How Do I Choose a Memory Care Community?
By asking the right questions, you can find the ideal Memory Care Community for your loved one. Find out what to ask to choose their new home with confidence.
You have reached the point where it’s clear your loved one would greatly benefit from living in a Memory Care Community. Now, the question is: “How do I choose a Memory Care Community?”
As you’ll learn in more detail below, to choose a memory care community it is important to ask the following three questions, among others:
- What level of training have team members received?
- How much personal assistance is available to residents?
- What kind of life-enhancing programs and activities are available?
After reading this article, you’ll have a full list of questions and a solid “playbook” filled with information to help you find the right community for your loved one. This list will help you formulate your decision-making process at this crucial juncture in the life of someone you care so deeply about.
What to Expect from a Memory Care Community
“Memory Care” is a specialized type of long-term care designed for those living with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of progressive-degenerative dementia. The services offered are different and more specialized than those available at Assisted Living Communities and Skilled Nursing Facilities.
As you tour Memory Care Communities in your area, it’s important to keep in mind that your questions are just as important (if not more important) than the queries of the community representative. The process will help determine if a particular community is best suited to the specific needs of your loved one, as well as other factors like custom care and financial considerations.
Suggesting Memory Care might feel as if you’re asking someone to give up their normal life while sacrificing autonomy and independence, but in many ways the opposite is true. With the right type of Memory Care, residents can actually regain a good deal of freedom while enjoying an enriching and fulfilling daily lifestyle. This is because the staff at Memory Care Communities are trained to provide critical care, quality services, and exceptional support, thus freeing up more time for residents to enjoy an improved quality of life instead of feeling weighed down by challenges or negatively impacting the lives of their primary caregiver.
There are many reasons that Memory Care is beneficial. Learn more in our article “What Are the Top Benefits of Memory Care?”
Prioritizing Memory Care Requirements
Once you’ve learned a bit more about Memory Care Communities, you can begin to construct your “playbook” by asking pertinent questions during your visit. It’s a good idea to keep a checklist so you’ll have reliable notes to refer to when making your decision.
Here are some great questions to consider when it’s time to get started:
- What is the staffing ratio for every shift? If there’s only one staffer for every 15 or 20 residents—well, you can imagine it might be a problem for anyone to receive the necessary individualized care. The lower the ratio of staff to resident, the better the Memory Care facility can meet their needs. A ratio of 1:6 is a good demarcation line.
- Is there a medical director on staff? You’ll want to meet personally with the person in charge of the entire facility to get a good idea of their priorities and the goals of the community.
- How many RNs and LPNs are on staff? Are they on-site 24/7? Knowing that nursing or care staff are on hand at all times can give you peace of mind.
- What training does the staff have? Is it a universal staff, i.e., the same person who serves dinner also cleans the apartments, or a specialized staff? Specialized staff members will likely have more training in certain areas.
- What medical services are available? Find out if the community has laboratory capabilities, X-ray machines, physical therapy, occupational therapy, a pharmacy, etc.
- Do living accommodations include private or semi-private rooms? What is the cost for each and what is included? Some Memory Care residents benefit from having their own space, while others find comfort in a companion. Careful matching of residents who share rooms is essential.
- What assistance with day-to-day activities is provided? How often are laundry and housekeeping services provided? What other types of personal assistance are available?
- What is the frequency of meal services? Do residents receive three prepared meals a day? Does the community provide a full menu of prepared meals, does it have a cafeteria or kitchen facility with food available 24/7, or does it offer something in between? Can special dietary needs be met?
- Can the staff support special care needs? Ask specifically about your loved one's needs, for example, if they require a wheelchair or have a chronic condition such as diabetes, mention this.
- What steps has the Memory Care Community taken to prevent residents from wandering? Do precautions include gates, elevators or doors that require a code or card key, and adequate nighttime staffing?
- How does the staff communicate with family members? Are there regular check-ins or phone calls to provide accurate information about any situation?
- If the resident has to go to the ER, will a staff member accompany that resident? Would there be enough staff available on-site to do this at any time of day?
- Is the monthly fee all-inclusive? Are there additional charges for cable, TV, phone, activities and field trips, medications and increased levels of care?
- What types of activities are provided? Are they daily, weekly, monthly or occasionally? Are they curated specifically for Memory Care residents?
The Cost of Memory Care Communities and How They are Paid For
Adults with dementia, Alzheimer’s, or brain injuries are generally prime candidates for Memory Care. Monthly costs vary from community to community, as well as by state or economic area. Please keep in mind that you should ask if the monthly rate quoted to you is all-inclusive, or if there are additional charges, as this will also impact the total price.
Medicaid may cover portions of Memory Care. However, in most cases, Memory Care is paid for privately.
Find a Memory Care Community Near You
Choosing the right Memory Care Community for your loved one may seem like a daunting task, but Referah will help you find a location that offers exactly what your loved one needs to have the best quality of life possible. Our passionate and empathetic team is here to help. To get started, search for a community today!