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Ingleside at Rock Creek Blog

IRC Blog
Posted: Tuesday, November 10, 2020

5 follow-up questions to ask memory care communities

If you’ve been caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s at home, at some point the needs exceeding what you’re able to provide may become a reality. As dementia is a progressive illness, the necessity of 24/7 care will inevitably follow.

It may be time to consider what a memory care community could offer if you feel you can no longer preserve your loved one’s security and quality of life.

Although this can be a hard decision to make, you’ll want to find the place where your loved one - and your family - will feel well cared for and at home.

The need for memory care support

Although each individual’s experience can be unique, the following are some of the typical behaviors that you may need assistance with or that might create an unsafe environment, prompting the need for additional care:

Wandering: This behavior can occur at any stage in the illness, leading to the danger of leaving home and not recognizing the location or how to get back home.

Challenging behavior: As confusion develops, your loved one may become agitated or even aggressive. This has the potential to lead to violence or threats of physical behavior.

Neglecting personal care: If your loved one no longer takes care of personal hygiene and refuses your efforts and attempts to help, this can become an unwinnable battle.

Eating challenges: In the earlier stages, individuals may refuse to eat or forget that they already have and want to eat again. As the illness progresses, they may not be able to swallow and will need help getting nutrition.

Increased physical care required: The effects of Alzheimer’s are not limited to cognitive challenges only. If your loved one begins experiencing physical changes such as no longer being mobile, you may need more help.

Socially isolated: It’s not uncommon for your loved one and yourself to become more homebound, leading to social isolation. There may be fewer activities your loved one will want to participate in and may feel more comfortable staying at home.

Relationships redefined: Over time, the relationship to your loved one may change into one of caregiver-only and no longer as a spouse, partner or child. There may not be time to spend together in any other role.

Choosing the right memory care community

If you and your loved one are experiencing some of the above behaviors, you may want to schedule visits to local memory support communities so you can see first-hand the level and quality of care that is offered.

Most people have not had experience making this decision before so you may not be clear on what it is you should be looking for.

As you discuss your loved one’s care and tour the community, many questions will no doubt arise so it’s always a good idea to bring a small notepad to jot down the answers and your thoughts.

Questions to ask about memory care

You may want to begin by asking these important lead questions and their follow-ups to get you started:

Question #1: What is the quality of their staffing?

  • What type of training does the staff receive?

  • What is the ratio of staff-to-resident and the total number available for each shift?

  • Is there an RN on staff?

  • Do they practice consistent assignments, allowing staff to get to know the resident’s preferences, needs and triggers?

Question #2: What activities and amenities are available?

  • Are the activities stimulating and well-suited for your loved one?

  • Do they plan trips outside of the community?

  • What steps do they take to make the residents feel a part of the larger community?

Question #3: What is their dining program?

  • Can they give examples of how they encourage the residents to eat?

  • Are residents treated respectfully if they need assistance to eat?

  • Will the menu’s quality and selection be appealing to your loved one?

Question #4: How do the staff and residents interact?

  • Do the relationships go beyond just the minimal interactions required?

  • How do the staff build genuine relationships with the residents?

  • Are the residents comfortable and trustful of the staff?

Question #5: How does the community value family involvement?

  • Are there any restrictions on family visiting hours?

  • Are family members well-supported and does the community recognize the impact of the illness on them?

  • Are there educational and emotional support systems in place for the families?

Trust your instincts

After researching and touring different communities, it may also come down to your instinct of which memory care community would be best for your loved one. Trust it. We tend to have an inner awareness and this may be influenced not only by your questions and their answers, but also what you feel while touring the community.

Take note if the residents appear to be engaged. Is quality of life an evident priority? What is the energy level of the staff and how do they connect with the residents?

Also, is this the community you think your loved one and yourself would want to call home? Look for the efforts made to create an inviting and welcoming place. Are there beautifully landscaped areas, gazebos and secure courtyards to spend time outside? Do the entrance and common areas provide a sense of welcome?

Ingleside at Rock Creek Memory Support Assisted Living

Care for those with Alzheimer’s usually begins at home. But as the illness progresses, so does the level of attention needed. If their behavior becomes too much of a challenge or it is impossible for someone to be there 24/7, families will often turn to memory care communities.

At Ingleside, we understand the difficulty in making that decision but we want to reassure families that we are trained and experienced to respond to these behaviors. And it’s been shown that your loved one’s quality of life may actually improve. We are able to provide the socialization and interaction needed to help our residents engage with their surroundings.

We work with our families and residents to create an individual care plan and extend our support to strengthen the connections of everyone involved. 

Call (202) 905-0018 if you have any questions or would like to schedule a personalized tour today.


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