Is Memory Care Right for My Loved One?

As Alzheimer’s disease or dementia progresses, the level of care and assistance a person requires increases. While many families prefer to keep their loved one home for as long as possible, a person who suffers from dementia and Alzheimer’s will eventually require 24-hour supervised care in catered settings. For most families, these care requirements are simply not feasible to meet on their own.

For example, Alzheimer’s living environments have secured areas to prevent wandering; a common symptom of the disease. And typically, residents in memory care need help with medications, bathing, grooming eating dressing and other daily tasks. Memory care provides intensive, long-term medical care to seniors with serious health and dementia conditions in a fully-staffed and monitored facility.

Here are some of the basic services offered in memory care:

  • Comfortable private, or semi-private, rooms
  • Daily meals
  • Housekeeping and laundry service
  • Medication management
  • Exercise and physical therapy programs
  • Mentally stimulating games and programs
  • Social engagements and activities
  • 24-hour staffing and personal assistance

Questions to Ask When Considering a Memory Care Community

When you are considering a memory care community for a parent or loved one, you should try to make sure that the care that’s provided is closely aligned with your parent’s needs.

You should find the answers to these questions before you make a final decision about memory care:

Questions to Ask Yourself About your Loved One’s Needs

  • What is your loved one’s level of mobility? Does she walk independently or require walker or wheelchair?
  • Does your loved one show aggression or other behavior issues?
  • Does your loved one wander or seek exits?
  • Does your loved one need help eating?
  • Does your loved one need help toileting or experience incontinence?
  • Does your loved one require diabetic care?
  • Does your loved one need 24/7 supervision?
  • Does your loved one need any ongoing medical attention or treatments? (for example, dialysis or colostomy care)

Questions to Ask the Community

Safety and Staffing

  • How is the community secured? Secure buildings? Secure grounds?
  • What type of training does the staff have?
  • How many hours of training does the staff receive?
  • What is the staffing ratio during the day? (number of residents per caregiver)
  • What is the staffing ratio at night?
  • Does each resident have an individual care plan?
  • Is a nurse on duty 24 hours per day? If not, how many hours is a nurse on duty, and what are those hours?
  • Is there a visiting physician?
  • What medical services are available?
  • Can you care for wheelchair bound or bedridden residents?
  • Are you able to care for residents who are physically aggressive or who exhibit disruptive behaviors?
  • Can outside (visiting) care be arranged? If so, who coordinates that care?

Community Policies

  • Do they provide a thorough assessment before admission?
  • What types of care are they not able to provide? How do they transition residents from memory care to skilled nursing?
  • How often do they update families about resident well-being?
  • What is the policy for handling a medical emergency?
  • How does the fee structure work? Is there one flat fee, or separate fees for housing and care?
  • What is the discharge policy?

Memory Care Features & Treatments

  • What are the living arrangements? Memory care cottages? Neighborhood style?
  • Do they have a special memory care dining program?
  • Do they have walking paths or circular walking paths for residents?
  • Do they group residents by cognitive level?
  • Do they offer pet therapy?
  • Music therapy?
  • Reminiscence therapy?
  • Parkinson’s care?
  • Vascular dementia care?
  • Snoozelen rooms? Or other light treatment?
  • Do they have an assisted living to Alzheimer’s care bridge program for early stage patients?

Your Gut Check

  • Does the staff appear to be knowledgeable and caring?
  • Do residents have free access to outdoor areas?
  • Is the community easy to navigate?
  • Does their philosophy of care resonate with you?

If you have questions or need more information, please contact the Generations Memory Care team today.