If you are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, you understand the progressive nature of the illness. As the symptoms and behaviors advance, eventually you may find yourself unable to provide the level of care that is needed.
If this occurs, you might want to start looking at additional options so that your loved one will continue to receive the attention they deserve.
Many families will begin searching for the right memory care community yet they may find themselves uncertain of what to look for.
Why choose memory care
If this is your first experience with dementia and the different care options that are available, you may be considering whether a memory care community is the right place for your loved one.
There are many benefits, including:
- The ability of trained staff to interact with your loved one positively
- Being surrounded by those who understand the challenges of a cognitive illness
- A care team that understands different ways to decrease anxiety
- Having the ability to keep your loved one safe
- Providing opportunities for your loved one to socialize with others
- The availability of different therapies and other activities
- Working together to improve your loved one’s quality of life
5 important memory care features
Where the community is located and the price of care will be a factor, but the following information discusses five features you’ll want to assess when you’re considering which community might be the best fit.
1. The staff and philosophy of care
Pay special attention to the care team as these are the people who will be interacting with your loved one on a daily basis. You’ll want to ask about the ratio of staff to residents. Also, try to watch them relate with the residents to get a better idea of how they connect.
You’ll also want to ask about the community’s philosophy of care. Do they practice person-centered care and place a priority on the person as an individual? The community should create a care plan that is focused on the needs and wants of each resident.
2. Residences and amenities
Will your loved one have a private or semi-private apartment and will you be able to help them personalize it to make them feel more at home? Will they be encouraged to maintain their privacy and independence for as long as possible?
What type of amenities does the community offer? Is there a fitness center, spa, massage or other services available? Ask about their dining program and how they encourage the residents to eat while minimizing anxiety. What type of assistance do they offer if your loved one needs help with eating?
Staying active is beneficial to the health of someone with Alzheimer’s. Check what opportunities are available, what type of memory-enhancing programs they offer and how do they tailor them to the preferences of your loved one?
An individual’s quality of life can improve in a memory care community due to the level of personalized care, specialized training and safety and navigating features that can be offered.
You may find art, music, pet or aroma therapies that can help your loved one to feel engaged. Make sure there are activities of interest and ask how they encourage residents to participate and feel like a member of the community.
An important memory care feature is what opportunities the community provides to help your loved one interact with others. Loneliness and isolation are extremely detrimental to health and you’ll want to make sure there are plenty of possibilities to socialize with others.
Look for communities who prioritize interaction. There may be social hours or fun get-togethers. Certain activities lend themselves to appeal to a group setting. There are also common areas that can provide interaction, such as the dining room, game room or activity room where others gather.
Visitors from outside of the community are very important. Ask if the community has visiting hours and encourage family and friends to stay connected.
Your loved one’s safety and security is a priority and a memory community should offer 24-hour supervised care. When you schedule a personalized tour, pay attention to the layout of the community. Are residents who wander able to walk around without frustration? Are there opportunities to go from inside to an enclosed and secure outdoor courtyard or atrium?
What other safety measures are offered? Is motion-sensor technology used or other methods to know when someone has left or entered an area? Are the windows and doors secured? Ask about emergency or personal alarm systems.
Life at a Northbridge community
We understand the challenges of Alzheimer’s for both the individual and the family. The decision to search for a memory care community is not always one that is easy to make. But we also are able to see beyond the difficulties that our residents may have and focus on the potential and possibilities that can help improve their quality of life and bring even simple pleasures to their days.
One example of this is our Signature Program, Memory Making Baking for our residents in memory care. We know that certain activities, such as singing, dancing or baking can help recollect those wonderful feelings of an earlier time. Our program is designed to bring back the powerful senses of smell and taste and help them recall the pleasures of the past.
If your loved one is no longer safe at home or if the needed level of care is exceeding what can be provided, we invite you to contact us to discuss possible care choices. We are here to answer your questions.
Our associates are specially trained in the best practices of Alzheimer’s and dementia care. Families are assured that their loved ones are supported 24/7 to live their best lives, with our programs, activities, healthy meals and social opportunities.
We invite you to download our complimentary guide, the Family Decision Toolkit for more information about senior living memory care programs.