Choosing the right memory care community for a loved one can be a stressful decision. In our choosing a memory care guide, we’ll help guide you through the process. We understand how critical these decisions are and how deeply they affect your family. Choosing the right memory care facility doesn’t have to be a tiresome experience so long as you understand how it works.
Introduction – About Memory Care
There are two main types of senior care facilities. One is assisted living, the other is memory care. Sometimes, an assisted living facility offers memory care – but sometimes, it does not. It’s an important distinction that sometimes confuses people. If you want to better understand this subject, see our assisted living vs. memory care guide. For now, we’re focusing on memory care as a silo care.
At a high-level, memory care provides specialized care for people diagnosed with degenerative brain diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. While those aforementioned diseases are two of the most known, memory care isn’t limited to those. Memory care is for elderly people who struggle with all forms of memory loss, wandering, or behavioral changes. An estimated 6.7 million Americans over the age of 65 are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s alone.
A memory care facility offers a 24/7 secure environment. The goal of memory care is to help people with dementia live as independently and comfortably as possible. It also provides support for families and caregivers.
Memory care facilities such as Aspen Woods of Vernon Hills offers an on-site executive chef, memory care events, and support activities and care that instill dignity in residents.
Here’s a core list of memory care services you should expect:
- Personal care assistance, such as bathing, dressing, and grooming
- Medication management
- Meal preparation and dining assistance
- Activities and social programming
- 24/7 supervision
- Respite care
- Dementia care training for families and caregivers
Choosing the right memory care facility for your love one is vital for many reasons. First, you ensure that your loved one receives the specialized care they need as advised by their doctor. Remember, when it comes to degenerative brain diseases and memory issues, cases are often unique. The goal is to improve your loved one’s quality of life, that won’t happen through a cookie-cutter plan. Finally, choosing the right memory care facility gives you peace of mind that your loved one is in good hands.
But how do you choose the right memory care facility?
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Memory Care Community
- Location: Location is certainly a core influencer due to the fact that you’ll likely want to visit your loved one. And they’ll want to see you and your families. For your loved one, understanding that you aren’t far away may help the transition and make improve the stay. Beyond that, location matters for other reasons. For example, how far is the facility from your trusted doctor? Are there other needs that are location based, particularly medical?
- Cost: We can’t ignore costs. We understand it can feel a bit undesirable to consider cost when it comes to a loved one’s residency and care, but it’s a must. You must figure out if you, or your loved one, can afford the care.
- Services and amenities: What services and amenities are offered? Are they important to your loved one? Earlier we discussed the uniqueness of brain disorders and diseases. Often, loved ones need a specialized version of care. You’ll want to offer a detailed explanation of the required, expected care to the facility.
- Staff: Are the staff qualified and experienced in caring for people with dementia, Alzheimer’s, or your specific need? Moreover, how friendly and compassionate is the staff. Touring the memory care facility, speaking to staff, observing interactions, and reading through online reviews can help substantially here.
- Activities: Are there activities that your loved one will enjoy? Most memory care facilities should offer a community calendar that gives you a wonderful idea of the monthly ongoings.
- Support for families: Does the community offer support for families? Remember, you and yours are going through this trying transition as well. You’ll need support and peace of mind through the transition and during the stay.
How to Tour a Memory Care Community
Once you’ve done your due diligence on costs, location, and the other items listed above, you’ll want to take the next step and tour the memory care community. Touring a memory care facility allows you and your loved one an opportunity to experience the atmosphere, communicate with staff, and gain some insight into how other residents enjoy the community.
Here’s a few quick tips:
- When you tour a community, take your loved one with you. We’ve mentioned this above, but it’s important to drive this point home. Your loved one needs to experience the facility and you’ll want to observe your loved one’s reactions. You’ll also want to gain their feedback as best you can.
- Ask questions about the community’s policies and procedures. You don’t want surprises, so be prepared to ask any and all questions. No questions are dumb.
- Pay attention to the staff’s interactions with the residents. This is vital. Observe the community.
- Get a feel for the overall atmosphere of the community. What’s the energy like?
The Final Decision
Gather all of your info and take a breath. Don’t rush into a decision. Understand the gravity of the decision affects many people beyond your loved one, so take time in deciding. By considering all of your options and doing your research, you can find a community that will provide your loved one with the care and support they need.