Four Tips for Finding the Right Memory Care Facility for a Parent


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Is it time for your loved one to move to assisted living or a nursing home for specialized memory care? Making the move to a facility that can provide the memory care that your mother or father needs can feel overwhelming and terrifying. We’ve put together a guide of tips to support your search:

  1. Involve your parent in the process.

    When your parent is dealing with dementia, you know that they have good days and bad days. Anything upsetting to them can trigger their “bad days.” You might feel inclined to take care of touring the facilities and choosing one without their involvement in order to avoid triggering a bad day. Sometimes, this is the best approach. However, sometimes, it makes the transition into the memory care facility much more difficult.

    If you are able to, arrange for your parent to have a day that will support their mental health as much as you can on a day that you want to talk to them about choosing an assisted living facility. Take them to do something they love to do. Watch a moving they enjoy. Look at photo albums and reminisce about times that made them happy. While supporting their “good day,” try to incorporate a talk about transitioning into an assisted care arrangement that would support them better. Make them feel like their opinion in the decision matters. If your parent is engaged in the process of choosing the assisted living environment they move to, it will likely make their transition smoother and healthier.
  2. Follow your nose during facility tours.
    Cleanliness is paramount while choosing an assisted living facility for your parent. This is important both because hygiene and cleanliness issues could lead to health hazards, and also because your parent’s quality of life will be best in a facility that is clean.

    When you tour the senior living facilities you are considering, ask how often the rooms are cleaned? Do they provide laundry services for the residents? Pay attention to more than just what the sales rep shows you (since they are paid to show you the best side of the facility). Look in the corners of the rooms; if there’s dust and cobwebs, it’s a sign that the cleaning crew doesn’t deep clean often.

    If you smell an unpleasant odor in a localized area, it could be a sign of an inevitable accident that hasn’t been fully disinfected yet. However, if the entire facility has a musty or unclean odor, you should cross them off your list of possibilities.

  3. Understand how the personal care staffing works.

    When you are dealing with a memory care patient, consistency is critical. Establishing a routine they can count on improves their chances of mental clarity, and an abrupt change in the routine can have a devastating impact on the patient’s lucidity. One key factor in this is the people who work with your loved one on a daily basis. Does the care facility assign the same staff to work with particular residents each day, or does it rotate? Can the residents (or their loved ones) have a say in working with caretakers they feel the most comfortable with? These factors should play an important role in finding the memory care facility that best supports your parent.

  4. Pay attention to the vibe of the facility.
    While we’re talking about the staff, if the staff of the facility are treated poorly and don’t like their jobs, it will definitely trickle down to how they treat the residents in facility. This will have a very negative impact on the well-being of your parent.

    You might not be able to outright ask, “Does your staff like their job?” but you can follow your instinct while doing tours of assisted living facilities. Don’t just base your opinion on how the representative who is paid to sell you on their facility portrays it. Have a meal in the dining room and pay attention to the attitude of the people who prepare the food and serve it. Consider if the cleaning crew appear to enjoy their jobs. The reception staff. If the employees are happy, it’s a sign that your parent will be well taken care of.

Do you have any other questions or comments? Please share below!