How To Select The Ideal Memory Care Program

Victoria Tan Discovery Village Memory Cafe Directory

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For individuals 65 years of age and up, there are no fewer than 6 1/2 million living in the United States today with Alzheimer’s disease. This memory loss-causing neurological disorder poses problems with communication, difficulty with daily tasks, and eventually leads to dementia.

Possibly the biggest problem with Alzheimer’s is the fact that, over time, it can only worsen. It’s progressive. More times than not, to find a suitable memory care program can be a struggle for family of the loved one in need.

What’s appropriate? If your loved one simply needs help with ADLs (Activities of Daily Living), assisted living might be a good option. If, on the other hand, their condition has progressed, a community where they can receive medical attention 24/7 will be the better option.

Heres a collection of memory care program information, how to narrow down your choices where a community is concerned, and questions to ask during a tour.

A Typical Dementia Diagnosis

If your loved one seems to be having issues with disorientation and memory loss, they may have dementia. They should be evaluated. Some of the things you may notice include the following:

  • Personality changes
  • Forgetting important memories
  • Problems with their medication schedule
  • They keep losing belongings and misplacing items

Something happening on occasion may not be a problem or even that noticeable. But over time, if symptoms like this persist, it’s time to have your loved one evaluated for Alzheimer’s or other dementia. The best move, once things reach this point, is for them to live in a memory care community.

Memory Care – What You Should Know

It can be problematic, emotional, disturbing – you name it – when mental disorders or memory loss signs develop in a loved one. You want to make it stop but you feel desperate and helpless. The best thing you can do for your loved one, yourself, and your family is to look into memory care. The services and amenities your loved one requires are all included in communities such as these.

As part of an assisted living community, memory care programs frequently exist, but can exist on their own as a separate entity. The nurses, caregivers, and other team members are all specially trained in this individualized type of care.

Professional help should be sought out if you notice signs of memory impairment in a loved one. To receive advanced medical or memory care, they should make the move to the proper community (like memory care). Where your loved one is concerned, you’ll want the most suitable surroundings, care, and attention.

Memory Care Communities – What Are They?

What is a residence memory care program and the building in which it is housed? For those with dementia, Alzheimer’s, etc., these are residential communities that focus on memory care. Those with cognitive problems are supported by these specially designed communities that cover everything from a place to live to daily meals and activities.

Private living spaces are included in a residential memory care program. Here, those with dementia, Alzheimer’s, etc. will receive supervision, security, and skilled care. Long-term care, 24/7, is provided by trained team members to cater to the specific needs of each resident. What’s more, to slow the progress of disease and stimulate memory, specific activities are offered in these communities.

Healthcare management, medication management, and more are also available when special care is required by a resident. Medical requirements are not the sole concern of these communities, however.

For those with impaired memories, these communities commonly provide secure opportunities and homes. Here, they can engage in hobbies, socialize, and participate in anything that is appropriate to their level of cognizance and awareness. Therapy pet visits, walks in the garden, musical events, and more are frequently provided by the community.

Choosing the Right Community

Okay, you’ve decided that your loved one would be better suited living in a memory care community. This a great first step. It’s a big decision, but you’ve all agreed to it. Now what?

When looking for the best or closest memory care community, here are a handful of considerations:

Memory Care Community Research

Fortunately, in the age of the Internet, everything and anything is researchable. With so many memory care communities available, you want to narrow it down to just a couple before you start thinking about interviews and personal tours.

Make a list of facilities and start researching each one, crossing off those that seem less appropriate than the others. If distance is a concern, determine how far you’re willing to travel and eliminate anything further out. That’s a great way to begin narrowing things down.

What Are the Priorities And Needs of Your Loved One?

Your loved one may not immediately be on board with a move to a memory care community. It’s important that, before you choose a community, you discuss their priorities, preferences, and needs with them:

  • Are there visiting restrictions?
  • What kinds of activities are provided?
  • What is the living situation?
  • There are many more, but this gets you started.

Before making any decisions, have a long talk with your loved one. Though they may have little to no choice in the matter, it is important that you make them feel like they do. Let them know their opinion matters.

Amenities and Activities

What types of activities will your loved one participate in and what are the amenities included in the community? Many of today’s assisted living and memory care communities are comparable to living in a resort. Meals, games, dances, concerts, complimentary transportation, concierge services, and other amenities are not uncommon.

Spiritual, mental, physical, and emotional health are all of great concern in communities that focus on memory care. There will be programs that concentrate on exercises for each of these categories.

What Healthcare Plan Is Appropriate and Available

Are professionalized healthcare plans and assessments provided by the memory care community? After your loved one’s move, their continuing healthcare will be better ensured in this manner.

You may also want to ask about other medical care services including dental or eye care, and even cosmetic services such as haircuts and manicures.

Some Type of Referral (Professional, Word-Of-Mouth, Etc.)

With any luck, someone recommended a memory care community for you to check out. This can be word-of-mouth from a person you know or possibly a referral by a professional such as your loved one’s physician.

If no referrals are available, check reviews online. Steer clear of reviews posted on the actual site of a memory care community because those are often written by their staff. Look for independent reviews.

Interviews and Visits

Once you’ve narrowed down your long list to just a couple of places, it’s time to set up some personal tours. While you are on these tours, you’ll want to do the following:

  • Look around to check for cleanliness, camaraderie, staffing numbers, security
  • Speak personally to staff members
  • Look at a private residence
  • Interview, if possible, some of the residents
  • If the offer is made, sample a meal

Questions to Ask – Observations to Make

While touring the memory care community, you may want to do the following:

  • Make as many general observations as possible and question anything you see that feels off or uncertain.
  • Explore the living situation and get a good idea of common areas, individual residential units, and more.
  • Tour the grounds to see what’s outside if your loved one enjoys fresh air and greenery. Ask any questions you have regarding indoor or outdoor concerns.
  • Care team members should be not only spoken to but checked out.
  • What kind of specialized training do they have?
  • Do they seem like they are caring individuals?
  • What is the resident to staff ratio?
  • Are there certifications or licenses in place?
  • Inquire as to what kinds of amenities are available.
  • Are meals included?
  • What activities and events are featured and how often do they occur?
  • What are the visitation policies?
  • Can you attend an event with your loved one?

Naturally, finances will eventually come into question. What does it cost to live in the community and how much of the above stated amenities, events, etc. are included in that price?

Remember, if your loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, dementia, or some related cognitive diagnosis is in effect, sooner rather than later, you should start checking into memory care programs.

Don’t wait until the last minute when the family and caregivers feel overwhelmed.

Victoria Tan

Discovery Village at SouthlakeVictoria is the Marketing Assistant for Discovery Village At Southlake in Southlake, Texas.



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