If the care needs of your loved one with Alzheimer’s are beginning to exceed the level that you can provide, you may be considering memory care communities.
A good place to start is to research on-line about the services they provide and the level of care they offer. Ask for any referrals or recommendations from your medical providers or other family members and friends. But eventually, you’ll want to schedule a time to visit a few communities in person so you can get an up-close view of where your loved one will be living.
5 memory care questions to ask communities
You may be unsure of what to look for or even what questions to ask when you meet with the care teams at the memory care communities. But if your family is not in crisis, take some time when locating the right care for your loved one. Always try to visit a community more than once. And don’t hesitate to call with any questions that come to mind after your tour.
It’s also good to visit the community at different times of the day so that you can get a better understanding of how activities or meal times are handled. You may also meet different members of the staff by staggering your visits. And if at all possible, it’s a good idea if your loved one can go with you to see the community.
The following are questions you may want to ask when you make your initial visit:
- Who would be taking care of my loved one?
You’ll want to understand as much information as you can about the staff who will be providing care for your loved one. When touring a community or discussing the services available, ask questions about their philosophy of care. You’ll want to speak about two areas that are crucial:
Staff training, experience and availability: What type of training does the staff receive? Are they specifically trained in dementia practices? What is the ratio of staff-to-resident during the day and at night?
What is the quality of the relationship between the staff and the residents: You’ll not only want to discuss how the staff relates to their residents but ask for examples of certain scenarios. For example, how does the staff respond when a resident becomes aggressive? How can they help calm a resident who is feeling anxious or afraid?
- What treatments are available?
Although there is not currently a cure for Alzheimer’s, there are treatments and steps that can be taken to improve the quality of life of an individual living with a cognitive illness. To begin with, you’ll want to ask what type of treatment plan would be provided for your loved one and how they would determine the specific needs.
Ask about other therapies that the community may offer. These may include pet, music, art, reminiscence or others. Also inquire about what outside programs may be available, including entertainment or cultural events.
- What living arrangements and amenities are available?
You’ll want to see what type of living arrangements are available and what is included? Will it feel like home to your loved one? What options are offered that could provide a sense of comfort or to help reduce anxiety?
Ask to see the amenities at the community. A few benefits of memory care that you may find can include a fitness center, swimming pool, game rooms, resident lounges and a secured outdoor courtyard area.
- How do they handle meals and encourage residents to eat?
Another memory care question to ask is how they address the difficulty in eating that residents often develop. The challenges can range from your loved one not being aware that he or she is hungry or forgetting that they’ve already had their meal. They can also have trouble chewing and choking can become a real hazard.
Other issues include having trouble distinguishing between the tablecloth, plate and food. They may be unable to hold the utensils well enough to use. Providing finger foods is one idea many communities use beyond having a staff member to help the resident to eat. These can be easily handled while also allowing the resident some independence in feeding themselves.
- How do they keep the residents safe?
Safety is always a concern with those who are living with dementia or Alzheimer’s. At any stage of the illness Individuals may be at danger of wandering, not being able to recognize where they are or how to get back. Ask the community if they use security cameras, personal security alarms and if they control entry and exit doors.
On the other hand, it’s not pleasant for the residents to feel constrained or locked in. Ask the community how they balance this with securing the buildings and grounds. Do they have an alert system or an enclosed courtyard so the residents can spend time outside? Are the residents able to move freely in the secured area, helping them to feel less anxious? Does the community use up-to-date technology to assist in keeping the residents safe?
Life at Tapestry Senior Living communities
We are available to answer any questions that you may have regarding memory care, the benefits to your loved one and the services and support that we offer to the families.
We understand that this can be a difficult time and hope the above information is helpful as you begin the search for the right memory care community.
Of course, the financial aspect of memory care will also need to be considered. When visiting any communities, you will want to ask about the costs, fees and what services are included. We would like to offer you our guide to help you better understand the costs of senior living. Download our Dollars and Sense Guide to Senior Living to learn more.
If you or your family is considering memory care, we hope you’ll call to discuss what Tapestry Senior Living communities have to offer. Our person-centered approach, services, amenities and activities all play an important role in helping your loved one and family live a meaningful and connected life. Please click here to contact one of our advisors.