As you continue to navigate the dementia or Alzheimer’s journey, one day you might discover yourself at a crossroads. If providing care at home is no longer possible, it’s time to find a memory care community.
At Ingleside’s Memory Support Assisted Living, we understand how hard the search can be. If you find yourself struggling with this decision, we hope you’ll reach out for help. There are many on-line resources available and if you haven’t yet read our blog post, 5 Signs it May be Time for Memory Care, click here for more information.
It takes courage to continue facing the physical and emotional challenges of a dementia diagnosis and we’re here to offer our support and to answer any questions that arise. We invite you to Download Your Guide to Memory Support to learn more and we’re also including these suggestions to help in your search and make the process easier.
How to Find the Right Memory Care Community
Although it can be hard to know where to begin, a good place to start is to create a list. If there are certain essentials important to you, put those at the top. It’s also a great idea to ask family and friends if they have any experience or recommendations. After that, consider these ideas to help you decide on your best course of action.
Start with geography. Begin creating your list for communities in the area. You won’t base your decision only on convenience, but you’ll want an easily accessible community so you can visit and be an active part of the care team. The closer you live to a city or larger suburb, the greater the choices. The possibilities will be more limited for those in small towns or rural areas.
Schedule visits. Once you have a few options, it’s time to start making phone calls. Preliminary conversations about general care can occur over the phone but it’s important to see the community first-hand. You can learn a lot by watching the interactions between residents and the staff or having a meal in the dining room.
Bring your questions. And a friend, if possible. It can be a great help to have another person’s opinion and impression of the memory support communities you visit. There are also several questions you can ask to help make the decision on which one will be the best fit.
Prepare a summary of your loved one’s needs. When you’re visiting a memory care community, your main goal is to make sure this is a good fit. Prior to your visit, it can be helpful to answer these questions so you can share with the community the more specific care elements you’re looking for.
8 Questions to Ask Yourself
- Does your loved one wander or seek exits?
- Does your loved one need help to eat?
- Does your loved one require diabetic care?
- Does your loved one need 24/7 supervision?
- Does your loved one show aggression or exhibit other behavior issues?
- Does your loved one need help toileting or experience incontinence?
- Does your loved one require mobility assistance, using a walker or wheelchair?
- Does your loved one need ongoing medical attention or treatments?
10 Questions to Ask each Community
At Ingleside’s Memory Support Assisted Living, we know how difficult this decision can be. To get started, we’ve included 10 questions to help you better get to know the communities you visit. You’ll also find our full list of questions and more extensive information if you download Your Guide to Memory Support.
You may want to print out the list or take along the memory support guide so you won’t forget any important questions you wanted to ask when you tour each facility.
- What is the direct staff-to-resident ratio, not including dining or housekeeping staff?
- What are the qualification requirements for the staff?
- How do you handle medical emergencies?
- Do you accommodate special needs, such as diabetic care, mobility issues, aggressiveness or wandering?
- How are the residents with differing cognitive impairments grouped together?
- How often do residents leave the community for outside activities?
- What programs are offered – exercise, physical therapy, social and others?
- How often are housekeeping and laundry service provided?
- How do you get to know each resident’s personal story?
- What are the monthly costs and what services are included?
Making the Best Decision
Unless the decision needs to be made in crisis, such as your loved one is being discharged from a hospital and cannot return home, it’s a good idea to take some time to consider the pros and cons of each community.
You might want to set up a simple chart to illustrate how each community ranks for what is most important to you. For example, a lower rating for outside activities and walking paths might matter less if they have a higher level of therapeutic options for their residents.
Finally, consider your answers, include any recommendations from family or friends and factor in your own research and feelings. Then narrow down the possibilities until you find the community you feel would be best.
Make Sure it’s Also the Best Decision for You
Don’t leave yourself out of the equation. How did the communities make you feel? Were they helpful in answering all your questions? It’s important to know that your loved one will be living where you are truly welcomed as well.
At Ingleside’s Memory Support Assisted Living, we care about the families the same way we care about our residents. This is a disease that profoundly affects all involved. The best care is where everyone feels embraced.
Ingleside’s Memory Support Assisted Living is here to help you and your loved one navigate this journey.