Memory Care FAQs

Memory Care by definition is a system that provides seniors with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias long-term care in assisting with activities of daily living and aid in emotional and physical symptoms of memory problems. A memory care community will provide round-the-clock staff to assist with these tasks, provide daily meals, conduct programming and much more. Typically, memory care communities are apartment-style living, with common areas such as dining rooms, entertainment areas, and secure entrances.

Assisted Living is a similar type of senior care, which provides a lighter level of care services. If you’d like to learn more about Assisted Living, click here.

Many Memory Care communities have come to be in recent years, especially stand-alone communities, as the prevalence of memory problems and Alzheimer’s disease has risen.

Many people do a great deal of research on memory care options for themselves or someone they care for before visiting a community. Read along, as we answer the following common questions, or click on a section that you’d like to learn more about:

 

Who is memory care for?

Memory Care is for older adults who have symptoms of dementia or have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. Additionally, these seniors will need help with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), or one’s daily self-care activities. These activities can range from assistance with bathing and dressing, to housework and medication reminders. Seniors living in a memory care community can require a small amount of assistance to a larger amount of time and assistance needed.

Assistance time is usually counted in minutes of care needed, and range from being included in the monthly rent, or require an additional fee.

Memory Care is also for individuals seeking more socialization, as memory care communities are full of a senior’s peers and offer many opportunities for conversations and friendships.

A family seeking their loved one’s day filled with more activity; to include exercise, mentally-stimulating games, outings to local attractions and more. Memory care communities usually have an activity department who work with the residents to build calendars to their liking.

A family may seek memory care for someone they care for if the individual is no longer eating a well-balanced diet. Memory care communities can offer all meals and snacks throughout the day. Chefs in the community work with residents and their healthcare team to provide meals catered to their specific diet (low sodium, low sugar, dairy-free, gluten-free and more.)

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What does a memory care community cost?

Memory care community costs vary depending on the community type. Many are a monthly fee, with a one-time community fee. Costs will vary depending on the size of the apartment. Another added cost can be if there is a second person living in the apartment.

Care costs will also be a fee. The more time an individual needs help with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), the larger the care cost will be. Some communities charge for amenities such as programming, meals, parking, and more. So always check to see what is included.

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What is a memory care community like?

Many memory care communities are designed with Alzheimer’s Disease symptoms in mind. This can mean a circular design, so there are no dead-end hallways, and an enclosed, secure courtyard for outdoor enjoyment and safety.

Often, the community will be divided into ‘neighborhoods’ or micro-communities, to allow residents a smaller number of other residents to know and interact with. This also allows employees and care team members better interaction with the resident. Ratios of care team employees to residents is much higher than assisted living communities, so residents are allowed the personalized care required for their needs.

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When does someone need memory care?

Someone is in need of memory care services when living on their own is no longer safe. A loved one forgetting to turn the stove off, or leaving the house in the middle of the night are situations that often send families to search for a memory care community.

Someone with the disease or symptoms can also require round-the-clock care, often provided by a relative or an in-home nurse. This can put a strain on relationships, working careers, and finances. At a memory care community, care is the primary responsibility of the employees. Families are then able to visit their loved one and rest assured their needs are being met, and go back to being a daughter or a son or a spouse.

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How to pay for memory care?

Paying for memory care can vary by the community’s acceptable payments. Payment can be through personal funds like the sale of a home, through Medicaid, or other various insurance policies such as Long Term Care. Discounts and vouchers can be accessed by working with a Case Manager or the local Veterans affairs department.

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  • What is the difference between a memory care community and a nursing home?

    A misconception about a memory care community is that it’s the same as a nursing home. Many memory care communities pride themselves in being a social-model rather than a medical-model. An assisted living community can provide much more independence, socialization, and stimulating activities and therapies than a nursing home, where a nursing home can provide more healthcare.

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What’s the difference to living at home vs a Memory Care community?

Living at a memory care community can provide more social opportunities, where living at home, many individuals feel isolated.

Living at a memory care community can provide better nutrition to a senior, where living at home the senior may not have access to healthy ingredients or the ability to make a well-rounded meal. Often, relatives are needed to make or provide meals for the senior, in addition to providing for their own family.

Living at a memory care community can provide transportation for seniors to local health appointments, shopping, dining, and more. Living at home, many seniors are reliant on town transportation or a relative, otherwise the senior may drive their own car, which may not be safe.

Living at a memory care community can provide all the maintenance and housework duties for the senior. Maintenance teams work year-round on tasks like lawn maintenance and snow removal. Housekeeping teams can visit a senior’s apartment daily or weekly to vacuum, dust, clean the bathroom, and more. Living at home, a senior would need to upkeep their living space, or pay for a housekeeper to visit, which in the case of dementia symptoms, upkeep can be forgotten or dangerous.

Living at home allows the senior to remain in their familiar environment, while assisted living requires the senior to get to know a new setting and often, downsize to an apartment.

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What if a couple wants to live together in memory care?

Couples can live together in a memory care community. Most communities offer a few apartment sizes, providing more space for two people. Some couples may experience one individual needing memory care, and assisted living communities can accommodate this as well. The couple can choose whether living together or in separate apartments is more suitable for their situation.

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