Does the facility offer memory care options?
Not all aged care facilities are created alike. Some offer memory care options, while others do not. Independent living facilities, for example, are geared toward older adults who are able to live an active lifestyle. Assisted living facilities and skilled nursing facilities (also known as nursing homes) may offer memory care options for people with dementia. Before choosing a care facility, ask the facility director if the institution provides specialized care or not.
What is the cost?
Caring for a person with dementia is expensive. According to an analysis conducted in 2016, the cost of health and residential care of people living with dementia can reach up AU $88,000 annually. Before committing to a facility, ensure that the facility and their services are up to or above par. Check the facility’s basic daily fee, plus its means-tested care fee and accommodation cost. Some facilities also charge fees for additional services.
What activity programs are available?
Mental stimulation can have physical benefits for people with dementia. Thus, an ideal aged care facility should provide inclusive programming, as well as specific recreational activities for residents with dementia. Some examples of activities include:
- Reading and solving puzzles
- Exercise and meditation
- Playing a musical instrument/ listening to music/ sing-a-long
- Movie screenings
- Painting and crafts
What kind of training has the nursing staff received?
Thoroughly check ALL nursing staff credentials to make sure that they are adequately trained. Observe how the staff deals with the residents. Do they treat the residents with compassion and respect, or do they raise their voices or are rude when they communicate? Do you see signs of abuse or neglect? What is the staff-to-resident ratio per shift?
Also, make sure that a registered nurse is on duty 8 hours a day, and the facility is operated by licensed nursing staff 24 hours a day. Many dementia patients are unable to eat or drink by themselves, so check whether the staff is willing to assist residents who are unable to do so.