The transition to a senior living community can be an emotional journey, but knowing a person in your care is entering a community that proactively helps new residents get involved with community life and make friends can help ease that transition. Their approach to new-resident integration could mean a more positive dementia-care experience. After all, just because someone you love could use a helping hand doesn’t mean that they should have to sacrifice quality of life!
If you want to help ensure that the person in your care will have the opportunity to form positive relationships in their new home, look for these five hallmarks of a great senior living community.
1. Watch for a warm, welcoming atmosphere.
To help ease the transition to this new lifestyle, look for apartments that feel and function like a private home, with bathrooms and plenty of natural light. This can help new residents feel more comfortable and at ease when they move to a community. Also look for easy-to-navigate floor plans and plenty of areas where seniors can participate in everyday activities.
2. Prioritize a secure setting.
To help keep residents safer, consider a community that monitors guests and secures entrances and exits. If you are a caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia, consider a specialized community with exterior doors secured 24 hours a day. Some memory care communities feature an enclosed courtyard, so residents can explore the outdoors while remaining safely in the community.
3. Ask for person-centered care.
We’re all unique, and aging doesn’t change who we are and what makes us special! Your loved one’s new community shouldn’t have a one-size-fits-all approach to resident care. Ask an associate how the community tailors care plans to treat the resident as a whole person. The community’s goal should be getting to know each resident for who they are and incorporating their individual needs and interests into their care plan.
4. Encourage participation in enriching activities.
Regularly scheduled activities can provide residents with a sense of purpose and belonging — and those activities can be a great place to make new friends! Look for communities that help residents stay engaged with a daily structure of planned activities to help them maintain their abilities and encourage the use of their current skills. Brain games, dancing, art classes and music programs are just a few of the ways residents can spend their days.
5. Consider services and staff.
Your loved one deserves to experience a full life in a place where they are well taken care of. As you’re looking at communities, ask how chores like laundry and housekeeping are handled, and get details on support provided throughout the day, whether it's during meals, taking medication, bathing and more. You can also ask about staff training and education. Do associates receive initial and ongoing training to help them keep up-to-date on the latest dementia care techniques?