As we age our brains change. In particular, the hippocampus has been shown to lose about 5% of the nerve cells is has each decade. By the time we reach our 80s, it has lost about 20% them. The entire brain shrinks and its efficiency decreases as we get older. One major problem aging people have is the development of Alzheimer’s disease. This is one of the leading causes of death, it ranks as number six, it cannot be prevented, slowed down or cured. About 33% of all seniors are killed by Alzheimer’s disease or some other form of dementia. If a family member, or other loved one, is starting to suffer from problems with Alzheimer’s or dementia, you may be in the market for a good memory care facility. Here are some steps you can take to find the right one.
- Talk to your friends. You probably know someone who has had to find a memory care facility for someone they love. The good news about most assisted care facilities is that the people living in them are happier than they expected to be. Talk to the people in your life who have gone though this process. They can give you information about how they found the dementia care plan and what they think of the center.
- Talk to the person’s doctor. Most people who are in assisted living communities have more than one issue. More than three quarters of the people who live in an assisted living center have at least two chronic care problems. Alzheimer’s disease, dementias and high blood pressure are the most common problems. Their doctor is familiar with the person’s health and they may know of assisted care living facilities that you should consider.
- Visit the centers you are considering. You should do research online but nothing can take the place of taking a tour and talking to the residents and staff. Here are some things you should pay attention to when you go (this list is in no particular order):
- What is the food like? Go to the memory care facility during a meal. The quality of the food can really have an impact on the quality of life for the people who live there. You also need to make sure they can handle any special requirements for food such as allergies and religious preferences.
- Ask about staff turnover. You want to find a memory care facility where the staff is happy and are treated well. Unhappy staff do not do a good job. Look at how the staff interact with the residents. Ask about staff training. You need to know the staff can help when it is needed.
- Ask about the levels of care they can provide. Every person who is looking for a spot in memory care facilities needs their own level of care. There are some out there that have medical staff on site 24 hours a day and seven days a week. After talking to the person’s doctor, you will know what level of care your loved one will need.
- Ask about the rooms. There may be a different cost of assisted living facilities when the people have private vs. semi-private room. It may be worth spending the extra money if it will make a difference for your loves one.
- Ask about the activities they have. If your family member enjoys games or sports, you should look for places where they can participate in them as long as possible. You should make sure your loved one can participate in religious services if those are important to them.
- Ask about the policy for discharge. No matter how hard you look and how much research you do, there is always the chance that things will not work out. Knowing in advance what the policy is can help a lot.
National Research did a study of customer satisfaction at independent living facilities in 2012. They discovered that almost 60% of residents looked at the place before they moved in. This made this one of the best ways for people to find the right memory care facility for their loved one. You will feel better about your choice if you did the work beforehand.