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Alzheimer's Care Facility Checklist

When searching for a memory care facility for a spouse or loved one, you’ll want to look for all of the services, amenities and standards or care you’d expect to find in a standard assisted living or 24-hour skilled nursing care facility. Additionally, you should look for the services, amenities and standards of care specifically meant to meet the needs of senior adults living with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. These can include:

  • A secure living environment that keeps residents safe from wandering; ideally, this will include outdoor as well as indoor areas
  • A physical environment designed with the needs of seniors who have Alzheimer’s or dementia in mind; this can include modifications that help residents orient themselves, as well as modifications that minimize intrusive noise and harsh lighting that may disturb those dealing with dementia
  • A higher patient-to-staff ratio
  • Staff specifically trained to work with seniors who have Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia or memory disorders
  • A slate of social, recreational and therapeutic activities designed specifically for those who have Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia

Here are some other things to look for and specific questions to ask as you begin touring facilities.

To download a printable version of this checklist, please click here.

Family Involvement

  • Are families encouraged to participate in care planning?
  • Are family members kept informed of the resident’s conditions and needs?
  • Is the staff open to communication with family members and responsive to their input?

Medical

  • Is on-site medical or nursing care provided? If so, is it available 24 hours or just part of the day?
  • Is a medical doctor on-call 24/7?
  • In case of a medical emergency, to which hospital will residents be transferred?

Staffing

  • Are staff members trained in dementia care?
  • Is assistance available to help residents get to and from meals and activities, if needed?
  • Do staff members treat seniors with dementia as individuals and afford them the respect and dignity they deserve?
  • Do staff members routinely help residents with personal care, grooming, dressing, bathing, toileting, etc.?

Programs and Services

  • Are activities and services designed for each resident based on his or her individual health, behavioral, therapeutic and social needs?
  • Are transportation and staff available to take residents to off-site activities?
  • Does the community schedule regular check-ins with the family to assess the resident’s current care plan?

Residents

  • Are residents treated with respect and dignity?
  • Is their personal hygiene maintained?
  • Are they well-groomed and appropriately dressed?
  • Does staff ensure all residents are kept engaged and involved?

Environment

  • Is the environment clean and free from persistent bad smells or odors?
  • Are the resident rooms comfortable, clean and well maintained?
  • Is the facility designed to help residents live and move as independently as possible?
  • Does the facility have an inviting and comfortable family visiting area?
  • Can residents bring personal items and furnishings to create a more home-like environment?

Meals

  • Is the food appetizing?
  • Do meals provide adequate nutrition, and are residents monitored to ensure they are receiving proper nutrition?
  • Can the food service accommodate special dietary needs?
  • Is the dining area pleasant and inviting?
  • Can family and friends dine with residents?
  • Can residents get appropriate assistance eating, if necessary?

Policies and Procedures

  • Are family members and friends allowed and encouraged to participate in the resident’s care?
  • Is the facility in a location convenient for frequent visits?
  • Are the visiting hours convenient?
  • Are the discharge policies transparent, fair and appropriate for the resident’s situation?