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What Is Memory Care Near Me?
Memory care is specialized care for those who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or other cognitive issues such as dementia. Memory care facilities provide a safe and secure environment where trained staff can closely monitor the health and well-being of the residents. Memory care facilities offer the same services as assisted living facilities (i.e., ADL support, meals, housekeeping, etc.), but with increased supervision to ensure the safety of people living with memory loss or dementia. This includes personalized programs, activities, and events designed to stimulate cognitive activity such as music, games, arts and crafts, etc.
How Does Memory Care Compare to Other Senior Care Options?
It is important to understand the various senior care options available to your loved one. Familiarity with the general care levels provided by each option means you can better match your loved one’s needs with the right type of care. This is particularly important when your loved one has a form of dementia, as their needs will likely change as their dementia progresses.
Care homes — also known as board and care homes, residential care homes, or adult family homes are located in residential neighborhoods— providing both assisted living and memory care in an intimate home-like setting. Depending on your location, they typically house between four and twelve residents. These home-like environments typically provide a higher ratio of caregivers and are ideal for those requiring close supervision provided in a small home-like environment. For those with early dementia, they may be more comfortable with early to moderate dementia, they may benefit from the socialization a larger community can provide. Care homes should be able to provide the same level of security or specialized care as the larger memory care facilities.
Independent living communities can be a viable housing solution for seniors who only have mild forms of memory loss and don’t require daily care assistance. A major advantage of independent living communities is that they offer apartment-style living quarters but without household management responsibilities. For example, residents can choose to have the community staff take care of housekeeping, laundry, apartment maintenance, etc. Independent living communities also generally offer amenities such as beauty services, on-site dining options, fitness centers, and various leisure activities and adult education opportunities.
In assisted living facilities, seniors generally live in a private apartment and have staff available to assist them 24/7 with ADLs such as dressing, personal hygiene, medication management, eating, and mobility. Residents also enjoy access to a wide range of amenities, such as special events and activities, housekeeping, transportation to and from doctor’s appointments, on-site dining halls, exercise rooms, beauty salons, libraries, etc. Assisted living facilities can be a living option for individuals with mild to moderate dementia who do not require medical supervision but do need more intensive support such as medication management, frequent reminders, and ADLs. However, they do not provide the level of security, supervision, or specialized care needed for seniors with more severe memory loss or dementia.
In-home care (sometimes also known as companion care, home care, or non-medical home care) is an option to help seniors with memory loss or dementia safely and comfortably remain at home for as long as possible. Professionally trained in-home caregivers provide supervision and personal, non-medical care, such as assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), transportation, and companionship. Caregiver schedules are built around the needs of the care recipient. Someone with mild memory loss might only need a caregiver to check in on them once or twice a week, whereas a senior with mid-level dementia might require daily visits.
Adult Day Care Centers
Adult day care is a non-residential care option that provides a safe, nurturing environment where seniors can socialize and take part in various enrichment activities. Most adult day care centers are open weekdays during normal business hours, allowing regular caregivers to have some time off during the day while ensuring that their loved one still receives appropriate care. Some adult day care centers specialize in memory care, meaning staff has experience and training in handling the unique needs of people diagnosed with memory loss or dementia — for example, wandering, speech difficulties, and challenging behavior.
Nursing homes (also called skilled nursing facilities) are ideal for seniors who need 24-hour skilled medical support and supervision performed by licensed medical providers. In general, nursing homes do not provide the same level of socialization or cognitive-focused activities as memory care facilities. However, they can be an appropriate care choice for seniors who have serious problems with their health such as bed-bound, insulin-dependent diabetes, bariatric or breathings issues requiring a licensed care provider.
|Assisted Living/Care Homes
|Assistance with ADLs
|Memory Care Services
When Is Memory Care Right for Your Loved One?
The level of personal care a senior with memory loss or dementia will need depends on their specific condition. For example, someone with early-stage Alzheimer’s might be able to comfortably live in an independent living or an assisted living community with increasing support services as needed.
Memory care facilities are an excellent option for seniors with more severe cases of dementia or memory impairment who require specialized care, For example, they:
- Have elopement issues (i.e., they easily get lost).
- Experience difficulties communicating in social situations.
- Experience weight loss requiring close supervision to assist with meals and hydration.
However, knowing when it’s time to transition your loved one into memory care can be tricky — it can take years for someone to progress early to mid and late-stage dementia. You don’t want to move them from their home before it’s necessary, but you also don’t want to wait too long and risk their safety and well-being. While every situation is different, here are some important signs to help you know when it’s time to move someone to memory care:
- You can’t keep them safe at home. People with dementia or memory loss can easily lose their orientation to time and place — making them prone to wandering and getting lost. Cooking and driving may become hazardous with forgetfulness, including small house fires from an inability to safely use the microwave or leaving items on the stove. Car accidents and damage to the car become a frequent occurrence.
- They are at risk for exploitation. Seniors with dementia are a common target for identity theft and are vulnerable to exploitation from outside influences due to their forgetfulness.
- They have difficulties with routine tasks. Watch for the signs like unpaid bills, food going bad, improper medication management, a decline in personal hygiene, and general messiness (like dishes piling up in the sink or trash not going out).
- They are moving less or falling more. Unexplained weight change, balance issues, sitting too long, or having difficulties standing and walking without assistance are common dementia-related issues and are red flags that your loved one needs to be moved to a safer environment.
- You notice changes in their behavior. The confusion caused by memory loss and dementia can cause a person to retreat inward. Be on the lookout for symptoms like abandoning hobbies, increased mood swings, or the tendency to self-isolate.
- You are unable to provide the level of care they need. Taking care of someone with memory loss or dementia can be extremely challenging. They might have difficulties communicating, exhibit uncontrolled behavior, and require constant supervision, personal care, and enrichment opportunities. You might also have to make significant home renovations to ensure their safety and comfort. If you don’t have the resources to provide a secure environment, or caregiving becomes so stressful that it’s affecting your own health and well-being, it’s time to transition your loved one to memory care.
Many other factors go into the decision to move into memory care. You can begin this assessment process with our Senior Needs Assessment Quiz. You can then follow up with a virtual in-take interview with one of Assisted Living Locators’ certified dementia care advisors. During this phone call or video call, they will provide an in-depth analysis of your loved one’s needs and help you determine if memory care is the right environment for your loved one.
Care assessment tool
Access our free senior care assessment tool, which can help you evaluate the specific needs and requirements of you or your loved one. By answering a series of questions, you’ll receive personalised recommendations and insights to aid in the decision-making process.Click to start
What Level of Care Is Provided With Memory Care?
Memory care is specifically designed for people with dementia or other cognitive issues and generally provides the following services and amenities:
- Assistance with activities of daily living (such as dressing, bathing, personal hygiene, etc.)
- Escort and transfer assistance
- Medication management
- Nutritional meals and snacks
- Housekeeping laundry services
- Highly structured community and social activities
- 24-hour support and supervision
- Emergency call system
- Beauty shop services
- Personalized activities to promote cognitive and physical well-being
Something that sets memory care apart from other senior living options is that memory care facilities often include special features to help people with dementia and memory loss safely navigate through their environment. For example, color-coded, circular hallways and memory shelves to help residents find their room, enhanced security to prevent behavior like wandering, and enclosed garden courtyards, or accouterments like a community bird-cage or fish tank, or background music in the common area to provide a more soothing atmosphere.
Potential residents must complete a needs assessment before moving into memory care. This process helps the staff determine if they can accommodate your loved one’s personal care and hygiene needs, health issues (such as diabetes) and provide an appropriate level of cognitive stimulation.
How To Select a Memory Care Facility
When searching for memory care for your loved one, it is important that you find a facility that does more than just provide for basic care needs. Rather, you want to move your aging loved ones into a situation where they feel happy, safe, and at home. As such, here are some key questions you should be asking to help you evaluate different living facilities:
Quality of Care
- What kind of training do caregivers and staff have?
- What ADLs do they provide assistance for?
- What is the caretaker-to-resident ratio for each shift?
- If your loved one has a specific diagnosis (diabetes, Parkinson’s, etc.), is the facility equipped to provide appropriate care?
- Do they have a staff nurse or an in-house physician?
- Can staff administer medications?
- How do staff handle difficult behaviors?
- What will happen if your loved one is admitted and does not adapt to their new environment?
- If necessary, can skilled nursing or hospice providers come in?
- What type of needs assessments do they require before move in?
- What type of safety measures do they have in place in the event of severe weather, a fire, etc.?
- If you’re looking at a smaller property, do they have an “awake” night staff??
- What is the basic monthly fee?
- What different levels of care are available and at what rates?
- Is there a deposit or entry fee for new residents?
- How often do they change their fee structure, and for what reasons?
- How far in advance will families be notified about cost changes?
- What is their process for handling payment issues/disputes?
- What financing options does the facility accept (LTC insurance, Medicaid, etc.)?
- What additional services are available should your loved one’s care needs change?
- What is their payment structure for additional fees for services or activities?
- What types of apartments are available?
- How often are rooms cleaned?
- Do they have transportation for medical appointments?
- Do they arrange enrichment field trips for residents?
- What type of personalized memory-care activities do they offer?
- How do they keep residents engaged and well-socialized?
- What building amenities do they offer (i.e., activity rooms, secure gardens, etc.)?
- Do they use visual cues like colors and memory shelves to help residents navigate the facility?
- Are animals allowed in the community (for example, could you bring a beloved pet in to visit)?
- Are they able to accommodate different food allergies, dietary restrictions? Do they offer finger foods for those who do not have the attention span to sit through a meal? What about snacks during the midnight hours for those who exhibit sundowners and have their days and nights confused?
When touring the memory care units, don’t just talk with staff in an office — explore the building, stay for lunch, and observe daily activities. Do residents seem to be calm and engaged? Do they receive personalized attention when they interact with staff members? Look at the rooms and check if the building is well-maintained. Ask to meet with the caregivers and see if you can get in contact with the families of other residents to hear about their experiences. Also, go to the appropriate state regulatory agency (usually the health department) to look up the facility and review their survey or inspection reports for issues that could impact your loved one.
Researching and touring multiple memory care facilities near you or your loved one can feel like an overwhelming challenge. Fortunately, a local care advisor can provide personalized guidance throughout the process. They will go on tours to provide an expert opinion, make sure that key questions get answered, and help you figure out financing options.
Transitioning an Aging Parent or Loved One Into Assisted Living
It can be difficult for seniors with memory impairments to move into a new environment like a memory care facility. They don’t want to lose their independence or move away from what they are familiar with. However, working with them to plan ahead can go a long way toward easing the transition and help ensure a positive outcome. Your loved one can participate in finding the right memory care facility for their care and lifestyle needs, helping them feel more in control of the process.
Talking about memory care isn’t something that can be done in a single conversation. Rather, you will need to have multiple discussions, spread out over weeks, even months, until your loved one is more comfortable with the idea.
Start by openly addressing your concerns about their current living situation. If they live with you, be candid about how their care requirements impact you and whether you are equipped to ensure their long-term safety and well-being. Don’t try to dance around the idea of memory care. Rather, be upfront about the issue.
After introducing the idea, wait a few days to allow them time to process their initial thoughts and feelings before bringing up the topic again. Make sure to carefully listen to their objections and fears. Transitioning into memory care is an important decision that needs to be handled with empathy and respect. Your loved ones need to feel they are being heard and that they have a say in the decision-making process.
It is also important that you are prepared to discuss finances. Assess their current living expenses and cost of care and compare that amount to the average cost of local memory care facilities. Make sure to work with a senior living advisor to research any benefits or financial assistance your loved one might be eligible to receive. An advisor will also help you and your loved one discuss different scenarios that may arise and how they may impact their long-term financial situation. By taking the time to understand your loved one’s concerns, you can find solutions to ensure they receive the care they need to enjoy a comfortable, fulfilling life.
Also, work with your loved one to gradually downsize their household in preparation for moving into memory care. Only so much stuff will fit into their new room, but you want to ensure that they can keep their most precious treasures — objects that have great personal meaning to them. If possible, begin shifting some of these items into their memory care room beforehand so that space feels more familiar and home-like when they arrive. A local care advisor can also help with this process.
Above all, be patient, remain positive and be understanding throughout the entire process. Moving can be an extremely stressful experience, especially when you have a memory impairment. It will take some time for them to settle in, join activities and make new friends. After the move, make sure to stay in touch and check in with caregivers to make sure your loved one doesn’t feel alone. But after your loved one has moved and is receiving the care they need, you can go from being in the caregiver role back to being their family.
How Much Does Assisted Living Cost?
The cost of a specific memory care facility will vary depending on many factors, such as where you live, property amenities, and the type of care your loved one needs. For example, the average cost of memory care in Portland, OR is around $6,248 per month. However, if you live in Boise, ID, the average price drops to only $4,940 per month.
1. Home Care
Compared to other senior housing options, the price of memory care is generally higher than independent living or assisted living but less than a nursing home. Memory care can also be a more affordable option than in-home care when you consider that the cost of a memory care facility includes housing, meals, transportation, activities, and personal care services.
When it comes to the Federal Medicare Program, it is important to note that it treats memory loss and dementia just like any other disease. If your loved one’s condition requires skilled nursing, Medicare will help pay for up to 100 days (or 190 days if a psychiatric hospital provides care). However, the program will not cover the cost of residential memory care (i.e., room & board) or assistance with ADLs (which classify as “custodial care”).
There are many options available to help pay for memory care. Possible financial resources to explore include VA benefits, home equity, bridge loans, life insurance conversions, and long-term care insurance. Another option is Medicaid. However, the benefits available for memory loss and dementia care will vary on a state-by-state basis.
An Assisted Living Locators® Care Advisor can provide guidance and resources for how to finance memory care near you.
Find Memory Care Facilities Nearby
FAQs About Memory Care Near Me
Memory care is specialized care for those who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or other cognitive issues such as dementia.
Assisted living is for seniors who need assistance with ADLs, but it does not provide specialized care for seniors dealing with memory loss, dementia, or other cognitive issues.
Assisted living is for seniors who need assistance with one or more ADLs including frequent reminders and medication management, but it does not provide a secured environment if elopement is a concern including specialized care for seniors dealing with memory loss, dementia, or other cognitive issues.
On average, memory care costs roughly 20-30% more than assisted living due to the more specialized services. Currently, the average cost of assisted living is around $4,300 per month in the United States, meaning the national average for memory care is around $5,200. Keep in mind rates will vary dramatically — sometimes by thousands of dollars — depending on location, care level, amenities, etc. An Assisted Living Locators® care advisor can help find memory care facilities near you that fit your price point.
Memory care provides 24/7 supervision in a safe and secure environment including assistance with meals, medication management, activities of daily living (dressing, bathing, medication management, personal grooming, etc.), room and board, and specialized activities to promote cognitive health. Memory care facilities generally do not provide skilled nursing services.
To start, look for memory care facilities near you that have good security measures to prevent elopement or wandering, that have safe and comfortable design features that are easy to navigate and minimize confusion. They have well-trained staff who understand the importance of maintaining purpose and dignity and provide all the services your loved one needs, and where residents are calm, engaged, and look well-cared for. A local care advisor can help you evaluate different options to ensure your loved one is placed in a quality memory care facility that suits their particular care needs.