With more seniors than ever dealing with dementia, Alzheimer's and related memory difficulties, memory care communities have become some of the most common assisted living options for older adults today. The right memory care facility can offer seniors with the around-the-clock care that they need in order to thrive during this time in their lives. Memory care is essential to ensuring that these seniors are staying safe and well-supervised while still getting the medical attention, activities and care they need to succeed.
Memory care is similar to many other types of nursing homes and assisted living communities, but involves a more specific form of care. The individuals working in these communities are specially trained to work with individuals with dementia and memory challenges. In fact, the entire facility is designed specifically for those with Alzheimer's and similar conditions. The result is a senior care community that adheres to the needs of these seniors and provides as much care, stimulation and activity needed to ensure these seniors are getting the attention that they need. Sometimes, seniors who continue to stay in general nursing homes and assisted living communities as their dementia progresses, are not able to get this type of specialized attention.
Depending on the individual memory care community, different communities may offer a number of different benefits. Common services include:
- Daily meal service
- Light housekeeping services
- Private or semi-private rooms
- Exercise classes
- Physical therapy programs
- Security services
- Laundry care
- Transportation services
- Social activities
- Personal assistance
- Medication management
- Memory-specific activities
- 24-hour care
The cost of this type of care is often more than other types of nursing homes or assisted living facilities. This is because memory care facilities often need to have more staff members and individuals with more specific training to round out their team. With a larger staff to resident ratio, it often means a higher cost for care. The cost of this can vary from community to community depending on the area of the country, type of care needed, size and amenities in the room and more. Many times, these communities can cost as much as $8,000 per month or even more, although some seniors are able to enjoy more affordable care options.
While there is no denying that memory care can be a great option for many seniors, it can sometimes be difficult for family members and loved ones to help their senior find the right memory care facility to meet their needs. Every facility is different, just as every senior is different and the right community can be key to ensuring that the senior involved is getting the care and attention that they need and deserve.
Questions to Ask When Touring a Memory Care Community
While finding the right memory care community can sometimes be a challenge, there is a checklist of key features to look for when choosing the right memory care community. Asking questions like this can go a long way in helping any senior find the home and the care that they need. This can help any family make the right choice for their senior loved one when finding the ideal community for them to call home.
Questions About Admissions
- Will the community require a complete assessment before admittance?
- What type of care is offered for seniors who are admitted?
- What is the policy on updating families about resident well-being?
- Is there a waiting list?
- What fees can I expect? What is the structure for these fees?
Questions About Safety
- How does this community handle medical emergencies?
- Is there a security guard on staff?
- What other security measures does this community take?
- Are you able to safely care for bedridden seniors?
- What is the policy for residents who wander out of their rooms? What precautions will keep them inside the building?
- Can you care for seniors who are physically aggressive?
- What is your visitor policy?
Questions About Housing and Amenities
- What type of rooms do you offer for residents? Are there private rooms?
- What does your meal plan insist of? What about meals for seniors with dietary restrictions?
- Are there opportunities for seniors to get physical exercise?
- Can the residents go outside?
- What amenities make this community stand out?
- Are there daily activities?
- Is the community easy to navigate?
- Are there planned outings? What are the safety precautions that govern these outings?
Questions About Staff and Care
- What type of training do most staff members have?
- What is the staff to patient ratio? What about at night?
- Does each senior resident have their own care plan?
- Is there a medical professional, such as a nurse, on the premises 24 hours a day?
- Does your community offer medical service? Do you have a regular visiting physician?
- Do you allow for outside care to come on the facility?
- Does the community group seniors by their cognitive abilities?
- Are there opportunities to try alternative therapies such as music therapy or light treatments?
- Does the facility only cater to Alzheimer's care or do they also focus on Parkinson's disease as well?
Questions such as this can go a long way in helping any family determine whether or not the community they are considering is the right one for their loved one or not. Ultimately, the best way to determine whether or not a community is the right one is if the family feels comfortable with their loved one living there full-time.
When visiting a potential memory care facility, it is important to not only ask plenty of questions of the facility, but to provide the community with as much information as possible about the senior. This includes whether the senior shows aggression, tends to wander in the middle of the night and if they need help with things such as bathing, using the restroom or eating. The more information that a community can have on a senior before they start care, the easier it will become to determine which community is best for the senior involved.