When a senior in your family is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of cognitive loss, choosing the right memory care can be a challenging process.
Opting for placement in a senior living community like Episcopal Church Home (ECH) in Louisville might be the best course of action, but you’ll naturally have many questions about which care center might be the right fit.
Your family should ask these five questions when choosing a retirement community or memory care provider for the senior you care about.
1. Is the memory care center designed for “safe wandering”?
Wandering is a typical symptom in people with dementia — 60 percent of those with advanced dementia exhibit the behavior. Today’s standards of care encourage walking in safe spaces, as it may help to preserve and extend cognitive function.
2. What’s the resident-to-staff ratio?
When you’re choosing a residential memory care community for your loved one, look for one that has fewer residents per staff member.
When you visit, watch to see if staff members know each person in their care, including their likes, dislikes and regular behaviors. The lower the ratio, the more individualized time and attention is given to each person receiving care.
3. What memory care therapies or social engagement do you provide?
Does the memory care home provide therapeutic movement sessions like yoga, or music or art therapy? Each is associated with improvements in recall, reductions in outbursts, and more reported contentment and happiness. They may even slow the inevitable decline.
It is ideal for all residents to be encouraged to participate fully in activities around the campus. Ask if there is a calendar available and if events are open to families joining in. Engaging in life, not simply being busy, can help your loved one maintain a sense of connection to you and to their new community.
4. Have you designed the best possible spaces for memory care?
Memory care apartments should be bright, warm, and welcoming for residents and their families. Look for fresh and vibrant spaces with bursts of energizing colors throughout the decor. Take notice of the kitchen and dining areas.
Which features catch your eye? Does it look like a place you would want to call home? When you tour a resident’s room, what features do you notice? Are the furnishings attractive? Would the walls accommodate family photos and other individual preferences?
In ECH’s memory care neighborhoods, each bedroom doorway features a beautiful curio display for personal mementos that are precious to the resident and their family members. This personalization is welcoming and provides a fitting transition from private space to community space while giving clues to the resident about which door is theirs.
Pay close attention to safety features. Are they included in the design of the resident bathrooms? The flooring should be a slip-resistant surface with a texture that helps residents maintain stability as they navigate throughout the room.
5. Does the community fit your family’s budget?
Will your loved one’s retirement income and/or nest egg support the monthly cost of his or her residential memory care at your first-choice community? Will it accept your relative’s long-term care insurance or Medicare supplement plan? What happens if your parent or grandparent outlives his or her resources?
At Episcopal Church Home, we promise families — as part of our not-for-profit, person-centered care mission — that their loved ones will never be asked to leave due to financial hardship. Care for elders who outlive their resources is subsidized by generous community donations to our Promise Fund.
Ask the right questions when choosing a memory care facility for your loved one. The older adult care advocates at Episcopal Church Home (ECH) want to help your loved ones when a transition to memory care is the best choice.
Click here to learn more about our retirement communities or call 502-736-7800 to schedule a tour. We'd love to show you around and let you see the difference that person-centered, dignified care makes in our residents' lives.