There are more than 5.7 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease. While the effects of this condition are devastating for those who are afflicted, it can also take a toll on their loved ones.
At some point, an individual suffering from Alzheimer’s disease will no longer be able to care for themselves. While some family members may try to provide the care they need, this is not always possible.
When it is clear an individual needs ongoing care, it’s time to begin searching for Alzheimer’s homes. While this is often a difficult decision to make, it’s one that’s in the best interest of the individual with the condition and their loved ones.
Finding the right Alzheimer’s facility is crucial. There are several things to consider and questions to ask to feel confident you have found the best facility for your loved one’s needs.
Schedule an Appointment for an Initial Visit
When you first begin searching for a care facility, it’s a good idea to make an appointment for your first visit. This will allow you to have a tour of the location, speak with the staff and see how things work.
However, after this initial visit, plan to drop by unannounced at least two more times. It’s best to try and schedule your visits around mealtimes so you can see how this is handled.
Security at the Memory Care Facility
This is a factor that many people don’t think about. Keep in mind, this isn’t about protecting against intruders, but ensuring that residents can’t freely exit the building.
It’s important the care location you choose has a clear process to ensure those suffering from “exit-seeking behaviors” can’t “escape,” potentially causing harm to themselves.
Look for features such as entrances that are locked throughout the day and night, staff elevators that are carefully monitored, and security alarms on the individual’s wheelchair or bed. All these things are designed to help keep residents safe.
Talk to the Residents When Staff Members Aren’t Nearby
Try to talk to some of the residents and ask them how they like the facility. The goal is to get an idea of if your relative would fit in and if they would be comfortable with the other people in this location.
Do they experience any similar problems? Do they have similar care needs? Be sure to consider these things carefully when selecting an Alzheimer’s care facility for your loved one.
Fresh Air and Exercise
While it is very important for a memory care home to ensure residents can’t exit on their own, it’s also important they have access to fresh air. Find out if there is a secure area for residents to spend time outdoors.
This could be in the form of a patio, garden, circular walking paths, and other features. If there is no outdoor area that is safe for residents, then it is time to look for care elsewhere.
Structured Daily Activities
It’s important for those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease to have structured activities to participate in on a daily basis. When these activities are led by therapists or nurses, they can help improve the individual’s quality of life significantly.
The best care facilities have a full calendar of events. Some examples of activities include art therapy, visits with a therapy dog, singing, baking bread or cookies, movies and more. These activities are designed to help keep residents’ minds active and reduce symptoms of decline.
It is also believed this type of memory care can help to slow down the progression of dementia symptoms.
Care from Physicians and Other Medical Specialists
Having to take memory care patients to and from appointments can be extremely challenging. Find out if the doctors and other medical care specialists are willing to travel to the facility to provide the care and services needed.
These types of visits can help make life easier and eliminate the need to transport the individual to and from appointments.
Ideally, there will be a registered nurse on duty at the care facility 24 hours a day. After all, medical emergencies can occur at any time.
Be sure to ask about the hours that skilled nursing care is available. Also, find out about the training the caregivers receive. What criteria must be met to be hired? What ongoing training is provided to staff?
All of this will impact the quality of care your loved one receives.
Resident to Staff Ratio
Memory care facilities cost more than traditional nursing homes. One of the reasons for this is because residents often require more hands-on attention and care.
Additionally, there is a higher ratio of staff to residents. This is necessary for both safety and comfort purposes. Be sure to ask about this ratio during the daytime and nighttime hours.
Customized Care Plans
Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other conditions that affect the memory develop differently for everyone. As a result, you need to find a care facility that offers highly personalized treatment plans for each resident.
It’s also a good idea to find out if the residents are grouped by their cognitive levels.
Finding the Best Alzheimer’s Homes: Now You Know
When searching for Alzheimer’s homes for your loved one, using the tips and information here can be invaluable. It’s imperative that you take the time to find the right facility for your loved one’s needs.
The right care facility can help improve your loved one’s quality of life and ensure they receive the needed care. More information about Alzheimer’s care, along with other common conditions the elderly suffer, such as diabetes, can be found on our website.