Finding a Memory Care Home
Finding the right Memory Care home is a big responsibility. You want to ensure your loved one living with dementia is well taken care of and has access to individualized medical attention. But how do you find the memory care facility that is safe and offers the appropriate resources?
Research is the key. Start by going online and identifying memory care facilities in your area. When you find one that seems like a good fit, schedule a visit. In-person, you will be able to observe daily life in the Alzheimer’s care home, what the facility looks like, and how the patients are treated.
Here are some areas that you need to look for on your visit:
- Dementia care specific security: secured elevators, fenced in outdoor space
- 24/7 medical care including oversight of medicine
- Clean, welcoming, low number of residents
- Patients that are engaged and active
- Care that is attentive and compassionate
While on the tour don’t hesitate to ask questions. For instance, What is the memory care home’s…
- Policy for emergencies and ER?
- Patient to staff ratio – for day and night?
- Consistency of staffing? Do patients see the same staff daily?
- Availability of RNs or LPNs? It should be 24/7.
- Specific memory care training for staff?
- On-site medical services?
- Communication policy with family members?
- “Routine” day for patients? Are there individualized routines and plans?
- Daily activities – including outdoor activities?
- Availability of private rooms?
Finally, remember to trust your instincts. If something doesn’t seem right, or if it doesn’t seem like a safe, homelike environment, it probably isn’t. Keep in mind some warning signs:
- The memory care home has an institutional setting: it isn’t comfortable.
- The memory facility design is confusing: it is poorly lit and hard to find places/things.
- The facility doesn’t have alarms, doors that lock, handrails, or other safety features.
- The patients appear to be neglected: not engaged, dressed or clean.
- The staff seems indifferent: they aren’t attentive or engaged with patients.
- Information is hard to get or have explained by the staff – they won’t answer questions.
If you do your research and ask the right questions, you will be confident that you have chosen the right place for your loved one. And your loved one will be able to live safely and healthily.