My father’s Alzheimer’s disease has progressed to the point where our family cannot keep him safe at home any longer. My mother, brother and I are just beginning to research dementia care programs available at the assisted living communities near his home in southeast Michigan. I am trying to develop a list of questions to ask when we call and visit each of these communities. Do you have any suggestions on what we should ask? We want to make sure we make the best decision possible for my Dad’s senior care.
It sounds like you are already on the right track by developing a list of questions that will help you get to know each memory care assisted living community a little better. Because Alzheimer’s disease presents unique challenges for caregivers, there are a few questions you definitely need to ask. Here are a few we recommend:
- What kind of training does the staff who works with Alzheimer’s residents receive?
- How often do they attend additional trainings to keep their skills updated?
- Is there a dedicated memory care section of the building? Is it secure?
- How does the community support each person’s physical limitations while still preserving their remaining abilities?
- Is the physical environment of the memory care program designed to support success for people with dementia? Is it clutter-free and calm? Are visual cues in place?
- Are meals adapted to meet the physical changes that are common with more advanced Alzheimer’s disease? (i.e. offering finger foods that don’t require the use of kitchen utensils.)
- Is a care plan developed for each resident? How often is it updated?
- Does the community offer physical activities that people with dementia care participate in?
- Does the Life Enrichment Director plan programs just for residents who have memory loss?
- Is there an emergency plan in place just in case a person with Alzheimer’s wanders away?
- How does the community safely manage medications?
I hope this list is helpful, Diane! If you would like to learn more about specialty dementia care and the features and benefits we offer at Heritage Senior Communities across Michigan, we invite you to call the community closest to your father to arrange a tour.