Choosing a memory care facility for your loved one can be daunting. The needs of memory care patients grow as time goes on. Your loved one will come to depend more and more on the staff of the facility you choose, and you want to make sure you can depend on them as well. Here are five questions to help guide your search.
Is the facility difficult to navigate?
During your search, you’ll visit several different memory care facilities. On those visits, your mind will be racing as you try to take everything in. How is the place kept up? Is there an outdoor space? What is the food like? But it’s important to go further and try to imagine what it would be like to live life as a resident in the facility. In particular, take note of how easy it is to get around. Do you feel like every hallway looks the same? Would you be able to get around without your guide? While your loved one will have aid and supervision readily available, they should also be able to get around by themselves to some extent. Hallways that seem to go on forever can be disorienting. But personal decorations on doors and distinct areas along the way can serve as familiar guideposts to help your loved one get around their new home.
How and when were staff trained?
Memory care providers receive specialized training to be able to properly care for patients. Beyond asking what the staff were trained on, ask how they were trained. If they simply watched videos, that’s likely not the level of expertise you’re searching for. Not only should training be thorough, it should also be ongoing. Memory care, like all other areas of medicine, is constantly evolving. You want to ensure that your loved one is always benefitting from the most up-to-date knowledge.
How long have staff members worked at the facility?
The memory care facility will serve as a new home for your loved one. Hopefully, the staff will get to feel like family. But how do you evaluate something like that upfront? You can start by asking how long staff members have been at the facility. If it seems like there’s a “revolving door” with staff coming and going, that’s not a good sign. It likely means that the staff are unhappy, which is a good indication that this is not the facility for your loved one. Additionally, a rotating cast of caregivers can be disorienting for your loved one, and can hinder their ability to get comfortable in their new surroundings.
Who arranges outside medical appointments?
During your search for the right facility, you’ll undoubtedly inquire about the medical staff on-hand. But regardless of on-site resources, residents will typically require visits to other facilities as well. Are you responsible for scheduling these appointments and providing transportation, or will the memory care facility handle the arrangements? Knowing the answer to this question will help you plan accordingly for the future.
Is the facility easy to travel to?
No matter how great the staff at the memory care facility, nothing beats a visit from loved ones. Keep travel in mind, and do your best not to leave it as the last concern. A drive you dread is going to have one of two consequences: Anger while making the trip, or guilt for not making the trip. And that’s true whether you live nearby or you’re coming from far away. Will you be flying in for visits? Will other family members? Be sure to check out travel to and from the airport, and nearby accommodations if necessary.