What to Look for In a Memory Care Program for Someone with Alzheimer’s Disease
Did you know that half of all Americans aged 65 and over who reside in supportive living communities like assisted living and nursing homes have some form of cognitive impairment? Most often, that’s a type of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Long-term care is almost always a necessity when a relative or friend has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Even if you have been providing at-home care for your family members, there may come a time when you can no longer act as their caregiver. And when that time comes, you will want to be sure that all their daily needs are taken care of and that they will receive personalized support from a team of professional caregivers.
While that kind of attention may be something you can get in assisted living or a nursing home, more often it’s found in a specialized memory care community. Unlike an assisted living community or a nursing home, which cater to residents with a wide variety of needs, a memory care community is specifically designed to keep individuals with memory impairments comfortable and engaged. Keep reading to learn more about what you should look for in a comprehensive memory care program.
Want more information? Download our free Memory Care Guide.
Aging with Alzheimer’s Disease: How to Find the Right Memory Care Program
Choosing a memory care community is no small task, especially when you consider the special needs of residents with Alzheimer’s. However, finding a great place to live doesn’t have to be a difficult process – you just need to know what to look for. With a little time and research, you can find great Alzheimer’s care near you. Here we’ve listed some of the most important considerations when choosing a memory care program:
1. Familiarity with Alzheimer’s and Dementia
Alzheimer’s disease has unique challenges, including sundowning, unexpected agitation and a loss of motor skills. The senior living community you choose needs to be familiar with these issues as well as the other challenges that individuals with Alzheimer’s face on a daily basis. The more familiar the staff are with Alzheimer’s, the better they’ll be able to support their residents, including your relative or friend.
To find out how familiar the staff is at memory care communities in your area, you can ask a few simple questions:
- How often are staff required to update training and education?
- What is the staff-to-patient ratio? Will that change during nights, weekends and holidays?
- Will staff help with cleaning and dressing after instances of incontinence?
- What special security or supervision measures are in place to help prevent wandering and other behaviors associated with dementia?
- What is the protocol for behaviors like aggressiveness and wandering?
2. Family Involvement
Just because your mom or dad is no longer living with you or in their family home doesn’t mean they don’t have your full love and support. When searching for the right living environment for your parents or other relative, you should consider communities that encourage families to participate in daily activities and care planning. Familiarity, love and support are some of the most powerful indicators of success for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, so you need a community that empowers you to provide all those elements.
It’s also essential that there are clear and open lines of communication available with staff so that you can be informed of any changes in your relative’s condition or care needs. Other questions to ask include:
- How does the memory care community handle visits from family members and friends?
- Are there certain hours or days when visitations are restricted? Do you need to make an appointment to visit a resident?
- Is family input considered when designing a care plan and activities for residents?
- How does the staff communicate with family? How often will you receive updates?
3. Quality of Care
Perhaps the most important aspect of choosing a great memory care program for someone with Alzheimer’s disease is the overall quality of care provided to each resident. What are the amenities and services offered for those in need of Alzheimer’s care? Do they offer special memory care activities? Always ask about the different memory care services offered that are designed to make daily life easier for those with Alzheimer’s. Key questions to ask include:
- What are the different levels of staff available on a daily basis? Does an RN visit regularly?
- Because everyone with Alzheimer’s or dementia has different experiences, are there structured activities set up throughout the day for those who feel comfortable with a more regular schedule?
- Do residents have access to outdoor activities? If yes, how is the safety of memory care residents monitored during outdoor activities?
- Is the memory care community easy to navigate?
- Are residents allowed to bring familiar personal items with them, such as photographs, bedding or a favorite chair?
- What level of personal assistance is available?
- How is your supportive living community secured?
- What is the community policy for handling medical emergencies?
- How often are housekeeping and laundry services provided?
- Are residents grouped by cognitive level?
- Do you accommodate special care needs for those with other chronic conditions or mobility issues?
- How many staff members are available during night shifts?
- What is your discharge policy?
- Are regular activities continued during weekends and holidays?
- Is transportation available for medical appointments and shopping for personal items?
- What additional treatments and therapies are provided? Physical therapy? Speech therapy?
- Are religious services and celebrations made available to residents who wish to participate? What about those that choose not to participate?
Learn More About Florida Memory Care at Presidential Place
Finding the right memory care community to fit the individual needs of a relative or friend is essential for their long-term happiness. And while a modern supportive living community may look great on paper, without access to specially trained staff and a dedicated memory care program, adults with Alzheimer’s may not be able to enjoy the best quality of life in their retirement years.
At Presidential Place, we understand just how important it is for our memory care residents to live life the way they want, while still having access to proper care and a safe living environment. Our supportive living community makes it possible for those with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia to receive the personalized care and attention they need. To learn more about the services offered at our Florida retirement community, including our memory care neighborhood, give us a call today at (954) 894-0059 or contact our friendly admissions staff with any questions.