Cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia take a toll on everyone involved, from the person affected to the people who love them. Sometimes it’s necessary to find a specialized care facility to give everyone the best possible aid and quality of life.
Choosing a memory care facility is slightly more nuanced than selecting a generalized assisted living facility. Here are some key considerations to ensure the person affected by a progressive cognitive disease is getting the care they need.
Look for Specialized Training
Care providers at a memory care facility should have specialized training to handle the necessary tasks associated with degenerative cognitive diseases. The regulations around training and care for assisted living facilities are pretty standard with a one-size-fits-all approach. Look for a facility that trains care providers beyond the bare minimum and offers continued education opportunities.
When it comes to Alzheimer’s and dementia, research is always highlighting improvements in treatment plans and case management. You want a facility that has a forward-thinking philosophy and strives to offer the latest in data and research.
Consider the Staff-to-Resident Ratio
The staff-to-resident ratio will dramatically impact the quality of care your loved one receives. Cedar Creek, which is considered the best memory care facility in Silver Spring, boasts a 1:3 staff to patient ratio in the day, and 1:4 in the evenings. This ratio is the golden standard for care in memory facilities.
Many exhausted caregivers are well aware of how challenging it can be to monitor someone with a memory disease; the fewer patients to staff, the better.
Evaluate the Site Layout
In general assisted living facilities, the layout of the building and premises is a convenience factor. When considering a memory care facility, the site layout will directly impact your loved one’s experience. The layout should be safe, comfortable, and intuitive, making it easier for those with Alzheimer’s or dementia to navigate without experiencing duress.
Ideally, the decorative features will also be comforting and welcoming as well. When you tour a facility, imagine yourself waking up there with no recollection of how you arrived or why you’re there. A sterile, clinical setting with hospital-like features could be confusing. A cozy, warm setting will provide a subconscious level of comfort when your loved one is disoriented.
Ask About Care Progression
Unfortunately, dementia progresses over time and changes the level of care your loved one might need. When they first enter a memory care facility, a resident may only require basic assistance — in essence, someone to ensure they’re safe and accounted for. As the disease progresses, they may need more help with personal hygiene, and so on.
Ideally, you’ll find one place where the person can stay as the disease progresses. Stability is essential when providing memory care, and it’s important to make as few changes as possible.
Ask About Cognition-Centric Activities
Memory care facilities should be incorporating activities that provide mental stimulation and enhanced cognitive function. Ask about what planned activities are provided and how they decide which programs are offered.
Evaluate the Safety Measures
Safety is the number one reason why many people look for memory care facilities in the first place. Those experiencing cognitive decline often forget to turn the stove off or wander away and get lost. Memory care facilities should have extra measures in place to protect your loved ones, including alarms on the door and emergency alert systems.
Consider Dignity and Empowerment
Finally, it’s crucial to find a memory care facility that promotes dignity and empowerment. Your loved one should still feel in control and self-assured on their good days. Look for a facility that lets residents have agency to decide what activities they want to try and how they take their meals, for example.
With these considerations, you can find a high-quality memory care facility to keep your loved one safe and healthy.