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Jason Kennedy

Memory Care Assisted Living – How To Pick The Best Facility

When a loved one has Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, the illness can take a toll on the family. Memory impairment can result in an individual becoming danger to him/herself and other people. For example, the memory impaired individual may turn on a stove and forget it, causing a fire hazard. He or she may get into a car and attempt to drive, having forgotten directions and the rules of the road. Other persons with dementia may wander away from home and put themselves at risk for hypothermia, For these reasons persons with worsening dementia will be safer in a memory care assisted-living facility.

What is memory care assisted living?

Memory care assisted-living facilities specialize in caring for persons with dementia. Care and supervision is provided based upon individual needs and the severity of the memory loss. Memory care assisted-living facilities provide the comforts of home while offering safety and security measures that prevent the memory impaired person from getting into a dangerous situation. Twenty-four-hour supervision is provided meaning that qualified staff are available to monitor residents and attend to their needs.

Graphic outlining effects of Alzheimer's Disease

What type of care is available?

The level of care provided in a memory care assisted-living facility varies with the degree of memory impairment. Some individuals may require being in a secure unit while others may benefit from a less restrictive environment. Memory care assisted-living facilities are designed to provide a comfortable environment with safe places to walk indoors and outdoor spaces such as gardens and green spaces where residents can enjoy being outside, but with protective features that prevent them from wandering away from the facility. Many facilities also offer skilled nursing care so if the resident has other medical issues those can be addressed concurrently. Staff in memory care assisted-living facilities provide personal care such as assistance with bathing and feeding. They are also knowledgeable about dementia, and the behaviors associated with it. They can monitor residents and determine if what type of intervention to reduce the likelihood of agitation or escalation of aggressive behaviors.

How much does memory care assisted living cost?

The cost of memory care assisted living facilities varies. For an assisted living facility, the cost runs over $40,000 per year and nursing facilities with semi-private rooms charge at least $70,000 per year. Depending on the financial resources of the person requiring care, there may be financial assistance available through Medicaid in most states. The local government social services provider is usually the agency that assists with the application for Medicaid.

Memories being erased due to dementia or Alzheimers

Choosing a memory care assisted-living facility

When choosing a memory care assisted-living facility, it is best to visit the facility. It is also recommended that these visits take place at different times of the day. Families should ask questions about schedules, activities and how staff handles residents who may become difficult. It is also suggested that the family review inspection reports and other documents which provide information regarding the quality of care and any problems with care or safety-related issues that may have occurred. In addition to visiting, it is a good idea to talk with family members who have loved ones at the facility. In situations where the memory care facility may be located within a larger assisted-living facility or nursing home, it may be possible to seek the opinions of residents who do not have memory impairments.