More than six million Americans are living with dementia, and by 2025, that number is projected to rise to nearly 13 million, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. The statistic is alarming and even more so if memory loss affects you, a loved one, a neighbor, or a friend. As awareness of the prevalence of dementia grows, evaluating memory care facilities is a task families increasingly face. The difference between the many types of memory care options can be confusing, so we’ll explore and explain the options from which families can choose.
Who Might Need a Memory Care Facility?
A primary care physician can identify which type of dementia may be affecting your loved one and whether a referral to a neurologist may be necessary. Neurologists, who specialize in disorders of the brain and nervous system, are often the doctors with the background and expertise to diagnose dementia, though geriatricians, geriatric psychiatrists, and neuropsychologists also may be involved in determining a diagnosis.
Once the diagnosis and stage or severity of dementia are determined, you may experience a wide range of emotions. While you give yourself time to process those emotions, you’ll still want to get started planning for the future and evaluating memory care facilities.
What Kinds of Memory Care Facilities Should You Consider?
- Respite care at adult day centers
- Memory care units within a personal care or assisted living community
- Dedicated memory care facilities
How to Start the Search
Other Questions Should Always Be Asked, Including:
- Is there a nurse on duty, on-site (versus on call) 24 hours a day?
- Does a nurse or a medication technician (“med tech”) dispense medications? A nurse has much more credentialing than a med tech, but good med techs free up the nurses’ time to provide higher level care.
- How long has the facility been providing memory care?
- What are the administrator’s credentials, and how long has he or she been in this role?
- Is there a dedicated person in charge of activities/life enrichment?
- Are the rooms private or shared?
- How are meals served? In each room? In a dining room?
- How are medical emergencies handled?
- How often can I visit my loved one and how does the facility keep in touch with me?
Making the Decision to Place Your Loved One in Memory Care Facility