Questions to Ask When Choosing a Memory Support Community

Bethesda Health | December 7, 2017

Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for caregivers, especially when dealing with a senior suffering from memory loss or dementia. To provide your senior loved one with the right level of care, it may be time to consider a dedicated memory support community.

When choosing a memory support community, schedule a tour at the communities that interest you, and ask the following questions to ensure the community is the right fit for your senior loved one.

When is it time to consider a Memory Support Community?

When deciding if it’s time to seek memory support for your senior loved one, it’s important to distinguish between the occasional day-to-day forgetfulness as opposed to consistent memory loss that adversely affects a senior’s ability to live safely and independently.

“Families start asking about memory support when there are growing concerns about a senior loved ones’ ability to live alone,” says Lea Ann Coates, residency counselor at Bethesda Hawthorne Place, an Assisted Living and Memory Support community located in the Kirkwood/Webster Groves area.

Several signs that a senior may need Memory Support or Assisted Living care include:

“Seniors are able to get by, but these issues are impacting their day-to-day wellbeing,” Lea Ann says.

People consider a Memory Support community when these occurrences escalate or there is a major event such as a fall, hospitalization, or an incident of wandering away from the house.

Bethesda offers a dedicated, secure neighborhood within Bethesda Hawthorne Place, specifically designed for seniors with memory challenges and dementia.

What kind of care and supervision is offered at a memory support community?

Seniors with memory loss need a special level of care. When making your decision, take note of the level of care that your senior loved one will receive.

The Memory Support Neighborhood at Bethesda Hawthorne Place is staffed by senior care professionals who receive 16 hours of specialized training, which includes understanding the individual challenges that seniors with memory loss face. “We provide 24/7 oversight in a home-like environment,” Lea Ann says. “Reminders and prompting for daily tasks are tailored to each resident’s needs, but we encourage them to remain as self-reliant as possible.”

“Our focus is always on the resident’s capabilities, and maintaining those capabilities.”

Bethesda Hawthorne Place has a more robust nursing presence than many other St. Louis area Assisted Living communities; a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse is scheduled to be in the building 24/7.

What is life like in the community?

When choosing a memory support community, look for options that will provide your senior loved one with all of the support they need, along with social opportunities that match their lifestyle.

At Bethesda Hawthorne Place, our small memory support neighborhood—with no more than 20 residents— provides an easy-to-navigate environment with a close-knit group of senior residents and caregivers. For example, the kitchen and dining room are just a few steps away, and there is always a staff member nearby to answer questions and provide guidance.

There is a full activity calendar and a dedicated Life Enrichment staff member who engages residents, keeps them involved, and helps them socialize with each other. Activities include exercise, crafts and day trips – which have been shown to benefit seniors’ mental and physical health.

Another unique resource for residents of Bethesda Hawthorne Place is a web-based program called “It’s Never 2 Late” (iN2LTM). An interactive touch-screen displays a content library with multiple offerings to stimulate memory, movement, creativity, and fun.

How do I stay involved with my loved one after they move to a memory support community?

Visits from family and friends have been shown to improve a senior’s health and memory.

Friends and family are always welcome at Bethesda Hawthorne Place, and staff members are happy to answer questions. Family members who feel they need more information can be put in touch with the nurse manager.

An individualized service plan for each resident is created prior to their entering the neighborhood and the plan is shared with family members. Also, the family is informed if their loved one is choosing to participate in the neighborhood’s offerings and services or if they are experiencing challenges.

What do family members say about the community?

When choosing a memory support community for your senior loved one, find out what the community residents and their family members think about the experience.

“At Bethesda Hawthorne Place, families are extremely pleased with our dedicated memory support neighborhood,” says Lea Ann. “We get to know the residents and families early on in the process. We learn what the resident’s interests are and what the family expects.”

“Most of all, we know families want to be assured that their loved one is entering and living in a safe, secure, and positive place. And that’s what Bethesda Hawthorne Place provides.”

Ready to see all that an Assisted Living Community with Memory Support has to offer? Schedule a tour at Bethesda Hawthorne Place – 1111 S. Berry Road in the Kirkwood/Webster Groves area.

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