If you’re looking for memory care services for a loved one, you may feel like you have more questions than you have answers.
You’re not alone. Making sense of different senior living lifestyles can seem confusing at first, especially if you’re getting friendly advice from well-meaning people and none of it is actually helpful.
Here, we’ve identified the top five most frequently asked questions about memory care to give you a start on your path to getting the answers you need about senior living.
1. What is Memory Care?
Although its structure within a senior living model can differ amongst communities, what memory care offers can be easily explained. Memory care services are specially designed for people with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.
Communities with memory care services provide seniors with a structured environment, including set routines tailored to the individual resident’s needs and preferences, and safe environments to help residents feel secure. Memory care services include more security measures compared to standard assisted living communities, helping prevent residents from wandering too far away from home.
Seniors who need memory care get specially trained staff to help with all their needs, including personal care tasks.
2. What’s the Difference Between Assisted Living and Memory Care?
There are many overlaps between memory care and assisted living, so it’s understandable when people get confused when it comes to the relationship between them.
Although there are memory care communities that include only patients with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, many assisted living communities have memory care services for their residents. This usually means that an assisted living community has a specific part of campus that caters to those who need memory care services. Unlike most assisted living apartments, memory care apartments don’t include elements like a kitchen that may be commonly found in assisted living apartments.
Assisted living and memory care both provide residents with help with daily tasks like:
- Social activities
In addition to typical assisted living care, memory care residents get that extra level of supervision that helps them feel safe, and that reassures their loved ones. Memory care offers programming specifically designed to retain residents’ cognitive function. Communities also make sure that memory care residents are able to stay connected to loved ones while receiving the care they need.
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3. Does Memory Care change as My Loved One Ages?
As assisted living residents age, their services often increase to include memory care. That’s why it’s smart, when looking at assisted living and memory care communities, to make sure the community you choose is prepared to help your loved one age in place.
When touring memory care communities, ask about how they’ll handle your loved one’s needs as they progress, and how that will impact the monthly costs of memory care. Ask specific questions about the availability of:
- Physical safety measures
- Specially trained memory care staff
- Enriching, memory-specific programs
- Areas for family visits
4. Do Memory Care Programs Ensure My Loved One is Engaged and Social?
Memory care programs should fill your loved one’s life with meaningful experiences that meet their needs. This helps to improve the quality of your loved one’s life, and it makes family visits and interactions more meaningful.
Quality senior living includes trained memory care specialists who will talk to you and your loved one to assess their needs and strengths. This will help the community experts develop a structured experience that keeps your loved one’s interests and passions alive.
The best memory care programs will not just look at needs. They will also focus on your loved one’s existing abilities to maximize their strengths, rather than focusing on what they can no longer do. Top-tier memory care is all about making the most of what we have, and paving the way to an easier, brighter future.
If you’re touring a memory care community and the memory care services don’t seem to differ much from assisted living, keep touring different communities until you feel comfortable with the level of attention your loved one will receive. The right memory care program should know how to best communicate with your loved one, and it can provide meaningful therapeutic experiences including music, art, off-site outings, and more.
5. Does Memory Care Cost the Same as Assisted Living?
Memory care can add up to 30 percent on top of the cost of assisted living—which can range in price from about $3,000-$7,000 per month. This means memory care may have an approximate price range between $4,000-$9,000 per month. Much of the cost of memory care depends on your state’s or region’s cost of living, your loved one’s level of care needs, and state regulations.
Often, families see the monthly price tag and think they can care for their loved one at home for less. But that isn’t always the case. The cost of in-home care for your loved one can be as much or more than a memory care community. And there are hidden costs of caring for a loved one with memory care, including caregivers developing anxiety and depression disorders, paying for their own healthcare, and taking care of their own needs.
These socioeconomic costs have a huge impact on at-home caregivers, including:
- Caregivers can develop their own health conditions, including anxiety or depression, after caring for someone with dementia.
- Families often must go on extreme budgets, limit spending, or use their savings to help their loved one with dementia.
Although families may think they are saving costs by choosing at-home care, they’re often spending more for care that doesn’t provide their loved one with all of the resources and help a memory care community can offer.
Now that you know more about memory care, get a better idea of what to expect when your loved one is in a memory care community. Cedarhurst communities are filled with stories about unique, thriving seniors. We could give you thousands of examples, but let’s start with this real-life memory care story.
Get Real-Life Perspective About Memory Care: Read a Resident Story
Check out how Cedarhurst memory care services helped and reassured Shelby Jean and her daughter Shelly, so they are both now living their best lives. Read the memory care resident story now.