Deciding on memory care can be a difficult decision for families. Memory care communities or units offer specialized care and nursing services that assisted living communities typically don’t offer. Memory care is an appropriate level of care when a decline in physical health is not related to another chronic disease outside of Alzheimer’s. About 70% of adults older than 65 will need long-term care at some point in their lives, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Many who require senior care will have some type of cognitive decline or memory loss.
When considering memory care, it is important to look for facilities that provide person-centered care that helps seniors with dementia maintain cognitive skills, a sense of self, and quality of life for as long as possible. Staff members at both assisted living and memory care facilities have experience supporting residents with day-to-day tasks. But staff at memory care facilities are well-equipped and trained to provide 24-hour, person-centered care.
Memory care facilities should also emphasize nutrition and hydration since forgetting to eat and drink is typical and exacerbates memory loss symptoms. Activities are designed to improve cognitive function and engage residents at different stages of the disease. The right facility can improve safety and quality of life for a loved one.
Choosing a memory care facility can be overwhelming. Families can start the search at AARP and the Alzheimer’s Association’s Community Resource Finder, an online directory of senior care services. Click on “Housing Options,” select a type of residence (for example, assisted living or continuing care retirement community) and enter your zip code; the results will show nearby options with ratings from Medicare.gov’s Nursing Home Compare tool.
The cost of memory care is higher than that of assisted living due to the higher level of specialized training required by staff, uniquely designed buildings, and higher security measures. The median price per room at a memory care facility is about $5,250 per month. Medicaid may offer some assistance once your loved one no longer has any assets.
In conclusion, deciding on memory care requires careful consideration. It is important to look for facilities that provide person-centered 24-hour specialized nursing services that help seniors with dementia maintain cognitive skills, a sense of self, quality nutrition and hydration while engaging them in activities designed to improve cognitive function. Families can start their search using online directories such as AARP or the Alzheimer’s Association.