The term ‘memory care facility’ is a fairly new one, but its services have been around for a while. These specialized units or facilities are designated for the care of elderly patients suffering from dementia or Alzheimers Disease. If you have a relative or loved one who has either of these conditions, you know that the level of care needed is different from that of an ordinary nursing home. How do you know if a facility is right for your loved one? Here are some things to consider before choosing either a long term memory care community for someone with either of these conditions.
Due to the higher level of care required by patients with Alzheimers or dementia, expect to pay more for the services at a facility or unit designated for memory care. Memory care can cost $5000 or more, depending on your location.
While some facilities may charge less than others, price shouldn’t be the only factor in determining whether you should choose one facility over another. Be sure to ask about using Medicare, Medicaid or Veteran’s Benefits to help cover the cost of the stay, and ask for a breakdown of what exactly is covered under the monthly fee. If facilities don’t accept these types of insurance, Long Term Care insurance is another option that can be used to cover the cost of the stay.
Not every elder care facility is equal when it comes to the services that they provide, and any facility that claims to be a memory care one must provide certain services that assisted living facilities do not. In addition to typical care center services such as social activities, providing medical care and feeding assistance, places devoted to memory care should offer activities that are designed to nurture and encourage Alzheimers or dementia patients. These types of activities involve soothing, comforting surroundings and familiar activities to help keep patients engaged and calm.
Ask about the level of personal assistance your relative will receive. Some patients with Alzheimers require less assistance than others, but this can change very quickly as the disease progresses, so it’s a good idea to be certain that extra assistance will be there when it’s needed.
Ask if the staff is fully trained to care for Alzheimers or dementia patients, and find out what the ratio of staff to patients is. If your loved one has special needs, such as diabetes or other health conditions, ask about who will be providing care for their physical health. In some cases, their primary doctor may still oversee their care, but there are times when a new doctor may be used, and you’ll want to know just who is taking care of them.
Security is especially important in memory care facilities. Due to the nature of Alzheimers and dementia, wandering is a real danger for some patients. Are there secure outdoor areas for the patients to enjoy safely? Are there adequate safety measures in place to ensure that every patient is watched closely? Sadly, behavioral changes in Alzheimers and dementia patients can lead to confusion and aggression, so the facility needs to be able to keep patients safe from themselves as well as each other.
Additional Things To Consider
For some families, visiting loved ones in memory care facilities is extremely important. Find out if children are allowed to visit, and whether beloved family pets may be allowed as well. If real, live pets are out of the question, consider a replacement stuffed cuddly toy one, since studies have shown these ‘pets’ can help calm agitated patients in a similar way that pet therapy does.
Above all else, trust your instincts when choosing a facility. Try to click for more info and find out as much as you can before you need to use one, and don’t be afraid to move your loved one if you don’t feel that they are receiving the level of care they deserve. Memory care facilities should be a comfortable place for your loved one to spend the final chapter of their life, and they deserve to have a good experience there.