Most memory care facilities these days are built and run incorrectly. Many facilities built as memory care facilities are either made with Alzheimer care as an afterthought or not focusing on Alzheimer care. They are made based on old preconceptions that the needs of the elderly are all the same and on the basis for maximizing profits. I plan on writing about that later but I will focus on what you should look for now.
Does the facility have an outside area?
People who suffer from Alzheimer/Dementia are often times wander risk. Many facilities will have very little outside area access and often times none at all.
Too many memory care facilities were built as assisted living or independent care senior living housing. They assume having a club room is enough and that residents will simply take trips or walk outside the facility grounds if they want physical activity.
Even worse is that clients with little access to area to wander will often become agitated and are given medication to reduce agitation.
Does the facility look like a home?
I was touring a facility that looked like a typical hotel-like facility and the marketing person touring would tell this story that they often time had to tell the clients that lunch was free, because the clients assumed they were in a hotel on vacation waiting to go home. It wasn’t uncommon that clients would walk up to a caregiver and tell them they need to go home and every caregiver would just convince them to stay the night because their room was paid and that they would go home tomorrow.
Even in a home like facility this is common, but a home like environment it gets easier for many elderly to be relaxed and avoid situations where they are constantly agitated trying to leave. On a side note this is one of the reasons it’s usually better to move someone into a facility sooner rather than
The facility should focus on Alzheimer/Dementia Memory Care
Many Facilities include Assisted, and independent wings. While this may be convenient for spouses who want to live near their spouse who suffers from Alzheimer/Dementia. First the reason they do this is because they believe that their independent and assisted wing will naturally feed into their Alzheimer wing. 40 percent of the people over the age of 90 end up having Alzheimer and dementia.
First you want the entire management to be focused on caring for Alzheimer/Dementia. It is essential that Caregivers and Administrators have a long history with people with Alzheimer/Dementia but that they want to work with people who suffer from Alzheimer/Dementia.
Newer is not better
People believe a newer nicer facility is always better but it is not. Think of it this way, do you want to go to a restaurant when it first opens? Caring for Alzheimer people pay is more about the people than it is about the facility. Good people stay with good companies. Caregivers that work in facilities while are in high demand, don’t usually make more money at one facility or the other. They will often stay because of good management. So a caregiver who moves from place to place usually doesn’t do so for the money. They do it, because they are asked to leave or because they don’t like how the current place they work out is being run. So caregiver turnover is very important.
When you tour a facility ask everyone from caregiver, to marketer, to administrator how long they have worked at the facility and how long they have worker with Alzheimer/Dementia clients.
There is a great deal of turnover in this industry so a lower turnover shows that the facility is committed on hiring and keeping the best caregivers. Every client is unique and it is important that each caregiver figure out how best to care for each client. Also while I have no proof I firmly believe that even a person with Alzheimer/Dementia may not be able to recognize a person, they on some level develop comfort if they deal with the same caregiver day in and out.
Who runs this place?
Like an office, hotel or apartment; it’s common for management companies to manage Alzheimer/Dementia care facilities. However taking care of an apartment complex is nothing like taking care of people with memory care. Management companies often times sacrifice care for profitability. You want the people who own the facility to also run the facility. To that ask if the facility is run by a management company and if they are, find out for how long.
You don’t want a management company who has only taken over the facility for 2 years in a building 20 years old. A management company who has been there for 10 years is a good indication that they are invested in the reputation of the facility for the long term instead of maximizing profitability.