Finding out that your loved one has developed Alzheimer’s disease or dementia can be a saddening experience. He or she may start to exhibit patterns of memory loss that can worsen over time. Because living alone may not be safe, your loved one may need assistance. A memory care facility may be the answer.
Research reveals that there are approximately 5.5 million people with Alzheimer’s disease in the United States, with 5.3 million affecting seniors ages 65 and older.
Standard elderly care facilities, such as nursing homes or assisted living communities, may not be the best options for someone suffering with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Caring for seniors with cognitive challenges takes inclusion and accommodation. A large nursing home or assisted living facility may not be capable of offering that.
Additionally, nursing homes and assisted living communities usually offer social, recreational, and wellness-related activities that seniors with cognitive challenges may not be able to engage in.
In this case, it may be best to consider a memory care program.
What does memory care offer?
Memory care offers all-inclusive monitoring and support for seniors suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Memory care communities may operate independently or be located within larger facilities, such as nursing homes, assisted living communities, and residential care communities.
A memory care community should include:
- A large number of staff members
- Stations that allow seniors to engage in activities from their younger years
- Inclusive dining environments
- Activities that engage the senses
- Safe indoor and outdoor areas where seniors can wander
- Consistent lighting that is evenly distributed throughout rooms
- Rooms and hallways that are color-coded and easy to navigate
Most importantly, the staff members should be experienced and knowledgeable when it comes to identifying and accommodating various stages of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Staff members should also be fully engaged with residents, rather than keeping them seated in front of a television.
Quality memory care can:
- Reduce the likelihood of residents being injured, experiencing medication side effects, or experiencing prolonged anxiety.
- Promote independence, social interaction, mental and emotional well-being, and maintained cognitive functioning.
Cost and financing memory care
Memory care generally is more costly in comparison with nursing homes, assisted living communities, and other senior living and care options.
For a single resident, the average cost of memory care is $5,000 per month. Costs may vary, depending on how much care is needed, the resident’s room size, whether the room is private or semi-private, and the location of the community.
Funding options for memory care may include:
Medicaid: Memory care may be partially funded by Medicaid, through your state’s HCBS Waiver. However, Medicaid doesn’t cover the cost of room and board. In addition, enrollment may be limited and may require a significant wait time. To find out if you’re eligible for Medicaid, you may take a pre-screen survey.
Veterans’ Aid: The Veterans’ Aid and Attendance Pension pay help fund memory care for residents who are war veterans, while providing assistance to surviving spouses. The Veterans-Directed Home and Community Based Services may help pay for assistance from outside caregivers, buy may not directly cover the cost of memory care.
Other options: Residents may be eligible for memory care loans while awaiting other sources of funding. Additionally, your state may offer financial assistance for memory care, but enrollment is often limited.
Find a memory care facility near you:
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