Key Features to Look for in Memory Care Communities

Families and loved ones living with dementia often experience the following circumstances when care is provided at home: 

  • A growing challenge to find engaging activities that match ability and interest
  • Increased anxiety about a loved one wandering and becoming lost
  • Escalated feelings of social isolation for both the loved one and caregiver
  • Decrease of loved one’s appetite and difficulty in eating
  • Continued interruption of sleep contributing to caregiver exhaustion
  • Declining health of caregiver due to lack of respite care 

These are only a few challenges that can occur with this progressive disease. A family may eventually determine the care required exceeds what can be provided at home—and the search for memory care begins.

However, finding the right community is not always straightforward, and this decision can significantly impact the quality of life for both the individual and the family. 

To select the community that can help your loved one live as high a quality of life as possible, here are 10 key features to look for in memory care:

The staff should receive specialized dementia care training. Ask what type of education and experience the staff has and how understanding of their residents and the necessary support is provided. 

Look for communities that invest in ongoing training and are knowledgeable about the latest techniques for interacting and responding to those living with dementia.

Everyone responds to dementia differently, and an individual’s needs and preferences must be understood to tailor a specific care plan.

Ask the community to explain their process of creating a personalized care plan, who contributes and how often the plan is revisited to ensure your parent continues to receive the right level of support.

Safety is paramount for those living with dementia. A well-designed community will have secure indoor and outdoor spaces and layouts that minimize the risk of wandering and frustration.

Look for secured common areas with controlled entry and exit doors but that also provide residents with a sense of freedom of movement.

Engagement in social and recreational activities is vital for physical and mental health. Remaining connected with others significantly contributes to quality of life.

Ask communities you visit what type of activities they offer and whether they are adapted to meet the cognitive abilities and preferences of the individual resident.

A family’s role in their loved one’s life should continue to be strong, even though they no longer provide daily care.

Look for communities that encourage family involvement to help maintain the bond. Support groups and educational resources for families should also be made available.

Nutritious meals that cater to individual dietary needs and preferences are essential to encourage healthy dining.

Just as important, however, is the dining environment. Look for communities that offer an inviting experience that assists but also encourages independence and social interaction.

Onsite fitness classes should be available for the residents to access. Physical health can also greatly influence cognitive well-being.

Ask the community what type of classes might be available and how they encourage residents to participate.

The community should provide a residence where your loved one will feel comfortable and at home. 

Look for those that establish smaller neighborhood areas or create comfortable living spaces, residences and common areas that encourage the residents to relax or socialize.

Music therapy, art therapy and pet therapy can greatly enhance the quality of life for individuals with dementia.

When visiting memory care communities, ask about the type of therapies offered and how they might be adapted to fit your loved one’s needs and preferences.

A community that communicates effectively with families about a loved one’s progress and any issues that arise fosters trust and peace of mind.

When choosing the best memory care, it’s important to visit multiple communities and talk to staff and residents to determine which one might be the best match. 

Searching for memory care should be based not only on the services and amenities a community offers but also on the warmth, compassion and understanding provided to its residents and their families. The goal is to find a genuine home where your loved one can live with dignity and joy and the family is supported throughout this experience.

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.