By Maura Keller
Perhaps your elderly father can’t remember if or when he took his medication. Or maybe your mother is repeating herself when talking with others. When it comes time for a family to consider a memory care facility for their loved one, there are some key things to look for.
According to Kelsey Bakken, director of marketing at Noel Manor Retirement Living, it is important to look for caring staff — employees that know the residents’ names and go out of their way to help and support residents and their families. It’s important that staff members are always willing to go the extra mile, and are there for the residents physically, mentally and emotionally.
“[Families] also need to look at resident social activities and [happenings] on a daily basis. It’s important to keep your mind and body active as you continue to go through life, and that shouldn’t stop at a memory care facility,” Bakken says. “Look for mentally- stimulating activities that include games, crafts, trivia, music, etc. Also look at the other amenities that the facility has, including meals, [if they have a] salon or podiatrist, outdoor patios and locked doors to keep the resident safe.”
Not all memory care facilities are the same, so some key indicators that your loved one isn’t in the best facility for their needs may be that their health care needs are not being met; the activities at the facility are not mentally, physically or emotionally as stimulating as they need to be; the food that is served is not meeting their dietary needs; the resident is continuously trying to escape or leave the facility; or the loved one is exhibiting aggressive behavior.
“The staff members at a memory care facility should love what they do and care for the residents as if they were their own grandparents,” Bakken says. “The staff members should be familiar with each resident and their needs, and go out of their way to support them.”
A memory care facility should also have 24-hour staff that manages the residents’ medications and offer personal care. There should be housekeeping and laundry services, as well as supervised events and activities each and every day.
“And, there should be a great culinary team that takes responsibility for feeding the residents,” Bakken says. “Also, they should have transportation to [get residents to] their medical appointments. We offer … caring and attentive staff, a stimulating activities calendar, three meals per day, housekeeping, laundry, free transportation, podiatry [services], a salon on-site and 24-hour staff,” explains Bakken.
Signs That a Loved One May Need Memory Care
Be on the lookout for:
- Wandering or getting lost on routes that they frequently take
- Being unable to recognize family members and friends
- Needing help with everyday tasks
- Forgetting to eat or drink
- Forgetting to take medications
- Struggling to bathe regularly or they find it challenging to get dressed or change clothes
- Leaving burners or appliances on after cooking
- Repeating the same stories over and over
“Families can determine this in a few ways by going to their primary care physician, setting up an appointment with a memory care facility such as ourselves, or doing research online,” says Kelsey Bakken, director of marketing at Noel Manor Retirement Living. “There are many resources available to determine if memory care is appropriate for their loved one, but the one I suggest is going into a few facilities, learning about what they offer and deciding if it looks like a place your loved one would thrive in.”