Your loved one with dementia resides in a memory care facility near your home and you just found out that you are moving to another state. Moving can be a huge process in itself, but now you’re faced with how to choose a memory care facility in the state you are moving to. We have some tips for you!
Start the Process as Early as Possible
Relocating a person with dementia takes some careful planning and preparation to reduce the possibility of stress that could trigger or worsen symptoms.
Your priorities for your loved one’s move are probably already focused on their comfort and safety, and now you must also concentrate on the care options available in the new facility. There is a wide range of facilities available in most areas, and many may have both pro’s and con’s, so start planning early so you are able to make a confident and informed decision.
Identify the Most Important Memory Care Factors to You
You may very well like the facility that your loved one currently resides in, and there might be things you don’t like about it at all.
Identify what you do and don’t like about the current facility. Make a list. After creating the list, you’ll have a clear idea of what you are looking for as you search for a new facility.
If your loved one can tell you what they do or don’t like about their current residence, prompt them for their input. At this early stage in planning, however, your goal is not to begin mentally preparing them for the move – so ask questions without hinting about relocation, for example, “What do you like or dislike about your home?”, or, “If you could change anything here, what would it be?”
Research Memory Care Facilities
You know what your priorities are as you research memory care facilities, but what else should you be aware of, and who might be able to help you?
Here are the top points you should consider when choosing a new memory care facility:
Referrals and testimonials may be key to finding a new memory care facility. Word of mouth referrals are typically open and honest. Ask your doctor, family, and friends, for a referral. If you know people living in the area (an online local community or support group may help with this) ask for recommendations. Also, research the facilities’ website or online ratings for family testimonials, comments, or rankings.
Licensing and certification can reveal important facts about memory care units. Check to see if the facility is licensed by the state. Care homes are required to have state survey inspections completed, and the results must be readily available to the public. Review the facility’s most recent survey results. Become familiar with the state licensing requirements for the levels of care and services provided with different types of licenses.
Staff turnover and training can give you insight into the care level of staff. A high turnover rate may indicate unhappy staff, and discontent can result in less than ideal care for your loved one. Ask the memory care facility about staff training, certifications, and ongoing education as it could be an indicator of the health of the internal business.
Pricing should be straightforward and not confusing. Pricing does not necessarily reflect the quality of care your loved one may receive, but “iffy” pricing may indicate issues such as the swapping of quality care to save money. Complicated pricing, with packages, add-ons, and fancy features may be an indicator that higher cost equates to better care provided to the residents. You shouldn’t have to pay more for quality care.
Medical care and staff with specialized training, as well as the level of availability (for example 24/7 or only during certain hours), should be one of your top priorities, especially if your loved one has additional health conditions.
Resident Comfort, Quality of Life, and Family Needs Matter
Resident comfort and quality of life matters. Residents that are treated like family, which means their comfort comes first, affects how your loved one adjusts and finds security in their new environment.
Ask some questions: Are you allowed to rearrange the room so that it is similar to your loved one’s current set-up? Are personal belongings and furniture allowed in the home? Are familiar routines going to be kept by the facility?
Your loved one’s dementia symptoms may worsen if they are confused by an unfamiliar environment or a major change in routine. Is a social worker, program manager, or geriatric care manager available to assist you with your loved one’s comfort and adjustment with the move? A move should improve or retain quality of life—not detract from it.
Family needs matter. Does the home readily accept the needs of the family? Family members know their loved ones very well. Their voices should be welcomed by the facility in support of the resident’s comfort and care.
Tours, Visits, and Location
You may have heard the term “location is everything,” and it is important to caregivers!
Facility tours and visitations may help you make the final decision. If your loved one is in the very early stages of dementia, the facility may approve or advise you to bring your loved one with you when you visit.
The facility may also be able to give you a video tour, including a view into some of the daily activities of the residents, the living area, and the “meeting” of staff. If you are unable to visit in-person, referrals and testimonials become even more important at this stage in research.
Location may not be important to the one you love with dementia, but it is important to you—the one that will be visiting. Ensure the home is located close and convenient to your new residence so you can visit as often as possible. Test drive the distance from your new home to the facility so you’ll experience the route, traffic, and commute time.
Help and Advice
There is much more to moving your loved one to a new memory care home than choosing the facility.
As we continue our series on Relocating a Person with Dementia, we will talk about physically transferring to a different memory care facility, how to prepare a person with dementia before relocation, and how to make the transition easier after relocating a person with dementia.
If you are relocating to the Round Rock, Texas area, and you are trying to choose the right memory care facility for your loved one, we understand that the decision can be challenging.
If you are a caregiver and would like to talk about the best options for relocating your loved one, give us a call at 512-399-5089. We can help you through every step of the way.