care should be provided by a team specially trained in caring for the memory-challenged and who are dedicated to ensuring quality of life is maintained for as long as possible.
When selecting a facility, know what questions to ask and what services to expect to ensure the best choice is made:
- Do residents have adequate privacy?
- Is the furniture well-maintained?
- Are all exterior doors locked or alarmed to ensure safety?
- Is there an easily accessible outdoor area that is enclosed to prevent wandering away?
- What licensure do key members of the care team possess?
- Do caregivers have specialized training in Alzheimer’s or dementia? Have they been screened with state/national background checks?
- Do the caregivers interact with residents in a comforting, professional manner, maintaining their dignity and respect?
- Are residents actively engaged in activities that are appropriate and/or interesting?
- Do the residents look clean and well cared for?
- Do residents appear to have a level of dementia consistent with your loved one?
- Is the community location convenient to family members and friends to encourage regular visits?
- Do you have a good rapport with the management and care team, feel comfortable in their abilities?
- Can the community’s rates be afforded for the foreseeable future?
About the Author:
Terry Kelly Holm
Executive Director of Memory Care and Assisted Living Services
The Atwater at McLean www.mcleanmemorycare.org