Learn more about how you can help your loved ones with in home care.
When Should You Move To Memory Care?
Finding a memory care facility or assisted living center for your loved ones is never something that you look forward to. Sadly, there is a great need for memory care centers, with over 30,000 assisted living facilities in the United States and one million Americans living in a type of a skilled nursing facility. This can be a stressful time for all family members involved because often your loved one may want to continue in an independent living situation even though it requires more assistance. However, most people are not able to provide in-home care or a family caregiver for their loved ones who may require hospice care.
Here are some excellent questions to ask when attempting to decide if your loved one can perform daily activities, or if they are exhibiting some red flags of short-term memory loss, where they would benefit from transitioning to a memory care facility with a caregiver:
- Does your loved one need help toileting or grooming themselves and with basic hygiene needs?
- Does your loved one struggle with the ability to feed themself?
- Does your loved one show increase aggression and other behavioral issues?
- Does your loved one show signs of forgetfulness or experience memory lapses?
- Does your loved one wander and seem disoriented, even in familiar settings?
- Does your loved one need 24/7 supervision?
- Is your loved one experiencing a cognitive decline, short-term memory loss, long-term memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, Huntington’s disease, or Sundowner’s syndrome?
Does your loved one forget to turn off the stove, lock the doors, can’t manage their meds, forgets everyday words, and can’t seem to remember their own phone number or address?
If your loved one is experiencing some or all of the symptoms above, it may be time to discuss moving your loved one to an assisted living or memory care facility.
What Is The Difference Between Assisted Living And Memory Care?
There are several different kinds of assisted living or senior living facilities that are available near you. There are general assisted living centers where your elderly loved one can live and be taken care of when their health is in decline and they may display signs and symptoms of a loss of cognitive function. They will have trained nurses and housekeepers that help them get ready for the day, help them with their hygiene, and make sure they eat, as well as clean their mini homes or apartment. These assisted living care facilities are wonderful, so you don’t have to have your elderly parents move in with you. A benchmark of quality to look for when searching for a general assisted living facility for people with dementia is that they should provide the following levels of care for their residents:
- Help with ADLs (activities of daily living)
- Medication management
- Three daily meals
- Housekeeping services
- Provide transportation
Then, there are memory care facilities. These are more specialized and consider the risk factors associated with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, or other kinds of memory problems. They are aware of and what to look for to indicate a . Unlike an assisted living center where the elderly person usually has their own room and are checked in on from time to time, Alzheimer’s and dementia care facilities typically have 24-hour around the clock supervised care, in their own standalone wing or floor of an assisted living facility. The layout of the floor of the dementia or memory care unit is very easy to navigate, which ensures a lessened likelihood of the patients wandering around and getting lost. A center will also have a team and program dedicated to helping improve associated with and . These memory care units may also be known by the names: Dementia Care Community, Specialized Care Units (SPU), and Alzheimer’s Care Community. Assisted living facilities that also offer care for a person with any stage of dementia should also offer the following services, in addition to the services listed above:
- Safety for wandering or confused residents
- 24-hour supervision
- Security and/or an alarm system on the premises
- Emergency call systems
- Specially trained staff
- Medication management
- Nursing staff
A structured environment that is also homey, to help residents feel comfortable and more secure
Cognitive therapies that include music, art, and reminiscence, to enhance brain cells function and communication
Gardens, so dementia and Alzheimer’s patients can still walk around outside and enjoy the fresh air and not feel trapped inside 24/7
Health and exercises programs run by the staff and qualified care providers
Social activities so they have a support system.
A great feature offered by many memory care facilities is the option of opting in for assistance with medication management and healthcare overall. But that’s not all – Opportunities to socialize are frequent and participation is optional but encouraged! This is because many of the activities offered are beneficial in therapeutic ways, especially for a person with dementia. These include engaging in activities that promote problem-solving skills, gardening, or the opportunity to relax on the garden grounds, music therapy, or pet therapy. Memory care facilities understand how to best organize activities for people with mild cognitive problems, so everyone can enjoy stimulating and relaxing activities, scheduled all week, every week.
Questions to ask a Memory Care Facility
While you’re evaluating the quality care level a facility provides, ask yourself the following questions:
- What kind of certifications, schooling and/or training do your caregivers have?
- What is the residents-to-staff ratio?
- Are there plenty of caregivers working every day during each shift?
- Are your caregivers experienced in handling challenging behaviors and mood swings?
- How does your staff help make new residents feel comfortable?
- Does this facility provide or offer end-of-life care?
- Is hospice something your facility allows to come visit?
How Much Does It Cost To Live In A Memory Care Facility?
There is a wide range of cost when it comes to assisted living and memory care facilities, depending on the services that are needed and being offered. You won’t know for sure until you meet with a facility supervisor at a dementia and Alzheimer’s facility how much it will cost. Knowing the national and state average for such a facility, though, can help you plan ahead. The national monthly cost for a memory care community is $5,000, while some state averages can range from $3,500 to $8,000 a month. It can get pricey to have your loved one live in a memory care facility, but when you weigh the cost versus the benefits of them being supervised and taken care of 24/7, especially if they have a form of dementia, moving your loved one to a memory care unit is the obvious safe and loving choice.
How Can I Find Memory Care Near Me?
There are many different options for memory care facilities near you, especially if your loved one displays symptoms of dementia. Some options include A Place For Mom, Caring.com, Senior Care Homes, Memory Care Facilities.net, and Senior Guidance.org, to name a few. For all of these care facilities, you can readily search by location for a memory care center and easily see who is available in the area. There is also a user-friendly chat-bot that will pop up on all of the sites, to answer common questions and get you in direct contact with an agent who can help you with pricing, availability, breakdown of services and amenities, and help you find the perfect senior living or memory care community that will be the right fit for you and your loved one.