With nearly 8 million men and women diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or some other form of dementia every year, thousands of their adult children or other caregivers become responsible for finding the right memory care facility for their aging loved ones.
Unlike traditional senior living communities, “memory care” facilities offer specialized services and settings that specifically benefit people with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia, such as secured units, alarm devices, and an empathetic staff. Choosing amongst the thousands of these facilities can seem like an overwhelming task dependent on a variety of factors, including cost, distance from family, and the severity of the dementia being treated.
Here’s what to consider when selecting the right memory care facility for your loved one:
Safety Features for Memory Care Communities
It is common for people with dementia to wander, so it’s imperative that a good memory care home is outfitted with safety features like secured egress, emergency backup systems, video monitoring for public areas, a fall management system, and a fire-monitoring system. A certified memory facility will be designed specifically for patients in need of dementia or Alzheimer’s care by dementia experts to reduce the likelihood of dangerous or damaging situations.
Additionally, a safe and well-designed memory care facility will allow for much more independent living and won’t resort to isolating members to keep them safe. A safe memory care facility will encourage socialization, exploration outside of member dwellings, and group activities with the expectation that members will be taken care of.
Quality, Trained Dementia and Memory Care Staff
It is very important that health care providers offering Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia care are equipped with the educational background and certification necessary to provide required services. Memory care services focus on retaining cognition or encouraging memory retention in patients through the use of verbal or physical triggers and similar methods. A memory care team should receive ongoing memory care-specific training and education, so be sure to ask about the background of the staff that will provide care of loved one.
The number, expertise, and quality of staff absolutely makes a difference in the level of care provided to your loved one in a memory care facility. A larger community staff working with a smaller resident population can provide more individualized and empathetic attention to their residents. Be sure to ask a potential facility about the specific staff members who will provide direct care to your loved ones, the number of residents assigned to a caretaker, and how many registered nurses are on staff. In some cases, facilities might include administrative or janitorial staff to boost their numbers; this is where such specificity will be crucial in making your decision.
Staff should absolutely be knowledgeable about the differences between different types of dementia and how each manifests in afflicted people. An empathetic staff will treat patients like adults; are positive and caring; avoid escalating anxiety or anger; and are able to use both verbal and nonverbal communication techniques.
Comprehensive Therapy for Memory Care Residents
It’s important that memory care facilities do not rely on pharmaceutics alone to provide care to residents. Your loved one should receive comprehensive therapy that offers many options for attending that exercise different skills sets. In addition to pharmaceuticals (when necessary), therapies like, art,, communication, writing, exercise, meditation, and other types of therapies may help improve dementia patients’ abilities, moods, and outlook and make them feel more capable in their daily lives.
Every patient will naturally be drawn to different types of therapies, so a memory care facility that can provide them with a significant amount of options will likely be able to accommodate your loved one better than a facility that does not. Learn more about the types of recreational, individual, and group therapies available at a potential facility and what these activities entail.
Choosing the best memory care facility for your loved one should be a thorough, considerate process that considers the needs of your family. Understanding how facilities administer care, hire team members, and secure their community are just a few factors to consider when vetting and ultimately selecting your loved one’s new home. Make it a point to bring the family along when visiting memory care facilities, and gather as much information as you can about a potential facility before making your final decision.
As one of Arizona’s premiere memory care communities, American Orchards is a proud provider of memory care and 24-hour care to our beloved residents. We work closely with each individual to provide an enriched living experience that is both safe and encouraging.
As a proud supporter of the American Alzheimer’s Association, we understand how to best improve the lives of older adults of all capabilities through our quality senior living community-based services. Contact us to learn more about how American Orchards can help your parent or loved one live comfortably into the future.