Out of all the age-related health concerns for seniors, Alzheimer’s and dementia are, by far, the worst. The disease not only subjects seniors to great hardships but also the people around them.
It is a hard battle for both the senior and caregiver because of the disease’s many physical and behavioral symptoms. Memory loss is just the tip of its iceberg; the condition has a lot of debilitating manifestations, including:
- Depression and anxiety
- Sleeping problems
- Aggression or sudden outbursts
But you do not have to take it all on your own. Senior memory care facilities can help your loved one get better and improve their quality of life.
Memory care is not like your ordinary senior community. It is an assisted living facility specializing in giving the best care to older adults with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
It is designed to provide a safe environment and high-end medical care to help dementia-ridden patients achieve the comfortable life they deserve.
With many senior memory care facilities out there, it can be hard to pick one that suits your loved one well.
So, here are some tips on how to choose the best memory care community.
1. Do Your Research
Start by researching the nearest memory care facility near your hometown. It would be better to have one close by so that transitioning and visitations won’t become a problem.
Scour Google for nearby facilities and visit their website if they have one. A facility with an established website is a fine choice because you won’t have any problems in knowing the services they provide.
You can also check for a facility’s reputation by:
- Looking for online reviews outside their website.
- Talking to other people who know and have previous experience with the facility.
- Checking in the state office for reports of abuse or neglect.
- Requesting for the facility’s incident reports.
2. Site Visit
After doing your online research, narrow down your choices to at least two or three facilities. Then, it is time to pay a visit to your prospective senior memory care facility.
Some facilities have scheduled tours for prospective clients. Still, experts say that it is advisable to also plan for an unannounced visit, preferably at night, to observe what really happens in the community.
Before touring, make a list of questions or concerns you have for the staff, such as caregiving training, medical services, and amenities.
During visitation, it is essential to observe how the staff interacts with every resident in the facility. Check the bathroom and other rooms for cleanliness and orderliness.
3. Safety and Security
Another consideration in picking a senior community is the safety and security of the facility. Do they have an around-the-clock staff to monitor all residents efficiently? Are there security cameras installed at the entrance?
These are some of the questions you should ask during your community visits. You can also observe the place and take note of how they perform in terms of ensuring the safety and security of the residents.
4. Layout and Maintenance
It does not have to be a picturesque 5-star hotel-like facility. It just needs to be a pleasant, clean, and senior-friendly place to live in.
A little wear and tear in some areas are okay but make sure that it does not have signs of outright neglect. Some of the things you should take note of include:
- Signs and labels in hallways, walkways, and living quarters for easy navigation.
- Safe walkways with paths and handles for safety.
- Circular hallways without dead ends to avoid frustrations.
- Non-slip floor style
- Outdoor area with a pleasant ambiance
- Concierge services
5. Access to Continuing Care
Senior memory care facilities should provide basic medical services such as regular physical check-ups, fitness, nutrition, basic hygiene, and therapy.
However, some dementias can progress, bringing along a new set of physical and behavioral symptoms. It would be better to check the facility’s capabilities to attend to complex medical care.
Find out if they have access to specialists or psychologists when symptoms become progressive. It is better to know now than having to change facilities at the last moment.
6. Senior Activities
Hobbies and activities make your loved one’s life more enjoyable and bearable. It is probably one of the exciting things they anticipate during their transition.
So, make sure that your chosen senior memory care community has many fun activities in store for your loved one. You can look at their monthly activity calendar or ask if they offer the activities that your loved one enjoys.
Their activities should also have a double purpose—to provide enjoyment and act as a therapy to counter their Alzheimer’s progression. Some senior activities to look forward to including:
- Mind-stimulating activities like crossword and puzzle games
- Physical and mental exercise
- Arts and crafts (e.g., photography, painting, drawing)
- Music or pet therapy
- Reminiscence therapy
- Social activities (e.g., group lunch, team games)
- Activities that include family members
- Off-site field trips
Take note of visitation rules and regulations and check if they are aligned with your own schedule.
It would also be nice to find out how the community ensures constant communication between residents and family members. There should always be an easily accessible way to communicate with your loved one at any given time or during emergencies.
7. Financial Matters
Lastly, the most crucial factor of all is your financial capability. You should be practical and realistic when it comes to choosing the perfect senior memory care facility for your loved one.
Inquire about the monthly cost of the facility and their mode of payment. Then look at your savings and deduct whether you can support that kind of monthly payment for years to come.
It is better to think ahead than just plan for the next two years. Transitioning and adjusting to a new place is already hard enough for your loved one. Make sure not to put them through it again because of financial matters.
Select the best facility well-suited for your loved one while also considering your bank account.