Innovative and new memory care facilities are popping up everywhere, and it is sometimes difficult to decipher the good ones from the bad ones.
First and foremost, make sure you look beyond the marble flooring and chandeliers when you walk in. Although they are nice and may be pleasing to the eye, that means nothing if your loved one does not receive the care and social stimulation that they need. Next, look around:
- Do the residents look happy?
- Does the staff seem attentive and respectful towards the residents?
- Does the overall environment feel safe?
- Could you picture your loved one here, and coming to visit them here often?
Alzheimer's and dementia residents have special and unique needs which should be addressed specifically during the process of touring a facility. Keep in mind that memory care assisted living facilities have state regulations. No assisted living facility or their staff have the right to tell you that your loved one can and will receive 100% of the care they need right now, or in the future, at their facility alone. This means that moving your loved one to this facility may not be the only thing needing to be done. Speaking with a trained professional, such as a Care Manager, or an Alzheimer’s or dementia specialist may also be a great option. They know how to navigate the healthcare system and get your loved one the answers and care they need. They can perform assessments and research to come up with a unique treatment plan and help find the RIGHT fit for you and your loved one.
Additional questions to address may include:
- What training has your staff endured that qualifies them to work specifically with those having Alzheimer’s or dementia?
- What is the staff to resident ratio (make sure to specifically ask the ratio for days, the ratio for nights, and what the difference in the two is)?
- Is there a nurse on staff 24/7? What is your backup plan if the nurse scheduled is unable to attend their shift?
- How does a resident go about receiving medical attention from staff?
- What deficiencies did you receive on your last annual state health department survey?
- Are all residents on a daily routine schedule that they are not allowed to deviate from, or does each resident have a unique schedule built to their needs (such as, my loved one likes to sleep in and eat breakfast at 10 a.m.)?
- How often are residents bathed and dressed weekly?
- How does the staff handle difficult situations and behavior, such as a resident resisting to bathe, or taking care of personal hygiene?
- Is special assistance available to those with feeding problems?
- Is there transportation available for outside medical appointments? If so, what days of the week and what hours?
- Are the residents free to roam and explore the entire facility?
- Are there specific visiting hours for families and visitors?
- How often are care plan meetings held and are families invited to come?
- What are the security measures taken to ensure safety for all residents?
- Who will perform daily activities with the residents?
- How often do the residents have an opportunity for outings and how do you ensure all residents are notified of these outings?
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