Questions To Ask Memory Care Facilities To Find the Right Fit for Your Loved One

For seniors suffering from dementia, memory care can provide a nurturing and supportive environment with a high level of personal attention. Memory care communities typically offer several specialized features to reduce residents’ anxiety and risk of wandering. 

Compassionate staff members aim to help residents maintain independence for as long as possible. If you’re considering transitioning your loved one to a community with dedicated care for dementia or Alzheimer’s, here are questions to ask a memory care facility to ensure that the change will be a good fit.

Why You Should Ask Questions at Memory Care Facilities

Caring for someone who has dementia or Alzheimer’s is very challenging. When you visit a memory care facility that your loved one may live at in the near future, it’s important to center yourself and mentally prepare. When you encounter healthcare professionals at an assisted living facility, they will offer you an overview of what daily life is like and some insight into what patients experience. They won’t necessarily give you all the information you need to make a decision, which is why you need to come prepared with a list of questions.

Use the questions below to inform your visit to a memory care facility. Whether you write down key takeaways with a pen and paper or record voice notes on your phone, document the answers you receive so you can refer to them when making your final decision.

A caregiver hugs her patient at the memory care facility.

What Is Medical Care Like and What Health Markers Get Checked Regularly?

Assisted living facilities generally have nursing staff available at all hours of the day, every day of the week. Discuss whether the employees are registered nurses or nurse practitioners and whether patients have access to a doctor for health questions and concerns. If something serious happens and your loved one needs rehabilitative care, is the facility equipped to handle that or will your loved one need to move to an adjoining or nearby hospital?

Inquire about what health markers the facility looks at on a regular basis. Preventative healthcare is crucial for people living with a disease such as Alzheimer’s or dementia. The facility should be able to tell you what blood tests are necessary and at what intervals.

What Meals and Other Services Are Available?

One of the most important questions to ask assisted living memory care staff is how residents live their daily lives. What are the meals like? What services do residents have access to such as housekeeping and transportation? How is resident safety prioritized? Does the community offer secure neighborhoods with regular monitoring? 

These details will be central to your loved one’s experience, so find out what is included in a basic package and which services you may need to opt in for to improve your loved one’s quality of life.

For older adults living with dementia or Alzheimer’s, activities and social functions must be tailored to their needs. Social wellness and stimulation are crucial, but outings and programs also need to be managed carefully to maintain safety for all residents. Discuss how staff get residents out of their rooms regularly and how high-functioning and low-functioning individuals get to participate in activities.

What Is the Approach to Clinical Care and Staff Training?

It’s important to understand the community’s care model and how staff members are trained to handle behaviors such as distress, wandering, anger, and aggressive outbursts. All staff should know how to interact with dementia and Alzheimer’s patients, but you can also ask about ongoing training and certifications. 

You’ll also want to inquire about the number of caregivers on duty during the day and at night. What is the caregiver-to-resident ratio? Will your loved one see the same caregiver every day? Every facility takes a slightly different approach, and it’s important to get a clear picture as you evaluate your options.

Is There Personalized Care and Dedicated Programming?

On your list of questions for memory care facility staff, include inquiries about personalized care and enrichment programming. A reputable memory care community will provide services tailored to the specific needs and abilities of the residents. To determine the type and level of care required, community representatives will want to know some specifics about your loved one, including: 

  • Degree of mobility
  • Tendencies to wander
  • Any medical conditions
  • Need for daily living assistance

Be sure to ask what the community’s memory care philosophy is and how that philosophy informs programming and activities. How do they ensure the highest possible quality of life for residents navigating the various stages of dementia? The variety of programming can vary greatly from one community to another, and some facilities may be better equipped to offer personalized attention as your loved one’s condition progresses.

a senior woman research memory care facilities on a laptop

How Will You Keep Me Updated?

Ask how often the community will provide you with regular updates on the well-being of your loved one. Considering how high-tech the world of healthcare is, most facilities should offer you a variety of options when it comes to this area. Will they send you text messages in case of an emergency? Can you get weekly highlights about the community’s programming in the form of an email?

Understanding the community’s policy on spending time with your loved one is also important. Are visitation hours limited? How do you register with the community so you can take your loved one out for a meal or other excursion? Some communities may offer support services for family members, or they may be able to recommend healthcare professionals or counselors to help you learn more about your loved one’s condition and how to manage it.

Asking the Right Questions at Memory Care Facilities

By asking the right questions at memory care facilities, you can ensure that the community you select provides a supportive environment for your loved one’s continued health and happiness. Every facility is different, and most are regulated under state law. If you want to learn more about what is required where you live, search for information provided by the Department of Health in your state. Schedule a visit with us to learn more about how Elder Care Alliance upholds the highest standards of dignified and personalized care for our patients living with dementia and Alzheimer’s.

For help or more information contact us or schedule a visit at a location today.