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My sister and I believe it will soon be time to move mom into a dementia care facility. We both live out of state from Mom. I have started my search on the internet and by making phone calls. What questions should I be asking besides the obvious of cost, nursing, physicians, staff training, etc.? Once we narrow things down and take tours, what things should we especially be looking for and observing on our tour?

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Susie~I also recommend, if time allows when you take the tours, try to make unscheduled visits during the morning. The morning is when they have all their activities and they usually schedule tours for afternoons when it is quieter as more advanced residents will take naps. When we took our tours, none of the residents were out pacing the halls, where they were, I don't know. They also only had residents available that could hold a conversation. I am not saying they hide things from, but they are going to do their best to provide a good tour based on your mothers cognitive abilities. So I think to get a good picture of all the residents, go in the morning unscheduled so you can see more of the whole picture. Also during our tours, after the tour is done and sit down to talk, they will try to put a little pressure on you to make a deposit that is refundable if you chose another community, but my point is, if you are not ready to put a deposit down on an apartment or a room, let them know that. The first community we visited, we told them we did not want to put a deposit down because we were waiting for the result of the neurologists evaluation and until mom was diagnosed as incapacitated, we could not move forward anyway. They accepted that, did not pressure us or call us constantly. The second place we toured, we told them the same thing. They said they would work with us and move mom into assisted living now without us have an activated DPOA. Sent up red flags for us. We ended up going with the first place because of private rooms and mom could have her beloved small dog with her as long as mom could take care of the dog.
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Pages 2-5 of the document in the following link has an exhaustive list of questions to ask a potential memory care facility. Really helpful.

http://www.nctcog.org/cs/aging/pdf/AlzBooklet.pdf
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Thanks sharynmarie. I have had lengthy phone visits with 3 memory care facilities. All 3 calculate their fees using different methods, which make it a challenge to compare apples to apples. I never would have thought to ask about who provides bed linens and towels, so thank you for that. I suppose along with a TB test she would need to be up to date with a flu shot, which she claims she got sick on years ago and refuses to get again. I did manage to get her vaccinated for pneumonia recently, so maybe ...... Every place I have looked into have beauty salons, nurses, visiting physicians and podiatrists. Some have small sundries stores. Thanks for the tips everyone.
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We used alternativesforseniors. Very helpful.
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We went through "A Place for Mom". They emailed me a list of places to schedule tours with. Make a list of what is important to you for your mother. We wanted a place with private rooms/bath, other female residents who are similar in cognitive abilities so mom could make friends and socialize. Daily activities, food that is enjoyable to eat.

Questions never seem to end on this search. What do they supply? We supply everything...toilet paper, shampoo, gloves, adult premoistened wash cloths, lotions, towels and all personal hygiene items.
Mom has hearing aids and glasses, they take these from her at night, recharge the hearing aids and give them back in the morning.
Denture care, a container to place them at night.
We bought a laundry basket with wheels, they do her laundry now that mom is in memory care, all bedding is supplied by us.
Who will take mom to the dr. Since I live within 5 min. I do it, but they do schedule appts. on tues and thurs. and will take them on those days. I prefer to do it so I know what is going on.

In memory care, the residents doors do not lock except for bathrooms. Other residents could come in your moms room. We have not had a problem with this, however, mom was going into the room of the woman she shared the bathroom with, and would take her afghan because mom said it was her afghan. They ended up moving that woman to another room because she and mom did not get along. The woman who now sharing with her gets along fine. (my mom was the problem not the other woman, LOL!!)
When we first moved mom, we put her in the assisted living side of the community because there was not a room in memory care. Because mom was already living at the community, she was first on the list to get a room in m/c when it became available. She participated in memory care during the day and they would escort her to and from her apartment everyday. It worked out fine since mom was not an escape risk. Within 6 weeks a room became available so we moved her downstairs to m/c.
Since you live out of state, look for a community that has it's own beauty salon so you can schedule regular hair cuts and a weekly shampoo, set and dry. If your mom enjoys mani/pedi. This community has a podiatrist that comes in every 3 months but we have to request it and schedule it for her to be seen. Mom has bad callous issues and very thick nails so we usually take her to a podiatrist instead of waiting for theirs to come.
As your mother progresses and needs more help, ask how they handle that and do they charge more for the added needs as time goes by. My mom can stay here through final stages as long as she does not need IV drips,etc.that would require skilled nursing. Some places have a point system that they base the needed care on and their fee increases as the points go up. You will need to get your mom a current TB skin test as well.
We moved mom because she could not take care of herself properly with eating and taking her meds plus she was not safe alone any longer. She would climb ladders, use the stove or oven and forget. She was struggling with paying her bills on time. Once she was diagnosed as incapacitated, the DPOA was activated and her elder law attorney followed my mom's instructions by putting my sister as trustee over her accounts. I am secondary on the DPOA but sis and I work together on decisions regarding mom's care. Sis lives out of town, so I usually take care of all appt. since we both work. Good luck with your search.
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I should have explained that we are looking for memory care facilities in the state where Mom lives for a few reasons,one being that her granddaughter does live within 30 minutes of Mom. Mom is also 94 and a 1,000-3,000 mile move would likely be way too much for her to tolerate. If I could move Mom, I currently live in an area that has horrible medical care and not much for AL and no memory care facilities. We tried years ago (pre-dementia) to get Mom to move near one of us. Although both my sister and I get along great with Mom, she steadfastly refused to entertain any moves. We tried our best to no avail and are left puzzled as to why. Dad passed away, she has no friends left that she sees, she goes nowhere (unless we are there), and unless family is visiting, the only people Mom sees regularly is Meals on Wheels delivery folks, her twice weekly home help and the pharmacy delivery guy. Everybody except Mom knows that she would be so much better off in assisted living or memory care facility if for no other reason than to socialize, get regular meals and meds. Her dementia isn't too bad as yet, but she is now beyond being able to reason and make good decisions. We do have an upcoming appointment for a thorough assessment. Her POA may be activated at that point.
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I agree that a place near one of you lives is a good one. As for visiting a facility - go several times - unannounced - and make sure one visit is at a mealtime.
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First, I would choose a facility where one of you live. Trying to care for a parent long distance is not a good idea if you want to visit your mother in her last years of life. You can readily visit, check out the facility with your state's requirements and their (facility) record, and have rapport with staff. It will be less costly too. You don't mention who has POA and MPOA. Get your documents in order if you have not done so. Best wishes.
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Memory care can be offered at the assisted living (AL) level or skilled nursing level (snf). The rehab where my Mom was told me to go to SNF. When I checked them out, one (honest) admissions person told me she didn't need SNF and gave me the name of a good AL. We did the latter and it worked fine @ lower costs. Ask about the ratio of aides to residents; nurse to residents; etc. Ask about activities programs and think about your Mom's interest in such events. Does the place have volunteers come? What do they do? How often do these events occur? All of this provides human interaction. One place had religious services from all faiths that came over the course of the month. The created singing, adults and children who spent a few moments smiling and saying hi, etc. Can the facility provide beauty salon services? Physical/occupational therapy on site? What is their end of care policy? What would cause them to ask you to move your Mom?

BTW, a place for mom got me started, but they only give you names of places that pay them a commission. SO, there may be great places out there that aren't on their list, as I found out! Finally, you might (seriously) consider looking for a place nearer to you and/or your sister. Unless there are very close family members near your Mom's location (your Dad?), there is no reason to leave her near where she currently lives. To be honest, very few neighbors and friends will visit her as her illness progresses. Proximity of family will bring more frequent visits and an ability to check in on things. Good luck
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"A Place for Mom" will give you a list of you give them requirements.
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the first thing I have learned is that unless she is declared incompetent,you cannot make her go anywhere.I was told if I move my mother there,she can check out any time and go God knows where.Good luck,and you can check a place's reputation online and visit more than once before she decides to move there.
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