People living with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia have a special set of needs and considerations. Often, the daily care needs of these individuals exceed the abilities or knowledge of their caregivers and/or standard retirement communities. A memory care unit is a specialized form of assisted living for patients experiencing memory loss.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with dementia, knowing more about your options, including memory care, can help you plan for the future. Here, we’ll go over some of the basics of memory care, what to expect, and how to know when to make the transition to memory care.
How Is Memory Care Different?
Memory care communities are designed to keep residents safe and maintain their quality of life as long as possible, while also providing their family members peace of mind.
Memory care living is similar to assisted living in many ways. Residents usually live in a community setting that provides meals, healthcare, activities, and more. In addition to these basic amenities, however, memory care units also incorporate additional safety measures, specialized care and programming from staff who are trained to work with dementia patients, and environments that are specifically designed to support people living with memory impairment. For example, a memory care facility might include the following:
- security systems and secured exits to ensure that residents aren’t able to wander and get lost
- specialized activities and therapy that help residents maintain cognitive abilities as long as possible
- lower staff to resident ratios
- physical features and layouts that prevent residents from getting confused or frustrated (like circular hallways)
Because dementia is a progressive disease, memory care facilities are designed to support residents as their needs intensify, and sometimes as they transition to hospice care.
How Much Does Memory Care Cost?
As with other residential communities and assisted living facilities, the price of memory care will vary based on location, services offered, the organization in question, and more. In general, however, memory care tends to be more expensive than other forms of long-term care. According to the AARP, the average monthly rent for memory care facilities in the United States is $6,935; estimates from AssistedLiving.org place the cost of memory care at around 20%-30% higher than assisted living in the same area.
The Benefits of Memory Care
Making the decision to move a loved one to a memory care facility is almost always difficult and painful. However, it’s often the best option, both for patients and their families.
Caring for individuals with memory loss is often all-consuming. Dementia patients are sometimes prone to wandering, and their impaired judgment can put them at risk for injury. They require constant supervision and a safe environment, and they benefit from daily routines. For most family members (particularly those with jobs, children, or other obligations) caring for a dementia patient is stressful at best, impossible at worst. In a memory care facility, residents have access to the 24/7 care that they need.
What’s more, dementia patients sometimes suffer from behavioral disturbances, including agitation, aggression, delusions, sleep issues, and emotional distress. Receiving support from trained staff who are knowledgeable about dealing with dementia outbursts can make sure that your loved one is as comfortable as possible.
Choosing a Memory Care Facility
Selecting a memory care facility that will provide your loved one with the best possible care and quality of life can be daunting. Particularly if you’re new to the world of memory care, knowing what to look for and what to ask is often overwhelming.
In evaluating potential memory care units, it’s important to prioritize your loved one’s individual circumstances, needs, and preferences. If you’re able, request an in-person tour of the facilities you’re considering and pay attention to the things that stand out to you. Does the facility seem clean and welcoming? Are the staff respectful and attentive to residents? Do the residents seem happy?
At Seabury, for example, our Meadows Memory Support Center focuses on balancing independence, compassionate care, and safety. Residents benefit from social interaction and a range of enriching activities. Furthermore, our staff is committed to supporting family members and keeping them up to date and informed about their loved ones.
Seabury provides peaceful living opportunities for adults ages 50 and older looking for fulfilling, independent lifestyles. Our philosophy centers the physical, emotional, and spiritual wellness of our Residents. Living options range from independent apartments and villas to cottages as well. Our continuum of care model is designed to make Residents’ lives as comfortable as possible. Your Life Plan Contract at Seabury also includes, should you require it in the future, a transition to assisted living, memory support, and nursing care services for the same monthly fee. Contact us today for more information!