When a senior loved one’s dementia requires care and support that family members can’t safely provide at home, a memory care community might be the best solution. From a secure environment to dedicated dining and life enrichment activities, they are designed to help adults with dementia enjoy their best quality of life.

If you are unfamiliar with assisted living or memory care, it might be tough to figure out where to start. Making an informed decision requires asking the right questions and focusing on the core factors of quality care.

As you search for memory care communities, here are some tips for avoiding the most common mistakes.

Avoiding Mistakes in the Search for Memory Care

Mistake #1: Failing to tour the community

While online research and speaking with the community’s team by phone can help you narrow down your choices, you need to see the community in person. If local memory care communities are restricting visitors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ask them to arrange a virtual tour instead. That will at least give you an opportunity to look around and get a feel for the community.

Mistake #2: Making location the top priority

While it’s important for you to visit and check on your senior loved one easily, location shouldn’t be your top priority. Memory care is a unique program and finding a quality community might require you to travel a little farther. From community safety to caregiver qualifications, dining program, and life enrichment activities, there are other criteria of equal or greater importance.

Mistake #3: Failing to ask the right questions about caregivers

Dementia care is unlike other types of senior living. Team members who work with adults who have Alzheimer’s disease or a similar form of dementia need specialized training. Make sure you ask about what type of training dementia caregivers undergo and how often they attend continuing education programs.

Also ask what the ratio of residents to caregivers is and how long the average staff member has been on board. Both play a vital role in the quality and continuity of care.

Mistake #4: Not checking surveys, reviews, and references

Memory care communities typically fall under the umbrella of assisted living. As such, they are licensed at the state level. Each state sets their own rules and regulations for providers to follow. Surveys are routinely conducted to evaluate the community’s compliance. Most states publish survey results on the Department of Aging or Department of Health and Human Services website.

Be sure to read online reviews and seek input from your friends and colleagues. Feedback from someone you know and trust who has experience with the community is invaluable.

Memory Care at Heritage Senior Communities

At Heritage communities we call our specialized dementia care unit The Terrace. In a thoughtfully designed environment, we use a person-centered approach to meet the care needs of each resident. Visit the Specialized Memory Care section of our website for more details and a list of our dementia communities throughout Michigan!