While the holidays can be a joyful time, they also can rain down a huge dose of reality on adult children of seniors. When spending time with older loved ones this holiday season, perhaps you noticed some concerning situations involving their health or safety and welfare. If this is the case, and if your loved one is no longer safe living in their current situation, you may want to research what to look for in a memory care facility. This will differ from person to person. While you will have questions about pricing and location, many memory support communities offer a range of services.
It takes a village to provide care for an individual with Alzheimer’s or dementia. With all the components taken into account, one can understand that memory support services are not inexpensive. As you consider options, don’t choose a provider simply based on price. Ask what is included in the monthly fee so you can avoid surprise charges. Some facilities such as Country Meadows offer a comprehensive rate. While this rate may sound expensive at first, when factoring in costs for personal care, memory support, food, transportation, entertainment and so on, it makes sense. And there are no surprises in the monthly bill.
Levels of care
At Country Meadows, memory support programs are offered in personal care and assisted living settings in both secured and non-secured settings.
Seniors with serious memory support who might be at a special risk of harm may require a secured, supervised setting. In this case, confirm all entrances and exits are secured while offering safe access to walking paths, both indoors and outdoors, so your loved one can maintain fitness. Also confirm there are comfortable common areas for residents to interact, enjoy entertainment and play games.
If your loved one needs assistance with some items because of mild cognitive losses and does not require a secured setting, some communities offer memory care in standard assisted living or personal care settings. In a memory care facility that offers this level of care, look for quality programs and activities specifically designed to help seniors maintain their current level of cognitive abilities.
Seniors with advanced dementia may have personal care needs in addition to cognitive support. In this case look for nursing assistance and daily support with hygiene, dressing, continence management and personal care. If a loved one requires medical care, many nursing and rehabilitation centers typically offer a memory support component to care. In these cases, a family doctor should be able to help make recommendations.
Other items to keep in mind include daily expectations, such as full meal service with snacks and beverages, housekeeping, laundry services, fitness opportunities and daily social and recreational activities.
It takes a special person to care for individuals living with cognitive challenges. On your list of what to look for in a memory care facility should be questions about co-workers, including:
- Does your memory care facility offer a low staff-to-resident ratio compared to the state requirement?
- What training requirements must co-workers meet?
- In addition to basic training, is there specialized training in memory care they must complete?
At Country Meadows, co-workers who care for individuals in our memory support programs are required to complete training in the Validation Method – a powerful technique and philosophy coupling empathetic listening with effective questions to help those individuals express their concerns and emotions. This builds trust, reduces anxiety and restores dignity.
As you ask yourself what to look for in a memory care facility, perhaps the best way to select a provider is to speak to staff in person. After all, you want to know who will be caring for your loved one and get a feel for what it is like to live there.
Additional insights about what to look for in a memory care facility
Deciding on a memory care facility can seem overwhelming. There are more memory care options today than ever before. To help you choose a quality program your loved one deserves, click here for some guidelines and questions to ask.