Tips for Finding Quality Dementia Care in Baltimore
At least 110,000 Marylanders aged 65 and older are dealing with Alzheimer’s Disease or another form of dementia today. For them and for their families, finding care can be a daunting task. While Maryland leads the nation in high-quality, accessible dementia care specialists and memory care programs, the sheer number of options can leave families feeling overwhelmed.
Memory care is specialized care designed to enhance the lives of people with dementia. In Baltimore, these programs may be offered in continuous care retirement communities, assisted living communities, or residential assisted living communities. Whether you're just starting your search or have been researching for a while, this guide will help you make an informed decision that will give you peace of mind and ensure your loved one receives the care they need.
Staffing and Training
One of the most important factors to consider in your search is the people who will care for your loved one. After all, these caregivers will shape the quality and safety of your loved one’s days. The more you know about the staff, the better equipped you’ll be to make a decision.
- Staffing ratios: Ask each community about its staff-to-resident ratio. The lower this number, the more attention a caregiver can give your loved one. A ratio of about 1:8 is average for the best memory care communities.
- Specialized training for dementia care: Caregivers should be trained in how to manage challenging behaviors, promote well-being, and engage people with dementia in meaningful activities for their cognitive health.
- Experience and qualifications of staff: In Maryland, seniors with dementia are generally required to enroll in programs with Level 3 licensing. Both the community itself and the individual staff members should provide their qualifications when asked.
Safety and Security
Everyone wants to know that their loved one is safe and protected where they live. Because seniors with dementia often experience confusion, changes in vision and depth perception, and mobility issues, they may be particularly vulnerable to falls and wandering behaviors.
- Safety measures for wandering and falls: Check for features like gated outdoor areas, keypad-coded entrances, and other monitoring technologies.
- Emergency protocols and response times: Make sure the community has 24/7 staff coverage as well as emergency buttons or call systems in each room. Ask about the average response time to an emergency situation.
- Accessibility and mobility features: Walkways should be clear, and it should be easy to navigate between rooms and common areas. Bathrooms should be equipped with grab bars and other non-slip, non-trip features.
Activities and Programs
Research shows that familiar pastimes, emotionally meaningful experiences, and predictable routines can reduce depression and behavioral issues in people with dementia. Take time to explore each community’s offerings and care philosophy!
- Cognitive and physical activities: Seniors should have the opportunity to participate in a range of activities that are both meaningful to them and focused on their well-being.
- Social events and community involvement: Loneliness is a risk factor for dementia, and can aggravate cognitive decline. Healthy social engagement should be part of any memory care program.
- Individualized care plans: If a person was never interested in cooking, then a cooking class won’t be especially meaningful for them. Ask the community how they personalize activity plans for seniors based on their interests, preferences, and abilities.
Environment and Amenities
Touring a community is incredibly important, as it allows you to get a firsthand look at the environment. Use your senses while you tour a community, and make sure to explore as many amenities as you can.
- Cleanliness and upkeep of facilities: Take into account your immediate experience of the environment (its smell and appearance) and ask questions about health and safety protocols.
- Private vs. shared spaces: Some memory care programs are part of larger assisted living facilities, while others are standalone memory care facilities. Residential assisted living facilities may have both private and shared rooms. Make sure you understand the community’s layout, level of occupancy, shared amenities, and more.
- Amenities such as outdoor spaces and therapy rooms: Every memory care community is unique! Ask what special amenities are available at each location.
Communication and Family Involvement
The best dementia care involves families, operating with full transparency and an inviting atmosphere. If you get a feeling that the administration isn’t forthcoming or is trying to rush through your interview, that should be a concern.
- Communication with family members: Ask how often you’ll hear from the care team and what channels of communication are available.
- Family involvement in care plans and decision-making: Make sure you’ll have a say in the important things. Ask how often you’ll be asked for feedback and invited to collaborate.
- Support for families of residents with dementia: Ask if the community has any resources to help you and your family cope, connect, and find comfort.
Get Help from a Senior Living Advisor in Baltimore
CarePatrol has vetted Baltimore’s memory care communities, compiling in-depth reports on the safety, security, activities, and amenities of each. When you partner with us, you’ll receive a curated list of communities that best fit your loved one’s needs and preferences. We’ll then help you set up tours, accompany you on most visits, and be there to guide you as you make your decision. Best of all, we provide these services at no cost to you!
If you’re not quite sure whether or not you’re ready to start the process, take our quick assessment to find out what level of care your loved one needs. We’ll be here to help whenever you need us!
CarePatrol: Find High-Quality Memory Care in Baltimore County
The team at CarePatrol of Baltimore is committed to finding the best senior living option for your loved one. We’ve evaluated over 400 communities in the area, and have the tools and expertise to help you narrow down your search. Let us take the stress out of finding quality care. Call us today at (410) 844-0800 or reach out online to speak to a senior care advisor today!