Memory Care: A Guide to Costs and Selecting the Ideal Facility
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This article discusses the value of memory care for family caregivers of those with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia, as well as the cost and process of finding a good memory care facility.
- Memory care can offer relief for family caregivers who are becoming overwhelmed.
- Memory care tends to be more expensive than assisted living, but not as expensive as nursing home care.
- When looking for a memory care facility, it is important to visit several times, ask questions, and look for signs of a pleasant environment and attentive staff.
What’s the Value of Memory Care for a Family Caregiver?
Memory care communities offer specialized support for people living with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Specially trained staff is available 24 hours per day to assist the residents with needs like companionship, personal care, and behavioral support.
Memory care can offer relief for family caregivers who are:
- Becoming exhausted, impatient, stressed, or irritable.
- Neglecting your own needs, or those of the rest of your family.
- Unable to keep up with work responsibilities.
- Unable to take care of your loved one safely.
- Unable to physically keep up with your loved one’s needs.
- Struggling to meet your loved one’s needs for structure or social stimulation.
Memory care is the primary option for family caregivers who can’t continue caring for a loved one with dementia due to wandering or behavioral concerns.
How Much Does Memory Care Cost?
Memory care tends to be more expensive than assisted living, but not as expensive as nursing home care. In 2021, memory care averaged $6,935 per month across the nation.
How Do I Find a Good Memory Care Facility?
The quality of care, environment, and programming vary widely from one memory care community to the next. It’s worth the time and trouble to find a facility that’s a good fit for your loved one’s needs.
Start the process before you anticipate needing to move, if possible. Waiting for the last minute, or for a crisis to hit, means you’re more likely to be stuck wherever there happens to be an opening. The move is likely to be more difficult for your loved one if you don’t have time to plan it properly.
- Identify all the options in your area.
- See your Olera dashboard for memory care facilities in your area.
- Refer to the AARP & Alzheimer’s Association’s Community Resource Finder.
- Consider a senior facility placement service. Look for a local one who specializes in memory care, if possible.
- Consult with a local geriatric care manager who specializes in dementia.
- Visit each of your potential options and narrow it down to your top few choices.
- Pay several visits to your top picks at different times of day, including the evening and weekend.
- Drop in once or twice without calling ahead.
- Eat a meal during a visit.
- When visiting ask yourself:
- Does it feel clean, pleasant, and comfortable? Free of unpleasant odors?
- Do residents seem alert, relaxed, engaged, and happy?
- Can the residents easily access an outdoor area?
- Are there pleasant walking paths indoors and out?
- Does the staff seem plentiful, present, friendly, and happy? Do they speak to and about the residents respectfully?
- Ask several staff members:
- What kind of training do staff members receive?
- How long do staff members stay with the facility on average?
- What do they do when a resident is aggressive or hard to manage?
- What kinds of activities do they feature? Do they tailor activities to the individual residents? How do they know what a resident is interested in?
- How do they know how well a resident is eating, and what do they do if they aren’t eating well?
- How would they recommend setting up a move-in to be easiest on your loved one? How do they support new residents when they move in?
- What kind of medical care are they able or unable to provide?
Does the facility accept Medicaid? What happens if your loved one eventually runs out of funds?
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