Placing a loved one in a memory care facility can be emotionally tough, but it's better for the person who needs the care. Because everyone is different, you want the memory care facility to be one that really suits the family member who needs help. Of course you're going to ask questions about the place, but in the confusion and distress of the moment, you might forget to ask about some details that can really make a difference.
How Are Dietary Restrictions Handled?
Definitely ask about how dietary restrictions and preferences are handled. Not only are food allergies and sensitivities a concern — and any decent memory care facility should be able to deal with those — but religious and health preferences need to be honored, too. Can the facility provide kosher and halal meals? Can they provide vegetarian meals? If not, ask why. Even if your loved one doesn't follow kosher or halal laws or isn't vegetarian, a facility that can't accommodate these very common meal preferences may not offer other things your loved one needs.
Note that some places might not offer these options just because no one has ever asked for them; in that case, see if they can start offering them.
You'll also need to ask about how simple preferences are handled. For example, if your family member hates avocados or olives, can the facility avoid putting those ingredients in the person's meals? Is the person given a choice or forced to eat those foods even if he or she doesn't like them?
What Specific Activities Are Offered, and Do Residents Have a Choice?
Memory care facilities offer activities that help residents with cognition, and some facilities offer more than others. Ask about choice and if the facility allows residents to choose activities themselves or if they drop activities that the residents don't seem to like. This shouldn't be much of a problem, so if you find a home where residents have to follow a rigid schedule, find out why the home doesn't offer variation. Note that a rigid schedule isn't necessarily bad; it just might not suit your family member.
How Does the Facility Handle Complex Care?
Memory care is only one aspect of elder care. Medical care, including care for complex needs, is another aspect, as is helping the person with daily activities. How does the care home handle residents who need complex care or more than one type of care? Some homes focus only on memory care and basic daily living; if your family member needs additional medical care, you need to find a home that offers that as well.
A good memory care home can help, but a home that offers the variety your family member needs can have a big effect. Asking about details helps narrow down which memory care home might be best. Contact a memory care facility in your area to learn more.