Mark and Sarah both noticed the same thing.
It was just after Christmas several years ago when Sarah’s mother called one of her grandchildren by the wrong name.
It was just an honest slip-up, they thought.
But more memory-related concerns arose after that one incident and, eventually, they knew Sarah’s mother, who was widowed, would soon need some type of memory care. They were coming to fear for her safety as she continued to live alone.
Many families quickly become overwhelmed in looking for the best memory-care options. That’s understandable; there are many options and resources available.
But all of us at Diakon Senior Living Services stand ready as experts in senior care to help you review your options and make an informed decision.
Be sure to tour a variety of programs and communities. While proximity to you may be very important, the types of services your loved one requires may not be available as close as you hope, so be open to reviewing all communities, even if they are not as close as you prefer. However, be sure also consider the impact longer-distance travel can have.
As you do your research and, if possible, tour communities, consider these points:
● Do residents and staff seem happy and interact well? It’s important to see if those who live and work in the community appear to have good relationships. If the residents are smiling and happy and team members interact positively with them as well as one another, chances are the community is a happy and engaging place to live.
● Does the community look clean and well-kept? Take notice to rooms, dining areas and other living spaces. You want to ensure your loved one is in a clean, safe and home-like environment.
● Do the living spaces fit your loved one’s style? If a room is smaller than you’d like, it can cause problems on move-in day. Consider looking at all floor plans, see which meets your preferences and think about how you can make the accommodations more homelike and reflective of your loved one’s personal style. Can the person bring things from home—and display favorite treasures?
● Are there programs and activities to meet varying interests? Does your loved one enjoy art? Music? Is reading a passion? Ask the community to see an activities calendar.
● Does the community provide support and guidance for family members? This is often one of the most important things for those with Alzheimer’s disease and similar memory-related illnesses—and their families! Many friends and family members may not know what to expect when it comes to a memory-illness diagnosis and may be unsure how to communicate. Support groups can often help families and friends prepare and better understand the disease and how it will affect both them and their loved one.
● Is the dining nutritious while still appealing to individual tastes and needs? As care needs change, a loved one’s favorite foods may need to be adapted, but that doesn’t mean food should lack in taste or nutrition. Sample the community’s meals, ask how they meet residents’ needs and ensure that meals are delicious as well as healthy.
For additional information on choosing a memory care community, please feel free to contact the nearest Diakon Senior Living Community. We are here to help!
Michelle D. Gaugler, LSW, PCHA, NHA
Executive Director, a Diakon Senior Living Community