Lisa Conway – Hometown News

Q: My husband will need a memory care facility soon. How do I choose one?

A: A diagnosis of cognitive impairment or memory issues can be overwhelming –for both patient and family. I applaud you for planning ahead. Understanding your options will lead to better care decisions for your husband. But researching memory care facilities can be challenging. There are important features you should look for — and questions you should ask.

Typically, assisted living facilities offer basic services like meal preparation, laundry and housekeeping.  Good memory care facilities will provide additional medical and behavioral care and greater assistance with activities of daily living.

 Physical Infrastructure

Memory care communities are often designed with physical features to aid their residents.  Architects endeavor to create spaces that are comfortable and easy to navigate, as well as visually and mentally engaging. Designs may include circular layouts, boosted natural lighting and stimulating multi-sensory environments and security features. Specially designed common areas allow residents to interact and participate in enjoyable activities.

Systems and Training

Six out of 10 Alzheimer’s patients have the tendency to “wander.”  Memory care facilities must take extra measures to keep these clients safe. Precautions include increased staffing, security alarms on exterior doors or “wander guard” alerts. You should ask about (documented) dementia training given to direct-care staff and what it encompasses.


Some memory care communities bring in behavioral professionals to create special programming for residents. Data suggests memory care clients in these sites take less medication, have fewer falls and injuries, exhibit improved nutritional health and still enjoy a measure of independence. Programs may also decrease wandering frequency and “acting out” behaviors.

Dementia differs in each individual. And memory care communities are not “one size fits all.” If you are considering memory care for a family member, consider working with a Certified Care Manager. These professionals can help match the needs of your loved one to local memory care resources. For more information, call One Senior Place in Viera at 321-751-6771.

One Senior Place is a marketplace for resources and provider of information, advice, care and on-site services for seniors and their families. Questions for this column are answered by professionals in nursing, social work, care management and in-home care. Send questions to or visit One Senior Place, The Experts in Aging at OneSeniorPlace.comLisa Conway is a Registered Nurse and a Certified Care Manager for Senior Partner Care Services, Viera.