Senior Living Options

Questions to Ask Assisted Living Communities About Alzheimer’s and Memory Care

Alzheimer’s Question ListOne of the most difficult decisions a family member or caregiver can make is that of finding a safe, healthful and secure living arrangement for someone needing Alzheimer’s care. When making a personal visit to assisted living communities, you should use every opportunity you have to ask questions about Alzheimer’s and memory care that concern you. It may be helpful if you divide your questions between three main topics – staff, levels of care and amenities and the community.

When asking the assisted living staff questions, you have to determine if these individuals have the skill level and temperament that is needed to provide adequate Alzheimer’s and memory care. Ask questions about their backgrounds, education and experience. You should determine how many residents each caregiver is responsible for. An important point to explore is how the staff handles the inevitable behavior problems that occur in an assisted living community. Does each staff member handle these problems individually, or do they use a team approach?

Once you’ve become comfortable with the staff, you should explore the services and levels of care available to the residents. Alzheimer’s care is a very specialized type of care. Programs offered cannot be one-size fits all, but should be matched to the needs of each resident. Your first concern should be safety. Is there a pre-defined fire evacuation program? What about power outages and storms? Is the building itself secured, should a resident wander off? On the same level with the concern for safety should be the concern for cleanliness.

Are all rooms and parts of the building clean? Does it look and smell clean? Are there handrails in the hallways to aid in balance? Is there enough space for activities and some physical exercise? What about the dining room? Is it clean and comfortable? Is it furnished in an inviting and friendly manner?

When you’re comfortable with both the community itself and the staff, evaluate the services available. Again, the services offered have to match the needs of the older adult. For example, what kind of dietary services are offered in the dining room? Are personal needs, preferences and allergies taken into consideration? Is there communication between the kitchen, dining room and staff that monitors resident health and weight? What about social activity? Are supervised and assisted activities available? Do the staff members encourage the residents to engage in events and activities?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Consider sitting in the corner of an activity room to watch what goes on. Talk to the staff in a conversational manner. You may be surprised at what you learn. Visit at different times during the day to get an overall feel for the rhythm of life in the assisted living community you are considering.

Visiting all areas of the community, asking questions and learning how to work with the staff is the best way to optimize care for the individual you’re concerned about.

Atria Senior Living is a national leader in independent and assisted living communities. Atria can make the process of finding the right community easier and can help you determine the best fit for your family member that may be in need of Alzheimer’s care. Contact us today to find an Atria memory care community near you.

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