It is hard to watch your loved one go through a degenerative disease such as dementia. You want to do all that you can to care for him and make his sunset years as pleasant as possible. When it's time to move your parent to an assisted living facility, you want to ensure it will give him the best care and quality of life.

Here are a few tips on what to look out for in an assisted living facility for patients with Alzheimer's.

Facilities

Look at common areas, indoors and outdoors. These should be clean, spacious and well lit and above all, safe. Look out for safety hazards like roots on footpaths, stairs, safety rails or lack of them. Inquire about safety mechanism for door and gates. Also ask how they deal with cases of wandering. Inspect the rooms for cleanliness and safety. These should be spacious, well lit and encourage independent senior living, to the best extent possible with cognitive decline.

Residents

Take a close look at the residents. Are they comfortable, do they look happy and relaxed? Are they clean and well groomed? Keep a keen eye on staff interaction with residents. Are the latter handled with dignity and respect? What is the fall rate of residents?

Programs

Programs for residents should be mentally and physically stimulating. Ensure that scheduled activities are actually undertaken and that they are tailored to specific needs of the individual resident.

Find out if physiotherapy, recreational activities and religious activities are included in the program.

Meals

Ask to see the menu. Is it nutritious? Make a point of visiting the facility during mealtime and observe the environment and the actual meal served. Are the staff members interacting with residents during meals? Is there encouragement? Can you join in on the meal? Is there provision for special diets?

Policies

Take a keen look at the policies. Find out the visiting hours and see whether they are appropriate for you. Do they allow family members to participate in care?  Check their discharge policy and find out if they provide a transition policy for the end of life.

Staff

Find out if the staff has undergone dementia training. There should be doctors and nurses available at the premises 24/7. What is the ratio of staff to residents and staff turnover rate? Also check if there are regular visits by a psychiatrist or a neurologist

Choosing the right assisted living facility for your parent with a memory condition may not cure the condition but will ensure they live out their remaining time with dignity.

Contact a facility like Nicola Meadows to learn more.

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