Being diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease can be devastating for seniors and their families, creating new concerns and a need for special care. Memory care programs can help seniors maintain their quality of life as their disease progresses.
Finding a memory care program that offers stability and enrichment for a senior loved one should be the priority. Here are 4 things that caregivers should consider when evaluating a memory care program on a senior’s behalf.
4 Things to Look for When Evaluating a Memory Care Community
1. Check licensing and survey results
Memory Care communities are licensed at the state level. This means regulations vary widely from state to state. The best way to learn more is to visit your state’s Department of Health or Department of Aging online. Most states publish their rules for memory care communities there, and some even share every community’s survey results and history of complaints.
It’s also important to note that states often refer to assisted living by a variety of different names: homes for the aged, personal care homes, and adult foster care are just a few.
2. Get a feel for the community
Memory care is not a one-size-fits-all solution, so caregivers should look for a program that is a good match for their loved one. Ask to speak with other residents’ families to gain a better understanding of daily life and family satisfaction.
When you tour a memory care community on a loved one’s behalf, be sure to ask about meals, life enrichment activities, and opportunities for one-on-one time with staff.
It is also important to observe how the staff members interact with the residents. Caregivers should treat residents gently and patiently while also using eye contact when communicating.
3. Investigate safety and security
One of the primary reasons families opt for a memory care community is safety. Most know the dangers of wandering and have struggled to keep their resident safe.
The community should offer electronic security that is discrete but effective at preventing wandering. Make sure to inquire about safety policies when you visit.
4. Life enrichment opportunities
A quality memory care community is dedicated to helping each resident live their best life despite their disease. These communities thoughtfully structure days to give residents an opportunity to participate in meaningful activities. It gives their self-esteem a much-needed boost.
Ask for a copy of the community’s life enrichment calendar and see if you can visit again to observe an activity you think your senior loved one might enjoy.