Choosing the Right Memory Care Community: 10 Questions to Ask

Ask these 10 questions when visiting memory support communities

Are you exhausted from lack of sleep, worrying about wandering, or unsure how to respond to a loved one’s increased confusion? These common experiences often lead families to reach out for much needed support and help.   

If you’re searching for a memory care community and feeling overwhelmed at the task, you are not alone. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are over 6 million people living with Alzheimer’s in the U.S. and over 11 million providing unpaid care. 

However, many families are unfamiliar with memory care or support communities. They may feel even less confident in knowing how to select the right one. 

10 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Memory Care Community

When considering different communities, ensuring your loved one’s quality of life is a priority. Answers to these questions can provide that glimpse and help you in making the best decision.  

1. Who is on staff and what training is received? 

When choosing memory support, it’s crucial to know who will be caring for your loved one. Ask about the ratio of staff-to-residents for each shift and whether there are RNs, LPNs or LVNs available.  

Does the community offer consistent assignments so residents interact daily with familiar faces? What type of training is provided – both for assisting residents with daily tasks but also in the latest practices of dementia care?

2. Will your loved one have a care plan?

Ask whether a new resident assessment will be conducted. You’ll also want to discuss how a care plan will be created, who all will contribute and how often it will be revisited. 

Discuss services provided, including if the community can meet any additional care your loved one might need, such as help with mobility, a chronic condition or dietary restrictions.  

3. What type of therapy and fitness programs are provided?

How will your loved one be spending the day? There are many cognitive therapies especially developed for memory care residents that can lower anxieties, help with relaxation and stimulate reminiscing and recollections. 

You’ll also want to inquire if there is an exercise program when choosing a memory care community. According to the National Institute on Aging, staying physically active can be positive for residents in maintaining a healthy weight, keeping muscles and joints in shape – and also having fun. 

4. What activities or social events are available?

It is essential that those living with dementia have opportunities to remain engaged and participate in activities. Communities should have planned programs to encourage residents to interact with others. 

There may be a monthly calendar of events that you can review or ask what type of activities are generally available and if assistance is provided if needed. 

5. How does the community safely promote freedom of movement?

Those living with dementia can be at a higher risk of wandering or becoming lost. However, restrictions on movement can also lead to a higher level of frustration and anxiety. 

When choosing memory care, ask if there are secured areas such as outdoor gardens or walking paths that residents can safely access. Does the community promote freedom of movement while lessening frustration through the use of signs, symbols or color coding? 

6. What type of dining program is available?

Eating a healthy diet is important for those living with dementia but unfortunately, dining can present a challenge as the disease progresses. 

Ask what measures the community uses to help assist residents with meals, including a comfortable dining room, special table settings and utensils. If your loved one finds it difficult to remain seated for a meal, discuss whether finger foods might be available. 

7. How does the community help new residents feel welcome? 

Moving can be stressful for anyone. But you’ll want to find out if special care is provided to help new residents make the transition. 

When choosing a memory care community, ask what steps they’ll take to make sure your loved one will feel welcome and less anxious. How do they encourage residents to begin feeling a sense of belonging and at home? 

8. How does the community support the family?

Families should not be forgotten by memory support communities as they are also learning how to navigate this dementia journey. 

Ask how the community involves the family so they remain an integral part of the care and daily life of their loved one. What is the policy for communicating with family about any changes in the health or behavior of a resident? 

9. What is the monthly fee and what services are included? 

Of course, the financial cost of memory support will also be considered. While choosing memory care, discuss details regarding the rates charged, which services are included in the fee and whether there are any a la carte options. 

10. How do you feel about the community?

You’ll want to ask this question of yourself. Families who have stood where you are today often say they developed a sense of which community would be the best fit for their loved one, even if they couldn’t quite put the reason into words. 

Pay attention to your intuition as you take note of how the residents interact with the staff and each other, as well as whether the care team appears to enjoy their work. Your first instinct can be strong when choosing memory care—and so very often—on the spot. 

At Presbyterian Village North, we support both the individual and the family as they navigate the dementia journey.

We focus on the quality of life for our residents with a staff specially trained in the best practices of dementia care. Residents make their homes in private apartments while benefiting from the daily interactions with others and participating in our exercise, music, art and cognitive therapies.

We also provide the following services:

  • Chef-prepared cuisine—3 meals per day with varied, all-day dining options
  • Security system in all buildings ensures protection and safety
  • Secure entry/exit/windows in our Memory Support neighborhood
  • Secure Outdoor Patio in our Memory Support neighborhood
  • Safety checks every two hours as needed
  • Emergency call system with pendant
  • Escort assistance as needed to and from dining and activities
  • Convenient access to mobile healthcare services onsite including dental, podiatry, optometry, audiology, mobile x-ray and lab, and dietician
  • Full onsite pharmacy
  • 24/7 onsite licensed nurse

Presbyterian Village North is a compassionate resource for your loved one and your family. Please call 214-355-9015 if you have any questions or would like to schedule a personal visit to our community.