Choosing a Dementia Care Facility

Choosing the Right Facility for Your Loved One

When choosing a facility for your loved one, there are several issues that you should address in order to make sure that the location would be both appropriate and beneficial to your loved one and their needs.

Familiarity with AD/Dementia

When you visit, try to get a sense for how familiar the facility and the staff are with the needs and care of persons with Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia. Do they have special measures for security or supervision in place to prevent wandering or other behaviors? Do they offer rehabilitative or therapeutic support for AD/dementia individuals and how active do they encourage these individuals to be? Some facilities may have specialized dementia care units or, in larger metropolitan areas, facilities might exist whose specific purpose is to care for AD/dementia individuals.

Quality of Care

Part of the anxiety that is associated with long-term care comes from wondering what quality of care your loved one would have at a facility. When you visit, be sure to not only talk to the administration and the staff, but also try to talk with some of the residents and their family members. Also, remember to try to get a sense for how things operate when you are not around. What kinds of staff or health professionals are available on a daily or semi-daily basis?

Practical Matters

Remember to ask the purely practical questions. What is the current availability of rooms within the facility? If there is a waiting list, how soon would your loved one be able to gain entrance? Finally, ask about how much placement would cost and what kinds of payment they take. Medicare and Medigap (supplemental Medicare insurance) will not pay for extended stays in nursing facilities, so discuss with the facility what payment options are available. State-run Medicaid or long-term care insurance may be able to help finance your loved one’s stay.

Family Involvement

Finally, when talking to residents and their families, find out whether they are satisfied with the level of involvement and interaction in the facility. How open is the facility to visits from family members and friends? Are there certain hours when you can or can’t visit your loved one? Do appointments need to be made for visitations? Does the facility ask for or allow the input of family members in designing the care plan and activities for their loved ones? As a caregiver, you have a lot of knowledge and experience that is valuable to the continued care of your loved one, even in a long-term care facility.


In the end-stages of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia or if your loved one is terminally ill, hospice care can ensure that your loved one is receiving the best care possible at all times. The goal of hospice is to make sure that your loved one is comfortable, calm, and as pain-free as possible. Visit the page below to learn more about this option.


Choosing a Dementia Special Care Unit

Source: Virginia Department of Aging
Description: This brochure from the Virginia Department on Aging provides specific resources and recommendations for placing a person with Alzheimer's disease or dementia into long-term care, including questions that should be asked and documents that should be considered before placement.

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