If it is determined that a loved one’s signs of memory loss indicate dementia, you have some important decisions to make. One of these decisions could very well involve the selection of a memory care facility.
People turn to these specialized communities when they wish to prepare for their loved one’s future or when they are no longer able to care for their loved one themselves. The range of options varies, and doing research on each can be bewildering. How do you evaluate the quality of a memory care facility and ensure that it is the right fit for your loved one? The following checklist should help you as you begin your assessments:
• Is the location safe, and is it convenient for visitors?
• Is the memory care facility secure? Dementia sufferers often wander, so it’s important that doors are equipped with entry codes and exits with alarms.
• Are comprehensive emergency procedures in place? In an emergency, it may be necessary to evacuate residents quickly.
• Is the facility quiet? Low noise levels are typically best for people with dementia.
• Is the facility well-maintained?
• Are bedrooms clean, spacious and homey?
• Do bedrooms provide sufficient levels of privacy?
• Is there secure outdoor space available for residents to enjoy?
• Do they appear to be well-groomed and dressed in appropriate, clean clothes?
• Do they interact with one another?
• Do they seem engaged in program activities?
• Are the frequency and quality of meals provided adequate?
• Are special dietary or nutrition needs accommodated?
• Do staff members provide help with bathing, dressing, personal care, and administering medications, as needed?
• Are there regularly scheduled programs and activities designed specifically for people with dementia?
• Is there any on-site transportation? For example, a van operated by facility staff members.
• Do staff members receive specialized training in dementia care?
• Do staff members undergo rigorous background checks?
• Are the numbers of staff members adequate?
• Are visiting hours reasonable, and do they fit into your schedule?
• Are families encouraged to discuss and provide input on care with staff members?
You should feel confident with all of the answers to the questions above. It is important that the memory care facility you are evaluating meets your standards.
Choosing an appropriate community may seem daunting. The process often requires careful research and repeated visits to different locations. To help make the decision process easier for you and your family, keep this checklist in mind during your visits.