How to Measure What a Memory Care Community Has to Offer
With an estimated 5 million Americans with Alzheimer’s disease, the need for memory care is becoming more prevalent. If you find yourself in the situation of deciding on a memory care community for a spouse, parent, or other loved one, you will want the person to receive the level of care and attention he or she needs and deserves.
Whether you choose an independent memory care community or an assisted living community that offers a special memory care unit, the key to choosing the right environment is to look for a place where your loved one will be well cared for, happy, and safe. In your search for the best-suited community, there are several fundamental issues to consider.
You may find it helpful to visit the community or facility several times and at different times of the day. The layout should be easy to navigate with well-lit hallways leading to common areas. Doors and rooms labeled with words and pictures is another aid to help residents with memory problems orient themselves.
Make certain that both the building and the grounds are secure, particularly if your loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia wanders or gets easily disoriented. Ask if exterior doors are locked or
equipped with alarms to keep residents who wander safe. Outdoor spaces and walking areas should be easily accessible yet enclosed to prevent residents with memory problems from wandering away.
Besides looking around to get a feel for the community itself, make it a point to talk to several of the staff members. Find out whether caregivers have specialized training in caring for and communicating with residents with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. Inquire about the ratio of staff to residents both during the daytime hours and at night.
Pay attention to the interactions between residents and staff. Observe whether caregivers are caring, kind, and attentive to each resident’s individual needs. Ask yourself whether they appear to treat residents
with dignity and respect. Do staff members address residents by name and take interest in their personal histories?
Opportunities for Social Interaction, Recreation, and Therapeutic Activities
Note whether the community provides stimulating and interesting recreational and social activities for residents. Find out if activities in which residents can participate are scheduled daily and if there are
activities that match your loved one’s interests and hobbies. Ask if planned activities also are offered during the evening and on weekends.
Take notice of whether the other residents are on a cognitive level similar to your loved one. Since you want all your loved one’s needs to be met, it’s important for the person to be encouraged and have opportunities to interact with others on a social level.
Also inquire about the types of therapeutic programs that are offered to residents. Ask if the community offers religious services and provides exercise for residents who are physically able. Along with physical and occupational therapies, find out if therapies like pet therapy, art therapy, music therapy, and reminiscence therapy are available.
Communication With Community Staff
If the community isn’t a convenient distance from family and friends to allow for regular visits, ask how often the facility’s staff will update you on your loved one’s well-being. It’s important to develop a good rapport with both the care team and administrators so that you will you be informed of any changes in your loved one’s physical or mental condition and care needs.
Consider a memory care community that allows you and other family members to remain actively involved in care planning. Request a copy of the care plan and pay special attention to the goals listed in the plan. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about anything you don’t understand and communicate regularly with staff to discuss any concerns you may have.
If you are looking for an elder care community for a loved one with dementia near where you live, Cedar Village may provide the kind of loving care you are looking for.