For most families, making the decision to consider 24-hour Alzheimer’s care is a heart-wrenching one. Yet no matter how difficult it has been to provide care at home, how to find a place that will equal the care you’ve provided, and at a reasonable cost, is no easy task. (Many Alzheimer’s care communities are quite expensive.)
Besides the price tag, here’s what to look for:
- Meaningful activities — and many of them. The more engaged the residents are in meaningful daily tasks and simple to dos (folding laundry, setting the table, gardening, listening to music, baking, birdwatching), the less likely they are to wander or experience agitation and anxiety. Movies and TV programs are fine within reason, but if the residents at a community are constantly parked in front of the television — and the show that’s playing is one that interests the staff and not the residents — consider another location.
- Staff training. Dealing with people who have dementia or Alzheimer’s is not easy, and you as a caregiver know that first-hand. However, having some strategies and resources to help with certain aspects of care can make a big difference. Find out if the community requires or provides ongoing training and support for their direct care staff.
- Atmosphere. Is the community clean and well-maintained? Are the staff friendly and caring? What’s the “vibe” of the place? This can be very telling, and a positive environment is extremely important.
- Appearance. Are the residents well-cared for in terms of their appearance? While perfection is not the goal, you want to find a community where personal care is a priority, where the staff take the time to assist residents with dressing, bathing and grooming. If the residents and staff are unkempt, it is certainly not a vote of confidence for the community.