If your loved one needs additional care due to the development of dementia, you’re not alone. In fact, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are 50 million people with dementia worldwide and close to 10 million new cases develop every year.
Choosing the right memory care facility is a life-changing decision that you obviously don’t take lightly. Gathering as much information as possible will help you feel confident in the choice you make.
Here are eight important questions to ask as you evaluate your options.
1. What Level of Care Does the Facility Provide?
The first thing you’ll want to do when looking for a facility is to confirm that they actually provide memory care. Many people don’t realize that there are actually several different levels of care. This includes assisted living, independent living, nursing homes, and memory care.
For a loved one dealing with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, you’ll want to choose a memory care facility. This is often separate from other parts of the facility and provides additional services and oversight to keep your loved one safe, happy, and healthy. They often also offer a more compassionate and tranquil environment designed to meet the special needs associated with memory loss.
2. What Is the Cost of Your Facility?
Senior services, and particularly memory care, are not inexpensive. You’ll want to find out right away what the cost is and get a complete breakdown of what is and is not included. The last thing you want is to move your loved one into a facility and then have to move them somewhere else because the cost is more than you anticipated.
You’ll also want to ask what forms of payments are accepted, if payment plans are available, and whether the facility accepts Medicaid.
3. Can I Take a Tour?
Nothing compares to taking an in-person tour. If the facility you’re considering doesn’t offer a guided tour, consider this a major red flag and keep looking.
While you’re on the tour, pay close attention to both the big picture and the small details. Is the common area well-kept? Are the hallways well-lit and the elevators in good working order?
Are there plenty of safety features like bathroom grab bars and easily accessible emergency call buttons? Do the individual living areas appear comfortable, warm, and inviting?
If you can, try to take some time to talk to other residents who live in the facility. While the staff may be trying to “sell” the facility to you, you’re likely to get honest feedback from the residents. Make sure you pay attention not only to what they say, but to their body language.
Also, look at the residents closely. Do they look happy and well-groomed? Are they socializing with one another? If so, this is a great sign.
4. May I Sample the Menu?
While you’re on-site, ask if you can spend some time in the dining area and enjoy a meal. This will give you a chance to see what the menu typically looks and tastes like.
Also, ask whether there are a la carte options and snacks available to the residents in between meals. Find out if they’re allowed to take their meals back to their rooms if they prefer and if they can have them delivered if they’re not feeling well.
Finally, ask whether friends and family are allowed to join residents for meals, and what the cost will be.
5. What Services and Amenities Are Included?
Most memory care facilities offer individualized attention and pay specific attention to helping residents deal with the confusion and stress that comes with conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
They will often also offer medication management and a full calendar of enriching and memory-building activities.
6. Tell Me About Your Safety and Security Measures
Unfortunately, memory issues bring a special set of safety and security issues. You’ll want the peace of mind in knowing that your loved one will be kept out of harm’s way. A great facility will give them the opportunity to enjoy time exploring outdoors without the possibility of wandering off.
Make sure the facility provides around-the-clock care and frequent safety checks. Ask about their policy regarding the storage of potentially poisonous substances (like shampoo and detergent), and whether they have a CCTV camera system to monitor who comes in and out of the building.
7. Does the Staff Have Specialized Training?
Patients suffering from memory loss issues need the attention of staff who are specially trained to deal with the behavioral and emotional issues that these conditions create. Make sure you ask whether the staff has the specialized training needed to properly care for your loved one’s special needs.
8. What Is Your Staff-to-Resident Ratio?
Lastly, ask about the staff-to-resident ratio. Since memory-challenged patients need extra supervision and attention, it’s important to make sure that each staff member is only responsible for caring for a handful of residents. This will help ensure that they don’t get overwhelmed and that your loved one always receives the care they need.
Most memory care facilities also only have a limited number of residents. It’s common for residents with memory issues to do better in a small, close-knit community. You’ll want to consider your loved one’s preferences when it comes to whether they prefer a larger or smaller facility.
Learn More About Our Memory Care Facility Today
The best way to choose a memory care facility is to speak to the staff in person. You’ll want to get to know the people who will be caring for your loved one and get a feel for what it will be like living there.
La Sonora Senior Living is under development and opening soon! Contact us today to learn more. We’re happy to answer all your questions and help you decide if our facility is right for your loved one.