Key Questions to Ask When Touring a Memory Care Community

If you are new to the world of Alzheimer’s and Dementia and have never entered a Memory Care Community before, it can be difficult to know what to expect. Especially if your loved one is in the earlier stages of dementia, entering a locked community and meeting residents that are much further along in their memory care needs can be a shock that is difficult to prepare for. The questions listed below will assist you in unveiling the key aspects the building has to offer by highlighting what you feel is most important for your loved one.

Before reading further, if you have not read Key Questions to Ask When Touring an Assisted Living Community, click the link and read that article first. Because every question that is pertinent while touring an Assisted Living Community needs to be asked during a Memory Care tour as well. The printable checklist below this article includes questions from both articles.

Activities:
Although activities in Assisted Living are important, because most Memory Care Residents are unable to entertain themselves, having a healthy ever growing activity program is crucial to obtaining quality of life for residents with Alzheimer’s or Dementia. One major aspect to this is Music Therapy.

1. What types of outings are available for Memory Care?(Look for a variety such as country drives, lunch outings, and field trips)
2. Activities that support cognitive function? (Singfit, trivia, etc.)
3. Music Therapy and other anxiety relief activities?
4. Pretty and accessible outside courtyard area with evidence of activity.
5. Lots of natural lighting throughout the whole building, including individual rooms. (This will help fight depression and actually assist in encouraging residents to participate in activities.)

Personal Care:
The goal of these questions are to get a sense of how individualistic the care provided is as well as how compassionate and creative the health services team can be when it comes to certain hurdles.

1. What is an example of when your community developed a creative intervention to assist a resident either with behaviors or physical complications?
2. Do you require that a new intervention be put in place for every fall/major incident? (you want to hear yes, they should be continuously trying new interventions if the first ones don’t work)
2. Visiting hours?
3. When touring a community notice if the care staff are smiling and approachable, it is important to know that you would feel comfortable coming to them with concerns if ever need be.

Legalities:
Some of the questions in this section are difficult to discuss, and you may feel the desire to skip over them in the tour, especially if you feel your loved one hasn’t reached that point. However, taking the moment to ask the hard questions now will protect and prepare you and your loved one for the future.

1. What is your community’s restraint policy?
2. What are your community’s views on medicating a resident for behaviors?
3. What is your typical response time to a pendant alert?
4. Are your care staff trained on an ongoing basis (after initial hire) in de-escalation and escort services? If yes, how so?

The most important thing to remember while visiting any Senior Living Community is to follow your gut. If your inner voice is telling you something is not right, then it’s probably true. If you are able to, visit a community more than once before making a decision. It is impossible to gather all the information and the true personality of the community in just one viewing, and it’s important to make sure you’re as confident and comfortable as you can be moving forward. 

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