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No matter the size it is important to research your choices in your area as well as visit in person. During your visit observe how the staff interact with you. Do they smile, etc? Also look at the residents and see how they are dressed, what they are doing, odors, etc. Ask the community if they do Alzheimer's training and what type? Is it in person with a trainer, via video and how many hours and how often? I am an advocate for in person trainings. Videos can do only so much especially with the day to day workings in regards to behaviors and communication. Ask what their staff to client ratio is and then look around at how many residents in comparison to how many employees. Ask to see their last state survey. Observe what type of programming the community offers. It is important to have programming that will not overwhelm your loved one as well as programming that is appropriate. If you are unsure of what is appropriate ask questions about their programming and why they do certain activities. Observe the environment and if you consider it over stimulating. Observe how easy it is for you to figure our your surroundings and if you have difficulty on your first visit than that gives you an idea of how your loved one will feel every day. With all this said I personally lean toward smaller communities yet have experienced some great communities that were on the larger size. It comes down to how the size is being managed, the ratio between caregivers and residents and the appropriate training for the team members.
Wishing you strength, courage and happiness with those in their days gone by,
Deanna
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