As sad and as bleak a subject as it may seem, aging is something we don’t have any control over. What we do have control of though, is the kind of medical and healthcare services and support we can get.
This is a topic most families with a member nearing or already within the age of 65 need to deal with. Especially since about two-thirds of adults age 65 or older will require long-term care at some point.
There’s also the fact that 10% of adults within this age range suffer from Alzheimer’s.
This is where memory assisted living facilities come in handy.
Before finalizing your decision on which facility to choose though, you should first get to know the staff members. Who exactly are the healthcare professionals that these facilities should have?
Let’s take a look at the people who contribute to the success of these communities.
Memory Assisted Living vs. Assisted Living
Before we further discuss specifics on memory care professionals, it pays first to know the differences between memory care and assisted living facilities first.
Most aging individuals who remain active and vital may only need assistance for their essential day to day tasks. In this case, assisted living is a good choice.
Personal care services, including the following, are common in these facilities:
- Assistance with hygiene activities
- Help with eating
- Help with dressing
- Medication management,
If your aging loved one requires more than just a little help with daily tasks because of dementia, a memory care facility is your better option. Keep in mind though that not all assisted living facilities offer memory care specific services. Only some of them have on-site dementia special care units (SCUs).
Such facilities offer patients with long-term care options designed specifically for people with dementia. As such, they provide patients with a safer, healthier environment. At the same time, they give family members peace of mind.
If your loved one is showing signs of dementia, a memory assisted living community may be the wiser choice.
This said, you should consider the people who are making up the memory care staff. Remember, patients with memory issues require specialized care. So, facilities offering memory care services should have healthcare staff specifically trained in handling such patients.
The Qualities of a Good Memory Care Assisted Living Facility
Know the qualities that make for a good memory assisted living facility. This helps you find the best place for your loved one with dementia.
- Provides medical care
- Provides personal care and assistance
- Provides care tailored to meet the unique needs of dementia patients
- Staff fully trained in giving dementia care
- Round-the-clock presence of physicians and nurse practitioners
- Staff trained to handle patients with challenging behaviors
Indeed, you’ll find many assisted living communities with many of these qualities. But the key difference is the staff specifically trained in caring for patients with memory problems.
A Quick Overview of Staffing and Administration
A key determiner in the staff selection of a memory assisted living facility is its makeup and size.
The larger communities have many types of employees. These range from administrators to directors and volunteers.
This doesn’t mean that smaller facilities are no longer a good choice. No, they may not have many fully-employed staff members. But they can contract the services their residents need.
What’s most important is having physicians and nurse practitioners on site at all times. And they should have the qualifications and credentials to deliver memory care services.
The Must-Have Staff Members in Memory Care Communities
The level of care your loved one requires should determine staff needs.
A general rule of thumb is to check the availability of the following staff members:
- Facility Administrator or Director
- Administrative Staff
- Medical Director
- Director of Nursing
- Nursing Staff (registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, nursing assistants)
- Admissions Coordinator – responsible for resident admissions
- Custodial Staff
You’ll also find many memory care assisted living communities with volunteers. They may not be health care professionals, but they go a long way to helping residents with their basic needs.
The most important thing here is to ensure the facility has competent and understanding staff members. So, be sure to get a feel of the community before finalizing your choice.
The Team of Doctors
Proper dementia care starts with a primary physician. These doctors are a patient’s first-person contact when it comes to memory care problems, including dementia symptoms. They can diagnose and deliver basic care for memory impairments.
As such, it’s important for a memory assisted living facility always to have a primary physician on site.
Keep in mind though, that some patients may require a more specialized type of treatment. And this may be the case for your loved one.
As such, you also want to choose a facility that employs or regularly contracts the following dementia care specialists:
A geriatric physician specializes in the health and well-being of aging people. Their work involves diagnosis and treating diseases of the elderly. They also have the qualifications to help prevent disabilities in their patients.
These doctors have specific training and education in the aging process. Memory loss and medication side effects are two areas they specialize in. This is why they play an important role in memory care.
Neurologists are specialists of the nervous system. They diagnose and treat diseases that can affect the brain, muscles, nerves, and spinal cord. Their examinations are critical to testing memory-related issues, which is also why it’s a good idea for memory assisted living communities to have them on board.
Depression and dementia share a close relationship. Many dementia patients show symptoms of depression, particularly isolation. Even when your loved one hasn’t shown any of these signs yet, it’s best that you choose a facility that has a psychiatrist on the staff.
Ready for Help with Dementia Care?
Call us today to find out how our staff of qualified and competent dementia caregivers can help. Feel free to schedule an appointment for a visit. This way, you can see for yourself how our understanding and compassionate team members can help your aging loved one.