You may have heard the term “memory care” but aren’t sure exactly what it is. In this article, we’ll explain what memory care facilities are, how they differ from assisted living facilities, and what to watch out for when moving your loved one into a facility.
What is a memory care facility?
A memory care facility is a facility that provides specialized long-term residential care for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias. Memory care facilities treat each resident as an individual and provide personalized activities and care based on the unique needs of each resident. Residents live independently in their own apartments but receive 24-hour supervision, assistance with daily living activities (such as bathing), and three meals a day from staff trained in memory loss conditions. It provides around-the-clock assistance and medical services.
Memory care facilities are designed to prevent residents from getting lost or wandering away. They have secure outdoor spaces for residents, such as courtyards, patios, and gardens, that can be safely accessed by the individual without posing a safety risk to the resident or others. These facilities create an environment that stimulates and engages residents. For example, a memory care facility may provide daily activities like arts and crafts, exercise classes, games like bingo or trivia nights, music therapy groups, and group meals with other residents in a communal dining area known as the dining room or cafeteria.
Who needs memory care facilities?
So, what are the signs that someone you love needs memory care? If they…
- Are struggling to take care of themselves.
- Are a danger to themselves or others.
- Are wandering and getting lost.
- Are vulnerable to scams and abuse.
- Have difficult behaviors (aggression, paranoia, hallucinations).
- Live alone and have no one to check in on them regularly.
Services offered in a memory care facility
These facilities offer a wide range of services, from basic assistance with activities of daily living to 24-hour supervision and nursing care. Memory care facilities may offer a variety of services. Some of these include:
- Personalized attention: Memory care facilities are staffed by trained professionals who focus on each resident’s needs. Staff members are available around the clock, but residents may also spend time with family and friends as desired.
- Quality meals: Residents at memory care facilities enjoy nutritious meals that meet their specific dietary needs and preferences, such as kosher or vegetarian diets. The dining area is often designed to be more spacious than normal dining rooms and equipped with special features like ramps and handrails to make eating easier for those who have trouble walking or balancing.
- Medication management: Medications are important in managing symptoms associated with dementia, such as confusion, agitation, and sleep disturbances.
- Programs: Programs range from social activities to exercise classes to health screenings to transportation services to help with the needs of the resident.
Benefits of a memory care facility
Memory care facilities offer a wide range of services and levels of care. The following are some benefits of choosing a memory care facility for your loved one:
- A variety of activities designed to stimulate the mind and body.
- Memory care facilities typically offer a wide range of daily activities designed to stimulate the mind and body.
- Many memory care communities have libraries stocked with books, puzzles, games, videos, newspapers, magazines, and other forms of reading material.
- Some facilities also provide computer labs where residents can access the Internet or use email services such as Facebook or Skype.
- Music therapy programs are another popular activity in many memory care communities; they often include singing along with recorded music or playing instruments together in groups.
- Other popular activities include art projects like painting or drawing, dancing, and singing.
The cost of a memory care facility
When researching and comparing specific amenities, you may find that some facilities are more costly than others. A relatively luxurious option may have higher living standards but will also likely be more expensive. You should consider what your loved one needs most and find the facility that provides those accommodations at a reasonable cost.
Financial aid can assist families with high medical costs associated with memory care services and Alzheimer’s disease. Each state has its own Medicaid program that offers services for people with low income and resources. To apply for financial assistance through your state’s Medicaid program, contact your local office or visit the www.medicaid.gov website to learn more about eligibility requirements and coverage benefits in your local area. Your loved one’s doctor or nurses can also help direct you to local support groups where you can ask questions about financial assistance programs and other resources in your area.
How to choose the right memory care facility
If you’re considering a memory care facility for your loved one, make sure to check out its reputation. Here are some things to consider:
- What is the staff like? Are they kind and helpful? Do they have experience caring for patients with dementia?
- What activities and services do the facility offer? Is there a doctor on-site or nearby?
- Visit the facility yourself. You should choose one that feels safe, clean, and well maintained.
- How much does it cost? Make sure you can afford it before signing up for one.
- Consult with a doctor before making a decision about where to place your loved one. Some memory care facilities have specialized doctors who work with dementia patients.
Now that you know what a memory care facility is, how to find a reputable one and what to expect once you enter the facility, you are better equipped to decide if this option is right for your elderly loved one.
As more individuals in our society reach old age, it’s becoming more important than ever that we learn about these types of facilities so that patients with Alzheimer’s or dementia can receive the specialized care they need in an environment that is safe and secure. This specialized care can also provide peace of mind for family members who may be struggling to provide adequate care for their loved ones at home.
If you are considering memory care for your loved one, make sure that you have done your research and know what questions to ask before choosing the right facility.
GreySteps is where you will learn how to find the best senior care options for yourself or loved ones. We provide guides and resources for independent living, long-term acute care hospitals, hospice and other senior care options.