27 July, 2021 | 5 min read

Five Factors to Look for in Memory Care Communities

Is your loved one living with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease beginning to need more care and attention than you can provide at home? With the progressive nature of symptoms related to these conditions, it is not uncommon for families to find that addressing them effectively eventually exceeds their abilities.

As symptoms and behaviors increase, so may the stress and strain on the caregiver. Turning to professional care is often the most considerate and compassionate decision you can make.

If your family is researching this option, you might not be entirely sure what to look for in memory care services and communities. The following information can assist you in choosing the most appropriate level of care and community for your loved one.

The advantages of memory care communities

Many of the benefits you’ll find often include (but are not limited to):

  • A safe and secure home and community
  • Care partners trained to address the specific needs of older adults living with cognitive change
  • Therapy and care plans tailored to each resident
  • Nutritious meals and assistance with eating, if needed
  • Life enrichment programs to engage residents through social interaction and planned activities

What to look for in memory care communities

Begin your search by gathering as much information as possible about memory care programs and the communities where they’re offered. Talk to others about their own experiences, and ask for any referrals. You’ll also want to visit a few communities in your area so you can see firsthand the lifestyle and attention your loved one will receive.

Taking note of these five factors during your visits can help you and your family make the best decision for your loved one:

1. Quality of staff and care providers

Carefully evaluate both the community’s philosophy of care as well as those staff members who will be directly responsible for your loved one’s well-being. Ask what type of training they have and if they’ve received specialized education in Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. 

  • Do they have continued and updated instruction in the best practices of memory care? 
  • Do residents have the same caregivers, allowing the staff to better know their preferences?
  • Do the care providers interact with the residents in a professional, compassionate way?

 
2. Does the community feel like home?

For residents experiencing cognitive change, aesthetics aren’t nearly as important as the layout. It is important to be sure that steps have been taken to keep your loved one feeling oriented, independent and less agitated.

  • Have the building and floorplans been designed to specifically meet the daily needs of residents living with cognitive change?
  • Many residents will pace. Are there color-coded hallways or other supportive keys to help them know where they are? 
  • Are residents freely permitted to go outside to a secured courtyard?
 
3. How do the staff and residents interact?

When visiting, pay close attention to the interactions you witness between the staff and the other residents. 

  • Are team members respectful, compassionate and helpful? Are they friendly and appear to enjoy their work?
  • Does the resident seem fearful or comfortable in the interaction? 
  • How are care providers trained to respond to escalating behaviors or to the frustration of a resident? Are they empowered to tailor the solution to the resident and the problem?
 
4.
How are residents encouraged to engage in their surroundings?

Quality of life and staying engaged is just as important to someone who requires memory care as it is to you. Make sure the communities you consider also believe in this philosophy.

  • How does the community and its staff tailor their care to your loved one’s specific needs and preferences?
  • What type of programs or therapies are available, and are there other ways they help their residents feel connected to the world around them?
 
5. What type of residences are available and what is the cost of services?

If a community offers the level of care your loved one needs, you’ll want to consider the specific home choices available. Most communities offer either a private or semi-private room. 

  • Can your parent bring in personal items to customize their residence?
  • What is the cost of their services? 
  • What services are included in this cost, and are additional services available if they are needed?

Questions to ask during your visit

When you schedule tours of memory care communities, it can be helpful to bring this list of questions with you:

  1. What type of qualifications and training does your staff have?
  2. What is the ratio of staff to residents during the day and the night?
  3. How will staff get to know your loved one and prepare a care plan?
  4. Are residents encouraged to be as independent as possible?
  5. How does the staff respond to different behaviors?
  6. What type of living arrangements are available?
  7. Is assistance available for meals if needed?
  8. Is the community easily navigated and secured, including outdoor spaces?
  9. What type of therapies or programs are offered, such as art, music or pet therapies?
  10. What is the cost of memory care and what services are included?

Life at an Eskaton Dawn of a New Day Memory Care Neighborhood

Eskaton offers an exceptional memory care program that provides comfort, security and inspiration for those older adults experiencing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Our Dawn of a New Day memory care neighborhoods offer environments that focus on personal dignity, family support and social engagement.

 In our communities, you’ll find our approach supports the seven domains of well-being:

  • Identity
  • Connectedness
  • Security
  • Choice
  • Meaning
  • Growth
  • Joy

Every Eskaton employee attends the Well-Being Academy, a 16-hour comprehensive educational training program designed to teach our staff how to best support older adults living with physical and cognitive change. We believe that the primary role of each care partner is to identify and understand the changing needs of our residents while working collaboratively with them and their loved ones to provide tailored services that meet their physical and emotional needs.

Eskaton's memory care neighborhoods offer the intimacy of private or semi-private accommodations in conjunction with the social atmosphere of the common living room, dining area, recreation rooms and outdoor courtyards. Regular social interaction is one of the many benefits of community living and residents enjoy the opportunity to experience the world through art, music, gardening, fitness classes, outdoor excursions and pet therapy programs.

If you’re considering whether a memory care community could be the best choice for your loved one, we’re here to answer any questions you may have. We also invite you to download our complimentary resource guide, A Family Guide to Funding Senior Living and Services.

Please call 1-866-ESKATON or 1-866-375-2866 if you would like to discuss the many benefits of senior living or to schedule a personalized tour.

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