Cognitive disorders create challenges for the whole family. Alzheimer’s and dementia steal precious memories and create confusion and chaos during a time that should be a celebration of one’s life. These complexities, combined with the emotional implications, make finding a care home difficult.
Fortunately, Maryland has high-quality memory care homes for your loved one with dementia. Here are some helpful tips for finding the right one.
Ask for Recommendations and Reviews
First, ask for recommendations and reviews from community members who have gone through this experience before. Reach out on social media to see if anyone in your network is willing to talk about their experience and which memory care facility they chose, and why.
It’s also helpful to get recommendations from healthcare providers or local non-profits dealing with memory loss and cognitive disorders. These recommendations tend to be well-researched and unbiased.
Understand Your Loved One’s Needs
No two people are exactly alike when it comes to cognitive and memory disorders. Different stages and spectrums require varying levels of support, and those needs can change over time.
For example, if your parent is dealing with the early stages of dementia, they could be entirely self-sufficient aside from a few concerning lapses (forgetting about the stove or wandering, for example). In other words, they can take care of themselves but need someone around for safety. Other people in more advanced stages could require continued assistance and support throughout the day.
Understanding your loved one’s needs will help you find the right facility with the appropriate levels of support you are looking for.
Ask About the COVID-19 Protocols
Nursing homes and care facilities were some of the hardest-hit at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Maryland facilities were no exception. While vaccinations are well underway, it’s still important to understand the COVID-19 protocols that are in place to help navigate this ever-changing situation.
Fortunately, many facilities are being proactive in posting their protocols online. For example, Cedar Creek Dementia Care in Montgomery County, Maryland has its COVID-19 protocols readily available for review to help concerned family members make their decision.
Ask About Specialized Memory Care Practices
Memory care is a nuanced specialty in caregiving. It’s integral to find a facility that specializes in memory care, from enhanced security features to enrichment activities.
Ask about what kind of specialized training staff members have, the security features in place to keep people safe, and how difficult behaviors or situations are handled. It’s also important to get a sense of the more subtle aspects of memory care, such as a simplified layout of the building, nutrition considerations, and activities that support a sense of purpose.
Take a Tour
When you’ve created a shortlist based on your preliminary research, it’s time to book a tour of the facility. Try to spend an extended period of time touring, so you can witness transitions from one activity to another, as well as meal times.
Take note of the overall cleanliness, brightness, and atmosphere. Assess the general mood of the place: Do residents look happy? Does the staff look engaged? Be mindful of overly scheduled tours that only show specific areas; transparency is everything when finding a care provider for your loved one.
Evaluate the Costs
Cost is often a significant barrier for families. It’s crucial to have a proper understanding of what costs are involved when choosing a care facility. Determine the baseline costs and clarify what’s included. Many facilities have variable costs for different levels of care — another reason why it’s important to understand your current and future needs.
Create a Transition Plan
Once you’ve decided on a facility, it’s time to put a transition plan in place. Your chosen memory care home should be able to provide resources to guide the process and make recommendations.
This period is a difficult time for everyone involved. Choosing the right memory care home can keep your loved one safe and happy and give you peace of mind at the same time.