Dallas Home Health Care Blog

Choosing a Senior Care Facility for Dementia Patients

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Most of the senior care homes and retirement centers across the United States now have a section reserved for dementia patients. It does not, however guarantee that the facility will be the right fit for every dementia patient who applies to live there.

This is because as the disease eventually progresses, the needs of the patient will progress as well. If the facility cannot adapt to meet these needs, then it is not the right place for a dementia patient to reside. And because no two dementia patients are alike, it must also account for those situations.

For example one dementia patient may do best in an environment that provides an adequate amount of stimulation. Going too far and over stimulating a different patient, however may cause them to become agitated or even aggressive. When this happens, how does the senior homecare facility handle it?

Fortunately there are questions you can ask to help you choose the right residence for a dementia patient. This is a crucial part of the selection process and essential to assessing both the benefits and disadvantages that each nursing home, senior center, or similar long term residence. The questions are:

1. Does the dementia care wing provide enough space so the patients do not feel restricted or confined to the unit? Dementia patients are known for wandering around, and need space to do this.

2. How does the nursing home or other long-term senior residence challenge a dementia patient’s intellectual needs and abilities? Brain health is important, and regular cognitive stimulation can prolong some of the symptoms of dementia or Alzheimer's disease.

3. What measures does the senior care facility take to promote a positive environment that appeals to multiple senses, such as visual, auditory, and touch? Multi-sensory environments help promote cognitive health as well.

4. Does the facility offer activities that involve music or singing? Many patients, even those who suffer from the advanced stages of dementia, are still able to play an instrument or even sing along with the words to a song.

5. What training does the staff have that is specific to dementia patients? Also ask about how the staff handles patients who become aggressive or act out in some other way.

6. How they handle patients who wander. Do they lock them in their rooms, or do they use a GPS-type of alarm system to keep track of their location?

Finally, when visiting a senior care facility, take a good look at the patients there. Are they clean? How are they dressed? Does the staff show them the same care and respect that they show to patients in the other residential wings and areas? Asking these questions will give you the peace of mind to know that your loved one is in good hands in their new residence.