Memory Care: Expert Assistance for Individuals Suffering from Alzheimer’s or Dementia

You might wish to think about memory care if providing at-home care for someone suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s gets too hard. For those with memory problems, memory care is a type of residential long-term care that offers intense, specialized treatment.

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For dementia patients, several assisted living facilities, continuing care retirement communities, and nursing homes provide memory care “neighborhoods.” Additionally, independent memory care centers exist.

According to the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care, a nonprofit organization that monitors market trends, memory care is the segment of the senior housing market that is expanding the quickest, with the number of units having doubled over the last ten years. However, as COVID-19 decimated several long-term care institutions in 2020, occupancy rates fell precipitously.

Following the pandemic, a number of institutions have experienced staffing challenges, and there is a broad range in the quality of memory care units, according to Denver-based registered nurse and memory care specialist Megan Carnarius. When deciding if memory care is the best option for your loved one, it’s crucial to pay a visit and pose questions.

What distinguishes memory care from other types?

People with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease are intended to feel less stressed by memory care, which offers a controlled, safe atmosphere with predetermined schedules. Like the staff at an assisted living home, employees serve meals and assist residents with personal care activities, but they also receive specialized training to address the peculiar problems that frequently occur from dementia or Alzheimer’s. In addition to giving residents more structure and assistance to help them get through the day, they check in with them more regularly.

According to Carnarius, “residents in regular assisted living are expected to manage their own time; menus and mealtimes are posted, but staff is not checking in on them.” “The staff at memory care facilities makes sure the residents eat, participate in activities, and move on to the next thing.”

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 6 out of 10 persons with dementia wander, thus memory care facilities utilize code-protected elevators, locked doors, and enclosed outdoor areas to keep their clients on-site. Many provide residents with monitoring bands that allow them to roam freely while enabling personnel to keep an eye on their whereabouts.

At various phases of the condition, activities are intended to engage residents and enhance cognitive function.

Selecting a facility for memory care

The Alzheimer’s Association’s Community Resource Finder, an online listing of elder care providers, and AARP are good places to start your search. When you click “Housing Options,” a list of home types (such assisted living or continuing care senior communities) will appear. Enter your zip code to see if the facility offers memory care.

What is the price of memory care?

It should come as no surprise that a memory care unit’s higher degree of care and monitoring is more expensive.

As to the 2021 NIC figures, the average monthly rent for memory care facilities in the United States is $6,935. That’s a lot less than a nursing home’s average monthly cost of $10,562, but still much more than assisted living, which costs $5,380 on average per month.

State-by-state variations in costs are influenced by the quality of treatment received.

While they will cover the facility’s medical costs, Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans often do not cover room and board or personal care in assisted living facilities. For qualified veterans and surviving spouses who are over 65, veterans benefits usually assist with cost coverage. Medicaid could provide some long-term care coverage after your loved one has depleted all assets, but only if the facility takes it.

A Pennsylvania elder law attorney named Richard Newman claims that the majority of families that need memory care have to pay for it out of their own pockets. If your loved one has already acquired long-term care insurance, it can be quite beneficial, he adds. To assist with the expense, families may also choose to liquidate personal belongings or use the “living benefits” of a life insurance policy.

If you believe that a loved one will require memory care, Newman advises making plans as soon as you can. It’s difficult, but there are methods to qualify for Medicaid and secure certain assets, so I would suggest speaking with an elder law attorney, he adds.