“Ten Things to Look for in a Memory Care Facility for Your Parent.” by Mary Yamin-Garone
Good afternoon. Welcome to Demystifying Alzheimer’s. I’m your hostess Mary Yamin-Garone.
Today’s topic is “Ten Things to Look for in a Memory Care Facility for Your Parent.”
Caring for an aging parent can take its toll. It also can be highly stressful—whether they live next door or across the country. Oftentimes it can be difficult to tell when the aging process is affecting your mother or father. It is important not to ignore the warning signs. Little things can quickly grow into bigger challenges and the best course of action is to seek outside help.
If your family member has been diagnosed with an illness that affects their memory, you might want to consider relocating them to a memory care facility. These facilities allow those in the later stages of Alzheimer’s, or another form of dementia, to maintain some level of independence while being safe. Doing so also means disrupting household routines and changing dynamics so the decision to move your mom or dad should not be taken lightly.
Visiting one of these communities is an essential part of identifying the best option for your parent. The available services and amenities are important when selecting an independent or assisted living facility. When it comes to memory care, however, the confidence and quality of care and interaction that you observe during your visit is what’s important.
Here are ten things to look for when deciding on a memory care facility for your mother or father.
- You want a place that is situated in a quiet and safe environment. Be sure that the property is away from busy roads and dangerous landscapes. This will ensure the maximum safety for your loved one.
- The way in which a memory care facility is laid out is important. Is everything on one level or multiple floors? Those suffering from memory loss are more susceptible to falling so more than one level can be a safety concern. Are hallways or living areas color coded or labeled with pictures so your parent can easily recognize where they are? Are they well it? Are the outside doors locked or equipped with alarms to keep mom or dad safe if they wander? Are there security cameras in the facility and on the grounds?
- Can the facility accommodate individuals at all stages of Alzheimer’s or only certain ones? What is its policy on the use of physical and/or chemical restraints?
- Do all residents have their own formal, written care plan? Is it updated regularly?
- Will your family member have sufficient privacy when it comes to bathing and toileting? This is important for maintaining their dignity at the same time it gives them a sense of personal space.
- Are residents participating in activities that are suitable and/or stimulating for someone suffering from Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia? Are there opportunities for your mother or father to help out by folding napkins or setting the table?
- How does the facility encourage eating if residents aren’t interested in food? Does it cater to special nutritional needs or requests?
- Is the staff dressed professionally or wearing uniforms and name tags to help your parent distinguish them from visitors or other residents? Do they interact with the residents in a calming and professional manner? Do they treat them with respect? Are they trained in how to effectively communicate with and care for individuals who suffer from memory loss? How does staff deal with difficult behaviors, like aggression, mood swings and sundown syndrome?
- Memory care facilities have a 24-hour staff of trained caregivers. Some may also have the oversight of licensed nurses and visiting physicians. Be sure to find out what the licensure requirements are for your state.
- These communities should have all the amenities essential for a happy life, including: comfortable community areas, such as a dining room and activity room; secured walking paths; emergency call response and fire safety systems; regular housekeeping and laundry services; and routine wellness checkups by a registered nurse.
Knowing what questions to ask and what to look for can make selecting a memory care facility simpler and more effective. You may need to visit several communities to find the one that is the best fit for your parent but when you do, you can be confident that they’ll be in good hands.
That’s all for today. Thanks for listening. I hope this information was helpful.
Join me at 1 pm Monday for more Demystifying Alzheimer’s.