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What to Expect From a Memory Care Facility: A Guiding Hand


About 70% of elderly people will require long-term care at some point in their lives.

While the decision to put a loved one under someone else’s supervision is difficult, it can also ensure that individual receives the care he or she deserves.

Unfortunately for those whose loved one suffers from dementia or another form of memory loss, this decision can be even more complicated and painful.

A memory care facility can provide the expertise necessary to take care of those you love, but what should you expect? What questions should you ask?

Here, we’ll provide a guiding hand to give you the answers you seek so that you can have the confidence and knowledge to make the best decision for you and yours.

What Is a Memory Care Facility?

A memory care facility is a special care unit that typically provides around-the-clock surveillance on your loved one. This nursing is specifically catered to those suffering from dementia, Alzheimer’s or other such diseases.

Nurses and staff are trained to handle all the nuances that come along with memory loss and aging.

Assisted Living

An important observation to note is that memory care differs from assisted living.

Assisted living provides housing and health services to the elderly. In essence, it provides more independent living with help available when needed. These residences may have special care units within them, but not always.

The Benefits

Transitioning someone you care for to a memory care facility can be difficult. That’s why it’s important to remember the many advantages these residences offer.


The staff are highly trained and specialize in memory care. Therefore, when your loved one wakes and can’t remember where she is or has a bad day, the staff will be able to gently guide the person in the right direction.

They know exactly what to do, say and avoid.

Improved Health

Successful memory care involves strategies rather than forced medication. Staff members give patients a greater sense of control and independence, and medications are only used when they must be.

This approach increases overall happiness and has been shown to improve the ability to execute daily functions.

It is a valuable characteristic that cannot always be created at home.

Activity Programming

Activities are very important in patients with any cognitive impairment. Particularly for those with dementia, activities have been proven to increase happiness and quality of life. Further, they can even improve daily performances.

These activities are required in mental care facilities, and they can greatly add to your loved one’s happiness, decreasing the likelihood of agitated behavior.


The very construction of memory care facilities keeps patients in mind.

The layout is usually simple so that it is easier for patients to remember, and it does not encourage over-stimulation. Doors and other escapes may be covered to discourage wanderings. Bathroom signs may be more evident to remind residents to use the restroom.

Those in memory care build the unit’s housing area to reflect the needs of those who dwell within it.

Less Risk of Injury

With all of these characteristics comes one obvious advantage: you should no longer have to worry about your loved one hurting himself.

No more forgetting the oven is on or wandering alone outside. Someone is always there to help.

Peace of Mind

Finally, there is you. You have spent so much time worrying about your loved one, planning, researching and taking care of him or her that you may have forgotten about yourself.

If you think it hasn’t taken a toll, reconsider. It’s estimated that as many as a third of family caregivers for those with dementia are depressed.

Memory care can alleviate your struggles. It’s not selfish to think so. Not only will the person you care for receive the proper attention he or she needs, but you will also be able to give the proper attention to yourself.


Transitioning someone you love to a care facility is not an easy task. When contemplating locations, consider the facility’s proximity to you, visiting hours, the cost and the reputation of the residence.

Be sure to understand how the unit handles emergencies, as well.

What to Ask

When you are visiting a memory care unit, be sure to ask these questions to choose the right facility for you both.

  • Is the facility state certified? Keep in mind that regulations differ by state. Some do not require certifications, but it’s best to check.
  • May I have a tour? Every facility should offer a tour. Use it to your advantage. Note how the inside is designed and pay close attention to any nurses you see interacting with residents. Also keep your loved one in mind if he or she is with you. Does he feel at ease as you tour?
  • What training is required to work here? Again, training differs by state. Ask about the specific number of hours the staff must undergo.
  • Could you give me a patient referral? If you’re especially protective, you can always ask if the unit has a patient referral program. More and more, doctors are turning to these programs to get new patients through their doors.
  • Can you tell me about one of your residents and how he or she is cared for? Depending on who is giving the tour, this can be a priceless measuring tool. If the staff member can tell you details about a few of their residents, it means workers actually take the time to know the patients.
  • Describe the general care a patient receives. Here, you’re looking for person-centered care, that the answer demonstrates a personalized method that will make your loved one feel independent.
  • Is comprehensive care offered? Ensure that residents are also being cared for in other ways, such as housekeeping.
  • What are meals like? Certain diets have been shown to decrease future impairment. If the meals are catered with this in mind, it’s a good sign.
  • What activities do you offer and how much of the day do they take up? Good facilities should offer a plethora of activities that take up quite a chunk of the day.
  • How do you handle new residents? The transition may be difficult for you and your loved one. It’s important to understand how the staff will handle the initial move.

Find the Care Your Loved One Deserves

Making the choice to move someone you love to a memory care facility can be one of the most difficult decisions in your life.

It’s important to stay positive, to remember the move may be best for both of you and to find the facility that is right for your loved one’s needs.

If you’re considering memory care, contact us today to learn more about our unique approaches. We will be more than happy to answer your questions so that you can make the best choice for your loved one’s future.