When it comes to finding the right assisted living memory care community for your loved one, it can be difficult to know where to start. Because every community is different, it takes time and research to narrow your options and determine the best fit.
So, what should you keep in mind while visiting assisted living memory care communities, and how do you know if you’ve found the right one?
Here are some important factors to consider when choosing memory care for your loved one:
During your tour, pay attention to the overall atmosphere of the community. Is it warm, welcoming, and easy to navigate? Is the décor neutral and calming, which is well-suited for memory care residents? Do residents have access to secure outdoor areas? Choosing an assisted living memory care community that has a small, family-like feel will help ensure your loved one feels at home.
Friendly, highly-trained staff
Observe the staff as they interact with residents. Do they appear to be caring and friendly? What is the ratio of caregivers to residents? Does the staff receive up-to-date, dementia-specific training? Make sure the community you choose employs highly knowledgable, experienced staff members who understand the unique aspects of caring for individuals in each stage of dementia.
Delicious, nutritious dining
For older adults with dementia, mealtimes can become complicated. Maybe your loved one isn’t making healthy food choices, or they’re accidentally skipping meals. That’s why the best assisted living memory care communities focus on every element of the dining experience, from the menu to the dining schedule to the dining room itself. Even the color of the plates and tablecloths are optimized to help make mealtimes easier for memory care residents.
Flexible mealtimes are also a consideration for memory care residents. It’s important that residents are able to eat without feeling rushed or even enjoy their meals in the comfort of their private room if they desire. Try to arrange your visit around a mealtime so you can observe the dining experience.
While you tour, ask questions to evaluate the quality of care within the assisted living memory care community. What is the community’s philosophy of care, and does it align with your values? How are residents’ needs assessed? Is there a nurse on-site 24 hours a day? How does the care staff communicate with residents’ family members, and how often? Because every individual’s journey with dementia is different, you will want to find a community that creates individualized care plans for each resident’s physical, mental, and emotional needs.
Safety and security
Safety is another essential factor to consider when choosing an assisted living memory care community. Is the community monitored 24/7? Are entries and exits secured to keep residents safe from wandering? What’s the procedure in case of an emergency? A well-secured environment not only ensures safety, but it also allows residents to enjoy a level of independence in the comfort of their community.
The ability to participate in meaningful, enriching activities every day is one of the best reasons to choose assisted living memory care for your loved one. During your visit, be sure to review the current calendar of activities and social events. What types of activities and therapies are offered, and do they interest your loved one? Some of the most popular activities for memory care residents include music therapy, pet therapy, arts and crafts, and exercise, to name a few.
Finding an assisted living memory care community for your loved one is a big decision, so take your time until you find the right fit. There’s no one-size-fits-all, so be sure to ask these questions on every visit and don’t hesitate to visit a community more than once. When you’re ready to make a decision, trust your instincts and keep your loved one’s needs at heart. You’ll have peace of mind knowing your loved one is living in a community that provides compassionate care and enhances their quality of life.