Checklist: Questions to Ask a Memory Care Facility

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The right memory care facility can provide a safe and active living environment for your loved one who has memory loss and cognitive decline due to a condition like Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. A good facility will be well staffed, provide ample security, and come up with a good medical plan for your loved one.

If you can, try to take several tours of various memory care facilities. Talk to the staff members and observe how they interact with the residents. Are the residents themselves well groomed? Does the staff treat the residents in a warm and kind manner?

Here are some general questions you may want to ask and contemplate during your visit. You may also want to consult our assisted living checklist and nursing home checklist for additional questions specific to those types of facilities.

Care, admission, and discharge

What is the admissions policy?

Does this include a medical assessment by a facility doctor or the resident’s own doctor?

Is there a waiting list or is there a bed/room available now?

What type of care is offered? Does each person have their own care plan?

Is the facility only for people with Alzheimer’s or do people with other forms of dementia reside together?

Does the facility prefer to use their own visiting doctors or should the family take the resident to see their own physicians?

How does the staff communicate about the resident’s care plan to family members?

What happens when there are changes to the plan?

Do you separate residents by their level of cognitive ability?

If so, how?

How much is the monthly cost? Is this fee all-inclusive or tiered?

Get each service and its cost in writing before you sign any contracts.

Is the facility Medicaid and/or Medicare-certified?

Can the facility take care of residents who are in wheelchairs or bedridden?

Can residents be asked to leave a facility? If so, under what circumstances?

What is the discharge policy?

Is there an end-of-life care procedure in place?

Staff

What kind of certifications do staff members have?

Does the facility do a background check on all employees?

What is the daytime and nighttime staff-to-resident ratio?

What kind of medical professional is on duty 24 hours a day?

Safety

What are the security measures?

How does the facility prevent someone from wandering off the premises?

How many security staff are present during a 24-hour period?

What are the facility’s emergency security protocols?

How do you deal with aggression from a resident?

Does the facility use physical or medical restraints?

How do you deal with residents who refuse to bathe or eat?

Can residents go outside? If so, what are the security measures placed there?

Housing and services

What kind of rooms are available?

What kind of personal belongings can residents bring?

Do the rooms and common areas look clean?

Any odors? Do the carpets or sheets have stains on them?

What are the meal plans?

Can the kitchen accommodate dietary restrictions, for religious or medical reasons?

Is the layout easy to navigate?

Are there clearly marked paths, signs and pictures?

What kind of extracurricular services does the facility provide?

Do they include physical exercise? Arts and music? Religious services? Pet therapy?

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