Living with and caring for a loved one with memory loss can be especially difficult. Assisted living can greatly benefit someone with memory loss. There are many options when it comes to senior living facilities, all with varying considerations and accommodations. Assisted living communities often offer daily meals, medication assistance, and medical services, personal care, 24-hour staff, memory care units, as well as social and recreational activities.
In evaluating different facilities for someone with memory loss, there are some important considerations to account for any questions you and your family members should be asking. Below are some tips and questions that can be reviewed for those caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or Dementia to help in choosing the right type of living situation for your loved one.
#1 Evaluating and understanding the needs of your loved one – One of the first things you should do is sit down with your loved one and any current caregivers to discuss the needs and most important services for the care of your loved one. When you begin to explore facilities, you will have a well-understood list of what it is needed, which will aid in a easier transition. Questions you may want to ask include:
- Why is this transition necessary or wanted?
- How often is help needed?
- To what extent is help needed and in what areas is it needed most?
#2 Evaluating the facility – Your evaluation of the facility should be built upon the foundation of the needs and considerations you discussed and agreed with your family members. When first visiting a facility, there are a few things you should consider from the start. Below are things you should take notice of or questions you can ask the staff:
- Is the design of the facility warm and inviting?
- Does it have a floor plan that is easy to navigate?
- Is the residence clean and odor-free?
- Are the common areas warm and inviting? Do you see current residents using them?
- Can you see a positive relationship between staff and the resident?
# 3 Reviewing the social, recreational, and physical activity options offered by the facility- The Alzheimer’s Association indicates there is growing evidence that people can reduce their risk of cognitive decline by adopting key lifestyle habits. Ask yourself the following when visiting a senior care assisted living facility:
- Is there a program designed to implement activities for residents?
- Is family welcome?
- Are there programs to involve residents in the community?
- Are personal pets allowed?
- Are there exercise and physical activity programs?
#4 Finally, ask facilitator more specific, care-related questions – Often, for memory care diseases, a multidisciplinary approach to care is the best answer, which means a team of varying individuals provides a well-rounded approach. Make sure to inquire about what type of staff they have on site. Other questions to ask include:
- What is their visitation policy?
- Is there 24-hour assistance provided by staff?
- Is there a written plan for the care of each resident?
- If extra individual care is needed, will it be provided?
- How is medication regulated?
- What are the food services offered? See a sample menu here
#5 Don’t forget about Finances and Contracts – Getting down to the fine details regarding costs can always be scary, however, for any family, it is one of the most important considerations when searching for an assisted living facility. Make sure to get a clear understanding of the questions below:
- What does the contract agreement look like?
- What are the terms of termination?
- Can contracts and agreements be changed to meet the needs of the resident?
- How is temporary care paid for or billed?
- AARP offers extensive information and advice on the various challenges associated with caregiving for someone with Alzheimer’s or other dementia. It also has a useful, well-organized online guide to “Help Caring for Someone with Dementia”.
- The Family Caregiver Alliance Comprehensive Fact Sheet on Caregiving and Dementia.
- The National Institute on Aging website explores the many challenges facing dementia caregivers and offers solutions and resources.
- Alzheimer’s Research Advances -Learn about NIA-supported advances in the quest to find a treatment or cure for Alzheimer’s disease.
- Caregiver.org Comprehensive Care Giving Guide
- National Institute on Health Research – Advances in Alzheimer’s Disease & Related Dementias
Researching an assisted living facility can be overwhelming. At The Inn At Summit Trail, we’re dedicated to helping you every step of the way. For guidance, please contact us here or call (740) 919-4977