Memory Care facilities offer services geared towards residents suffering with Alzheimer’s and dementia from extra security and paint colors, to memory building activities.
While touring communities, you will receive a lot of information. This checklist will assist you through tours and, allow you to review the options in a systematic manner when each tour is complete.
What to Look For – The Living Environment
- Do the residents have enough privacy for bathing, toileting and hygiene? This ensures that the residents’ dignity is preserved. Be aware that residents’ personal space and boundaries are sometimes compromised due to their wandering and loss of inhibitions.
- Are all exterior doors locked and/or alarmed to ensure the safety of residents who wander?
- Is the community easy to navigate? Do all hallways lead back to public areas? Are distinctive wall designs used to help residents recognize their hallway or living areas?
- Is there an outdoor area that is easily available to residents yet enclosed to avert wandering away from the community?
- Is the furniture well-maintained with upholstery used to prevent stains from spills and/or incontinence?
- Is the area clean and odor free?
What to Ask and What to Watch For – The Care Team
- Are the caregivers interacting with residents in a caring and practiced manner, maintaining their dignity and respect?
- Are staff members easily apparent by dress and/or wearing appropriate uniforms and name tags that differentiate them from visitors?
- What types of licenses are required for all of the different members of the care team? What are the titles of the care team members and each team member’s duties?
- How many hours each day is the community staffed with RN or LPN? What is the ratio of residents to caregivers?
- Have the caregivers been given specialized training in successfully communicating with and caring for people who suffer from Alzheimer’s or dementia? Have they completed state/national background checks?
What to Look For – The Residents
- Do the people in the community appear to have a level of dementia that is similar with your loved one’s current needs and behavior? Some communities specialize in a certain level of functioning that may not be right at the particular time you are exploring options. If your loved one cannot relate to and interact well with other residents they may suffer from isolation and depression.
- Are the residents just sitting around and sleeping or are they actively engaged in activities that are suitable and/or appealing to those with Alzheimer’s or dementia? Are there opportunities for residents to contribute to the community (as appropriate), such as folding napkins, towels or clothing?
- Pay particular attention to the hygiene of the residents: clean combed and/or brushed hair, the men clean-shaven, are they wearing matching, clean clothing, free of incontinence smells.
- Do you feel you can develop a good rapport with the administration and care team and feel at ease in their abilities and trust them to provide completely for your loved one’s needs?