As you tour Memory Care communities, get an understanding of what your loved one will experience staying here. Ask the staff questions, observe the atmosphere, and see if that community will be a good fit for your loved one.
If you are in the process of making this decision, here are some questions to ask yourself the staff as you tour and consider various possibilities:
Ask About the Environment
- Is it cozy? Is the atmosphere comfortable and homelike?
- How is the temperature in the senior living center?
- Are there items of interest on the wall to attract attention and engage the residents?
- Is television or soothing music happening if there is not a scheduled activity going on?
- Do you see residents out and about, chatting together?
- Do you see staff interacting warmly with residents?
- Do residents seem calm and content, overall?
Questions for the Staff
- Are staff members trained in dementia care on a computer, or do they get plenty of in-person instruction?
- How much training does the front-line staff get upon hire and yearly on different dementia topics?
- Are staff warm and friendly towards visitors?
- Do staff members seem to take their time around residents, or are they rushing?
- If you have the opportunity away from residents, ask a staff member, “What do you like about working with people living with dementia?”
- Ask how staff members are trained to deal with challenging situations.
- What is the ratio of staff to residents?
- Is Memory Care currently full now?
- How many Memory Care residents will there be when it is full?
- Ask how consistent the staffing patterns are. Will your loved one have the same person helping them for a certain number of days in a row? Consistent staffing patterns are a very good sign, as are caregivers who have worked at the site or in Memory Care for many years.
Learn About the Activities
- Is there an activity staff person specifically assigned to the Memory Care community?
- Are activities ever scheduled after supper? How about on the weekend?
- If you get an activities schedule, look to see if the weekend schedule is as full as the weekday schedule.
- Ask to observe an activity. Note the level of engagement of the participants. Is the activity being done for the residents or with the residents? Is there a lot of interaction and participation?
- How much is music a regular part of the life of the community?
- Are there any service projects being done?
- Do Assisted Living residents and Memory Care residents ever come together and interact?
- How would my loved one be made to feel part of this community?
Ask About Available Support for Family Members
- Is there a Care Partner Support Group that meets onsite or nearby?
- How often are educational presentations given about dementia or related issues?
- How often will I be invited to attend a care conference concerning my loved one?
- Has this site had experience with different types of dementia (such as Lewy Body, Frontotemporal, and Vascular)? Even if your loved one has Alzheimer’s disease, the most common type of dementia, you want to know if the site has experience and training on working with different types of dementia.
Think about your loved one, their personality, their habits, their interests, and their accomplishments, and ask specific questions to determine how all of that might be catered to.
As a leader in Memory Care with our Dimensions Program, we’d love to help you in navigating Memory Care living options, support and resources that may be available to you. Contact an Ebenezer Memory Care nearest to you to begin the conversation.