Are you beginning to feel you need someone else to provide full time care for your loved one living with dementia? Do you need to know what makes a good dementia care community?
Choosing A Memory Care Community
People living with dementia will go through different stages of care need because dementia is progressive, chronic and terminal.
In all of the stages, the person will have definite strengths and abilities, and while these abilities do change and decline, there are always things that we can do to support the remaining abilities. If plans are not made before these changes occur, families can find themselves in a crisis.
Below are questions and tips you want to be sure to ask about when searching for the right memory care support for your parent, spouse or friend.
Mission & Vision
- What is the mission of the community?
- When I visit the community do I see the same vision I felt when reading the brochure or website?
- Was I greeted or spoken to by team members other than the sales director touring me through the community?
- Did I meet or see the directors or leaders during my visit?
- Did I observe positive resident and staff interactions?
- Notice where offices of leadership team members are located. Are they easily accessible for residents and families?
- Are outside affiliate service partners encouraged and made available?
- Does the community have residents or family members willing to share about their personal experience with visitors?
- How are person specific care fees determined and are there online billing options for families?
- Are there occasions, like hospital recovery, when the community would require you to provide additional paid staff or services?
- Is a family notified ahead of time when care or assisted service supports are added to a monthly bill?
- What is the retention rate of team members?
- What is the ratio of staff to residents?
- Does this ratio include hands on care staff only or servers, housekeeping, activity and concierge team members?
- Does this ratio exceed state and national standards?
- How many hours of initial training are required before staff can begin working?
- What are their required credentials and qualifications for new hires?
- Is there ongoing monthly continuing education and training?
- What specifics can I expect from the staff?
- What happens if my loved one does not get along with a particular staff member?
- In a 24 hour period how many different staff can I expect my loved one to be interacting with?
- Is the community staffing ratios different on weekends?
- Are there opportunities for staff and families to communicate about residents needs?
- Are staff schedules and care tasks consistent or always changing?
- Do you observe the staff engaging with residents about more than their physical or medical care?
- Is there a variety of engagement and activity opportunities spread throughout the day?
- What activity is happening after 7pm for residents who don’t want to be alone or have late bedtimes?
- Who from the staff communicates with family and how often?
- What is the protocol if there is an emergency for the person or in the community?
Engagement is extremely important when looking at memory care as communication abilities of residents are often limited. Connection must come first in most cases before a person living with dementia will allow or receive the help they need.
Orchard at Athens understands not all states or stages of dementia require the same support. The Spectrum of Care needs for persons living with dementia is quite varied and includes a wide range of personal ability.
- How do staff members engage residents before attempting physical care?
- Is there a separate engagement or activity team?
- Are the families provided with a monthly calendar or schedule of events and activities taking place?
- Are families encouraged to participate in celebrations or daily happenings?
- Is their variety in activity?
- Are the residents provided the opportunity to be engaged in activities that promote well-being; leisure, rest, health and wellness or productive types of activity?
- Does the programming general or does it reflect the individual preferences, and skills?
- What is the method to discover and match personal preferences and skills?
- Are all activities held onsite?
- Are there opportunities to connect with the local Athens area outside of the assisted living community to attend, for example, church, concerts, or festivals?
Many dementia support communities in Athens and the surrounding areas of Bogart, Winterville, Hull, Statham, Ashland, and Winder provide dementia care but only security in a very small area of their community. What specifically does “security” mean for the community you are visiting when it comes to caring for someone with dementia?
- What specific measures has the community taken to ensure security and safety when someone is living with dementia?
- Is the community partially or totally secure when it comes to locked doors within the building or to the outside?
- Do residents have access to the outdoors or outside of their personal living space?
- Will residents have the experience of being “trapped” or “locked inside”?
- Is there a pass code or easy entrance for visitors and families to secure areas?
- How often are residents allowed outside of secure areas?
Everyone has things that they are good at and things that they struggle with, and it is important to know the difference.
When someone finds themselves in the role of a caregiver, it is important to take an honest look at strengths and struggles so that you can begin to look for help if you need it. And Orchard at Athens seeks to always encourage the personal strengths of others.
Research suggests that 65% of primary caregivers will have a major health crisis or die before their loved one. This is often due to lack of self awareness and attention toward the personal needs of the caregiver themselves.
When a primary caregiver attempts to take on all responsibilities required in supporting someone living with brain change, it can be very difficult on them.
Identifying strengths and struggles will assist you in finding the right support community that can strengthen the relationship and quality of life for both people.
There are a lot of variables to consider when looking at senior living and memory care. Orchard at Athens is a community that was intentionally designed to provide the most innovative and best dementia care available in Athens, Georgia.
We are committed to being a dementia friendly and inclusive community. We welcome any family wanting to learn more about dementia care and have an enormous number of resources and connections to help you navigate your journey now and or in the future. Join us for an educational event, a dementia support group, or a private 1 on 1 consultation. Take a next step for yourself and come visit or talk today!