Important Questions to Ask Before Moving Into a Memory Care Environment
If you are in the process of searching for a suitable Memory Care environment or Respite Care environment for your loved one living with Memory Loss, there are a few things to keep in mind. Not every Memory Care environment offers the same services and not every place provides specialized Memory Care.Â
So, how do you know which one is right for your loved one? You ask questions. You ask a lot of questions.Â
Below, we have compiled a list of you should ask when looking into Memory Care.
Who Makes Up Your Care Team?
One of the first questions to ask is what staffing is onsite at the Memory Care environment. Having a team that includes a Director of Care, visiting physicians, licensed nurses, personal support workers, recreation therapists and other specialty trained staff ensures the physical, emotional, and mental health of Members are always addressed.Â
What Are Your Staffing Ratios?
By asking what ratios are available during day and nighttime hours is important to understand the level of care that is being provided.Â High staffing ratios of at least 7 Clients: 1 Staff Member is needed to ensure that people living with Memory Loss get the time and attention they need.Â Â Â
What Medical Services Are Available?
Some environments provide onsite visiting physician offices, pharmacies, podiatry care, optometrists, dental hygenists, physical and occupational therapy, massage and even lab services. Ask about the specialized services offered.Â
What Type of Dementia Techniques Is Used?
Reputable Memory Care environments have a set of polices and procedures in respect to working and responding with people living with Memory Loss. Ask about the physical and social techniques used in various scenarios.Â
What Type of Training Do Team Members Have?
Team Members should have specialized training and education related to dementia. From behavioral challenges to mobility and emotional struggles, Team Members should be able to react and respond with appropriate actions.Â
What Types of Accommodations Are Available?
Ask if the living arrangements are private or shared. With long-term accommodations, discuss whether the Memory Care environment can accommodate your loved one if they experience changes with their health or cognitive function and for how long.Â
Are the Buildings and Grounds Secured?
The inside of the building should offer well-lit hallways, motion sensors, and call buttons. The outer walkways, gardens, and seating areas should be well-maintained with security measures to ensure no one wanders away.Â
Is the Atmosphere Warm and Friendly?
First impressions are everything, particularly when it comes to scouting for a new living space. Is the Memory Care environment clean and organized? Do you feel comfortable and welcomed upon entering?Â
Are the Members Clean and Well-Groomed?
Take note when having a guided tour on the appearance and actions of the Members. Are they engaged in with others? Do they appear to be well cared for in their hygiene and other grooming matters?Â
What Memory Care Activities Are Included?
Ask about the options available and what form of assistance is available for each person living with Memory Loss. Scheduled activities are usually customized to accommodate various abilities. Ask to see an activity calendar and look to see during your tour if the Members look engaged.Â Â
Are Fitness and Wellness Programs Offered?
Ask if there are physical fitness programs tailored to the abilities and mobility of individual Members of the Memory Care environment. Light therapy, art therapy, and music therapy can help initiate and enhance a personâ€™s abilities.Â
Does the Community Offer Pet or Reminiscence Therapy?
Two common interactions for people living with Memory Loss is pet therapy and reminiscence therapy. Ask if there is a local organization that brings trained animals to the Memory Care environment on a regular basis.Â
Are Any Special Events or Holiday Celebrations Held Throughout the Year?
Find out which holidays are observed and how Members at the Memory Care environment can participate. Also ask if any special events are planned on a weekly or monthly basis.Â
How Many Meals or Snacks Are Provided Each Day?
This can be a huge factor in determining if the person living with Memory Loss will receive proper care as the Memory Care environment should provide at least three meals each day with two to three separate snack times. Also look to see if specialized diets are provided if needed, and if there is a chef on-site preparing the food.Â Â
What Kinds of Beverages Are Included?
While it may be assumed that tea, coffee, juice, and water are part of meal plans, itâ€™s better to ask now. Ask about the beverages available and if there are any alcoholic beverages served or available for additional purchase or can be stored for the Member.Â
Are Meals Covered by a Nutrition Plan?
Doctors and nutritionists understand the connection between food and Memory Loss. It is imperative that any meals provided are designed to provide proper nutrition. Ask if individual plans are available for those following specialized diets.Â
Can Family/Friends Join Their Loved Ones for Meals?
Memory Care environments have specific regulations and policies that must be adhered to by Team Members, Members, and visitors, especially at mealtimes. Ask if any guidelines are in place with family and friends visiting.Â
What Are the Basic Costs and What Is Covered?
We cannot put a price on receiving the best care for our loved ones living with Memory Loss; however, it bears the question, how much? Ensure you understand ALL the fees.Â Â
Ask how often a bath/shower is included in the basic fees
Ask if medication administration is an additional fee?
Do You Offer Housekeeping/Laundry Services?
Most people living with Memory Loss may need assistance with housekeeping duties and laundry. Ask if any of these services are available and if these services are on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.Â
Do You Have Any Additional Locations?
If the existing location you are considering is out of town or quite a distance away from the family members of the person living with Memory Loss, the owners may have another place to consider.Â
Do You Have Spa/Salon Services?
Ask if there are any salon and/or spa facilities onsite. If not, ask if there is a visiting service or transportation provided to a local establishment.Â
Memory & Company Offers VIP Treatment for People Living with Memory Loss
At Memory & Company, we provide compassionate long-term Memory Care and short-term Respite Care to those living with Memory Loss and their care partners. We welcome you to experience our Memory Care environments for yourself with a personal guided tour, and a complimentary visit/trial day in our Premium Day Program.Â Â
We are happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have. Call us to book an appointment at (905) 888-8808.
Victor Kwong is the Founder, Co-Owner, and Director of Innovation & Technology at Memory & Company. He has a background in teaching and policing, and currently works as a spokesperson, Public and Media Relations Officer for a metropolitan police department. Victor is passionate about working with seniors and maintaining human interaction. He is also the recipient of an award for rescuing seniors from a fire at a long-term care facility and the recipient of a life-saving award for resuscitating a passenger and coordinating the subsequent emergency landing of an international flight.