If your loved one living with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia is beginning to need more care than you can provide at home, you might be considering whether a memory care community could be the best choice.

You may also have many questions, such as:

  • Is memory care similar to assisted living?
  • Will the staff make quality of life a priority?
  • How will my loved one be helped to feel at home in the community?

These are only a few inquiries about memory care but the following 10 questions can help provide a basis when comparing communities and guide you in choosing the right one.

Memory care communities: questions to ask

  1. What type of training does the care team receive?

The qualifications of those caring for your loved one are essential. Ask about the type of training provided. Those who work in memory care should receive specific education in the latest and best dementia practices.

Does the community provide resources or continuing education to their team members? Inquire if staff members are required to hold any certifications and pass background checks.

  1. Does the memory care community provide additional specialized staff compared to regular assisted living, and are psychiatric services specializing in dementia offered?

Assisted living provides meals, activities and help with daily tasks such as dressing, grooming and bathing. While those services are also included in memory care, their staff also receive specialized training and experience in caring for those who live with memory impairment.

Ask if the community offers dementia psychiatric services and the ratio of staff-to-residents. A lower number allows more time spent with the residents.

  1. What type of residences are available?

This will be your loved one’s home and it’s important it feels that way. Ask about private or companion apartments, sizes and floor layouts. Inquire if residents can personalize their homes to make them their own.

Take note of the community’s overall design efforts to eliminate or minimize confusion for residents to access their homes, activity rooms or common areas.

  1. What programs are offered, such as memory enhancing, music and art therapies?

Daily activities contribute to improving the quality of life for residents. You’ll want to find a variety of choices that match your loved one’s preferences and abilities.

Participating in art, music, pet or reminiscence therapies can provide several advantages, including enhanced cognition, evoking memories, reducing agitation and improving quality of life.  

  1. How does the staff assist residents to eat and what techniques do they use?

Good nutrition is important for those living with Alzheimer’s disease. Ask to see a menu and whether the choices would appeal to your loved one. If possible, arrange to have a meal with the other residents.

What techniques does the community use to encourage eating and maintaining independence, such as special utensils or serving finger foods?

  1. What activities are available to encourage residents to engage and interact?

Remaining engaged in life and connecting with others is critical. Ask the communities you visit what type of activities they offer and how they encourage the residents to participate.

Do they plan special trips outside of the community or invite different groups to visit with the residents, such as music programs or high school volunteers? Diversity in interactions adds breadth to life.

  1. Does the memory care community practice person-centered or personalized care?

We are all individuals with different personalities, likes and dislikes and those living with dementia are no different. Each person’s response to dementia can also be unique.

Getting to know the individuals and their families to better understand their preferences and dispositions is person-centered care. This allows the staff to create a truly personalized care plan.

  1. How are care plans developed and are they regularly updated?

Ask how the community develops care plans for their residents. And as dementia is a progressive disease, you’ll also want to inquire how often the plans are updated.

After the initial assessment, what steps are taken to personalize the plan? Will they consider your loved one’s preferences, past careers, relationships and favorite pastimes? Residents feel connected and respected when their caregivers genuinely know them.

  1. What types of security measures do the memory care community provide?

Ask what measures are taken for resident safety. How do they secure different areas, doors, and windows, and what steps are taken to ensure no one is able to leave unnoticed?

Are the residents who wander able to move freely without being frustrated with restrictions? Are there clear directional signs to help residents orient themselves? Is there a secured courtyard so they can go from inside to out when they desire?

  1. What is the monthly rate and what services are included?

Gain a clear understanding of the price of care and services provided. All-inclusive pricing can differ between communities, such as utilities, meals, transportation or other personal care services.

Ask if there are different pricing options, if they accept long-term care insurance and if they can point you to any financial resources that might help contribute to paying for care.

The Charleston Senior Community

Locally owned and operated, we offer personalized care by our dedicated team members. Setting a new standard in Assisted Living and Memory Care, we don’t define our residents by their limitations or illness but instead believe in focusing on the positive and the possibility.

The Charleston Senior Community includes private apartments for assisted living residents and for those living with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

Your loved ones will benefit from our attention to detail, routine health assessments, delicious dining and daily activity programs as we support them to live their best life.

Consider a few of our amenities:

  • Chef-led dining program
  • Community movie theater
  • Salon
  • Ballroom
  • Live entertainment
  • Outdoor patio
  • Social lounges
  • Housekeeping

If your family is thinking about assisted living or memory care for your loved one, we hope you will consider The Charleston Senior Community. We are a trusted resource and are here to answer any questions. We also invite you to download our complimentary information, A Family Guide to Funding Senior Care & Housing.