How do you find the best Alzheimer’s care home for your loved one?
Deciding to place your loved one in a memory care facility is a difficult, highly emotional decision. Once the decision is made, however, the priority becomes finding the right facility to meet the needs of your parent, spouse or other loved one.
This article shares some of the most important questions and considerations to help you through the decision making process and make the best possible decision.
Start with Your Loved One’s Needs
Before you start looking at facilities, the first step is to assess your loved one’s needs. Knowing this up front will help you as you assess the memory care facilities in your area and make sure they can provide the care your loved one requires.
Here are some questions to help you assess your loved one’s needs…
- Would you rather have your loved one in a nursing home or in a residential community?
- Does your loved one have any medical conditions (diabetes, dialysis, etc.) they need care for?
- What is your loved one’s level of mobility (are the in a wheelchair, do they need a walker, are they walking independently)?
- Do they have any behavioral issues (such as aggression)?
- Do they have any wandering or exit seeking behaviors?
- Is incontinence care needed?
Questions to Ask an Alzheimer’s Care Home
Once you understand your loved one’s needs, it’s time to go out and visit some memory care facilities near you. If you need help finding a memory care facility near you, visit our listings here.
When you visit each facility, here are a number of important questions to ask…
Safety and Security at the Memory Care Facility
- What are the living arrangements?
- Are the building(s), grounds and community secured? If so, how?
- Are the residents able to freely access secure outdoor areas?
The Staff at the Memory Care Facility
- What training and/or certifications does the staff here have?
- What is the ratio of caregivers to residents both during the day and at night?
- Does this facility have a nurse on duty at all time? If not, what hours is there a nurse on duty?
- Does this community have a visiting physician or Primary Care Practitioner that you work with?
- Can we arrange for visiting or outside care?
Services Offered by the Memory Care Facility
- Are there medical services available on site?
- Do you provide care for residents who are incontinent?
- Do you provide care for residents who are bedridden?
- Do residents have individualized care plans?
- How do you care for residents who are disruptive or physically aggressive?
Policies and Procedures at the Memory Care Facility
- Do you conduct a free assessment and/or evaluation prior to admission?
- Are there any kinds of care you do NOT provide?
- How do you handle the transition as a resident’s physical and cognitive needs advance?
- Do you provide families with regular updates on my loved one’s condition and well-being?
- What is your procedure for handling medical emergencies?
- What is the fee structure at this facility? Are there different charges for various levels of care or types of rooms?
- What is your policy for discharging residents?
Memory Care Therapies
- Is your dining program adapted for residents with Alzheimer’s, dementia, etc.? If so, how?
- Do you have secured areas on the grounds where residents can walk outside?
- Are residents grouped by cognitive level?
- Do you offer music therapy?
- Do you offer pet therapy?
- Do you offer sensory or behavior-based ergonomics therapies?
- Are there any other types of therapies you offer residents?
- How do your therapies evolve as residents’ memory-impairing diseases progress?
Making the Decision
After you tour each memory care facilities and meet the staff, take some time to reflect on your impressions.
- What was the overall feeling you walked away with after touring the facility and meeting the staff?
- Did the staff seem to genuinely care about their residents?
- Did they seem to have a particular expertise in caring for people with Alzheimer’s, dementia, etc.?
- Did you agree with their overall philosophy/method of care?
The answers to these questions will help lead you to making the right decision on which Alzheimer’s care home is the right place for your loved one.