Questions To Ask Memory Care Facility Staff As A Caregiver

Sometimes you have to turn the tables, adjust your perspective and look at things from a different viewpoint in order to discover the proper solution. This is certainly the case when it’s time to hunt for the right type of memory care for yourself ― or a senior loved one.

Life changes tremendously when it’s time to plan for memory care. Remember: while this may feel like a compromise of autonomy and “normal” life, the ideal memory care community reclaims these things in a new way.

Questions To Ask Memory Care Facility Staff

By playing a gentle, assertive role throughout your interviews with prospective memory care facilities' directors and staff, you'll know when you've found "the one."

You will be the one choosing the location and who will care for your loved ones as their Alzheimer's or dementia worsens. You'll need to hone your "interviewing skills" as you determine which memory care homes or centers fit your requirements.

Do you have a Medical Director on staff?

Who is in charge, so to speak, of the residents' physical and emotional health?

A community that is committed to the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of its residents will have the necessary leadership so ensure that they have a Medical Director.

Are there registered nurses or licensed practical nurses on staff? How many, if so? Are they on-site 24 hours a day?

The majority of high-quality memory care facilities employ RNs and/or LPNs. They are responsible for any physical and/or medical demands that may emerge throughout the day. When necessary, experienced nursing staff at these facilities report directly to the community's lead physicians.

Consistent staff assignments (same caregivers caring for the same patients) develop meaningful relationships and personalized care. In an ideal world, skilled medical personnel would be available 24 hours a day.

What medical services do you offer?

The majority of residents' medical needs can be diagnosed and treated on-site, including:

  • Home Health
  • PT/OT/SP Therapy
  • Hospice
  • Labs
  • X-Rays
  • Pharmacy
  • Podiatry

This expedites care and removes uncertainty associated with resident location changes and out-of-the-ordinary visits.

What type of training does your staff receive?

All members of the caregiving staff should receive ongoing, annual training in accordance with current memory care best practices. It is necessary to document participation in professional education or training.

What are staffing ratios for each shift?

A memory care facility's ability to promote resident safety and well-being is enhanced by a low staff-to-resident ratio. Ideally, you want a resident-to-staff ratio of 1:6. (or better).

Additional Questions About Memory Care Policies & Fees

  • Can my loved ones remain in this facility until the end of their lives, or will they be forced to relocate if their care becomes too extensive?
  • What types of care are prohibited in your community?
  • What is the policy on medical emergencies/emergency room visits?
  • Does a staff member accompany the resident to the emergency room?
  • What is your notice policy for family members?
  • What is the policy regarding discharge?
  • Is the community all-inclusive, or do other prices apply (e.g., cable television, phone, pharmaceutical fees, level of care costs, activities/outings, transportation)?
  • Is it possible for my loved ones to return to the institution if they require outside rehab?
  • What happens if my loved one is unable to walk?

Finally, memory care communities should offer a diverse range of daily activities — morning, afternoon, and evening — to residents. This ensures that your loved one has access to enjoyable, engaging, and stimulating activities regardless of the time of day.

These activities should reflect a diversity of interests, hobbies, and preferred modes of transportation. All of the following should include: art, music, poetry, music, games, dancing, supervised cooking, sports and exercise, and social activities.

These activities have been shown to decrease the progression of dementia and Alzheimer's disease and improve the mood of those experiencing cognitive deterioration.

However, do not overlook the most crucial question of all...

Which memory care community gives you the greatest sense of safety, comfort, and security?

Keep an eye on your intuition. While the answers to your questions are critical when exploring prospective communities, so is your intuition.

For more dementia resources, check Senior Strong’s health and wellness section.

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