The signs of dementia can be easy to dismiss at first. Repeating things. Mishandling of bills and money. Mild memory loss. But when behaviors such as confusion and disorientation become more pointed and unsafe, or there is a decline in physical health or changes in behavior develop such as poor hygiene or incontinence, these may be indications that a loved one needs memory care.
But what is memory care? This article will give you an overview of how memory care is defined and what to expect in memory care for your loved one.
What Is Memory Care?
In simplest terms, memory care is a type of senior living where people with memory difficulties are cared for in a specialized, structured manner with a high level of attention and support.
Not every individual with struggling with memory loss immediately needs memory care. People in the early stages of various forms of dementia, including Alzheimer’s, may be quite capable of remaining independent for some period of time. They may still live at home with some assistance from family or they may move to assisted living to get extra help with personal care while enjoying helpful amenities like dining and housekeeping services, along with activities and a “built-in” social life.
Memory care, on the other hand, is geared for people with mid- to late-stage dementia. At this point, it becomes imperative to provide a safe, structured environment. In memory care, the staff is specially trained to support residents’ need for set routines and provide higher-level assistance to help residents safely navigate their day.
Staff members are also responsible for planning and executing structured daily activities that help keep residents’ minds and bodies engaged as much as possible. As in assisted living, the memory care team also assists with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as toileting, dressing, etc. Meals are provided and staff is there to help residents eat and stay tidy when needed.
Where Can a Loved One Receive Memory Care Services?
It may seem kinder to care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia yourself. But the needs of someone with memory loss are significant. In the later stages of dementia, it’s best to let trained health care providers take charge of what needs to be highly personalized care.
Memory care can be provided in a variety of settings. Many assisted living facilities and nursing homes have special memory care units These units typically have a separate team with the special training needed to work with residents in later stages of dementia.
Friendship Village of South Hills is an example of a senior living community that offers memory care as part of their philosophy of continuing care. If you move to Friendship Village as an independent living resident, you become part of what’s known as a Life Care community.
As part of Life Care, you’ll have the assurance that, if your health needs ever change, you’ll be able to receive the level of care you need without having to move to another care facility, and the cost for this care will be predictable and well below market rates. If you move directly into memory care when that level of care becomes necessary, you won’t qualify for Life Care. In this case, monthly costs will be consistent with market rates for any care you need.
As for what to expect in a memory care community like the one at Friendship Village, , your loved one will receive compassionate care in a neighborhood-like atmosphere that encourages stimulation and engagement. And every resident enjoys a private suite, which helps create a familiar home environment and respects personal dignity even as the need for personal assistance increases.
There are also free-standing or dedicated memory care facilities where similar comprehensive care is provided in a secure environment. And for people with dementia who also require care for medical conditions such as chronic or complex illnesses, a stand-alone skilled nursing facility or long-term skilled nursing offered in a senior living community such as Friendship Village of South Hills can be the best option. Here again, residents receive the same types of daily care provided in assisted living, but with the added attention to medical needs.
What Kind of Care Will My Loved One Receive as a Memory Care Resident?
Using memory care at Friendship Village of South Hills as a benchmark of what to expect in memory care, here are the features you want and need for your loved one in the later stages of dementia:
- Dedicated memory care nurse and certified nursing assistant 24 hours a day
- Personalized plan, developed with the resident, their loved ones and our caring team
- Specialized memory care programming
- Assistance with medication management
- Professional, friendly assistance with activities of daily living
- Laundry and housekeeping
- Memory care coordinator to assist residents and families through challenges
Don’t be shy about sharing your concerns and questions with the team members you speak to. You’re considering entrusting the care of your loved one to these caregivers and you need all the reassurance you can get that the care they promise is what will be delivered.
How Much Will Memory Care Cost?
As the level of care, supervision and assistance increases, typically, so do the costs and expenses. However, Friendship Village of South Hills does things differently. Residents who choose our community for independent living qualify for Life Care, which means the monthly costs will remain virtually the same even if health needs change, so there are no financial surprises.
In contrast, as noted earlier in this article, if you move a loved one directly into memory care when that level of care becomes necessary, monthly costs will be consistent with market rates for any care required.
Life Care residents enjoy other benefits as well. For example, a part of the entrance fee and ongoing monthly fees for your loved one may be tax-deductible, and a portion of the entrance fee will always be refundable to your loved one or their estate.
Want to Learn More About Our Memory Care?
Dementia is a complex disease that can have several stages. Effects vary by individual as does the rate of progression. In light of these facts, the time to explore options for your loved one is right now. If you’d like to learn more about quality, compassionate memory care at Friendship Village of South Hills, simply complete the form below and one of our team members will be in touch shortly.