If you’ve ever known someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia, you know that there is no cure or simple way to overcome it. Since the memory loss can alter personality and/or abilities to perform basic everyday tasks, a special kind of supportive care is often required. Loved ones must learn to adapt their interactions and expectations, which can be emotionally and physically draining.
Thankfully, there are specific types of communities that cater to people with memory loss, and they can be a life saver for the individual and their loved ones. Memory Care communities provide supportive care in a secure environment. Caregivers are present 24/7, and they are specifically trained not only in caregiving, but in working with people who experience memory loss.
So what else is there to know about Memory Care? Here are five biggies:
- Memory Care is more than just assisted living or an apartment; it’s comprised of a whole program and way of life. This type of setting incorporates a 24/7 layer of support staff who offer reminders and assistance with activities of daily living, as well as programs geared specifically to residents with memory loss to enhance their physical, social, emotional, spiritual, and intellectual aspects of well-being. In addition, the usual services such as daily meals, housekeeping, laundry, and medication management are provided.
- A “secured” or “locked” unit doesn’t feel as secluded as it may sound. While the level of security is necessary to keep residents safe, it is implemented in a subtle way. If you stepped inside a Memory care community, you’d find comfortable living spaces and homey touches, all within secure walls. Locked doors don’t hinder the fun, either – regular activity programming encourages residents to stay social and intellectually stimulated right in their own community.
- A loved one at Memory Care often equates to happier families. The peace of mind that comes with having a loved one in just the right environment is remarkable. Memory Care eliminates worry and anxiety for loved ones who may otherwise be trying to juggle providing individualized care between a regular job and family responsibilities. The professionals at a Memory Care community are not only there for the resident, but they’re also there to act as advocates and support residents’ loved ones. They’re experts, and they’re happy to share ideas, resources, or just be a support system.
- It’s not cheap. See reasons 1 – 3. All the specialized staff, features, and programming result in a tad costlier rent than traditional assisted living, but most people find it well worth it. According to Genworth.com, in 2012, the U.S. national average cost of memory care for a single resident was almost $5,000 a month. That number can, of course, vary greatly from community to community.
- A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or dementia doesn’t automatically mean Memory Care is the answer. Different communities can offer different services, so it’s crucial to look at the whole person and be clear about all needs. Perhaps the person’s memory loss is mild enough where traditional Assisted Living would serve them better than a secure Memory Care community, for example. Or maybe they require a mechanical lift for transfers in and out of bed, but a particular Memory Care community doesn’t have access to a lift. The last thing anyone wants is for a person to move into a setting where their needs are not met.
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