Memory care is a form of assisted living service for those with memory loss and other disabilities. It’s an option many people think about as they age, but not everyone knows what it entails or how much it costs. In this article, we will answer these questions and more! Knowing what to expect can make the process much easier to navigate when the time comes to need memory care.

What is Memory Care?

Memory care is a type of assisted living for people with memory loss or other disabilities, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. It stands apart from regular assisted living or nursing home care because people with memory issues need more assistance with daily tasks and navigating the building. People requiring memory care are provided with assistance to carry out daily tasks like eating, dressing, bathing, personal hygiene (e.g., toileting), oral hygiene (e.g., brushing teeth or flossing), etc.

hygiene assistance in memory care

However, the levels of assistance needed may vary greatly depending on the type of memory loss the individual has and the severity. For example, the Alzheimer’s Association states that 6 in 10 people with Alzheimer’s will wander away from their home at least once. This frightening statistic is why memory care facilities emphasize the care given to those with Alzheimer’s and proves the importance of such services.

An individual’s memory can get progressively worse as they age, especially in Alzheimer’s patients, and their level of care will change throughout the course of treatment; and getting into a memory care program during the early onset of symptoms can ensure proper and accurate care to keep them safe. 

When to Consider Memory Care

About 40% of adults over the age of 65 will face some sort of age-related memory loss. However, most of that will not prevent them from living out normal, healthy lives without requiring additional treatment or assistance. Normal memory loss, like forgetting people’s names or other facts, should not disrupt your life. But once memory loss starts affecting your ability to work, live independently, or interact socially with others, it may need some attention.

As we get older, the risk of Alzheimer’s disease increases significantly. Although genetics is not a significant factor when it comes to Alzheimer’s or dementia, having a sibling with it can increase your chances by up to 30%. If this is the case, or even if you have an older parent or relative with memory issues, it’s essential to know the early signs.

Early signs of memory loss or dementia include:

  • Mood swings/changes in mood without provocation
  • Getting lost while driving or walking in familiar areas
  • Difficulty following conversations or reading books/recipes/signs
  • Mixing up words or names
  • Misplacing items (watch for things in weird places or drawers)
  • Forgetting common words
  • Asking the same questions over and over
  • Disoriented, particularly with space and time
  • Trouble completing everyday tasks like remembering to brush teeth or go to the bathroom
  • Impaired judgment or trouble making decisions

memory loss symptoms

While Alzheimer’s, dementia, and aging can all be reasons for memory loss, there are other things or situations that can severely impact memory as well. Treatable, reversible causes of memory loss may also include; minor head injuries like concussions, certain medications, anxiety, depression, alcoholism, Vitamin B-12 deficiency, hypothyroidism, or even a brain tumor.

These may look a little different from the signs we’ve listed but should be ruled out before assuming Alzheimer’s or another brain disease. However, if any of the above signs are present, in a manner that goes beyond just forgetfulness, see a doctor, or take your loved one to a doctor, right away. They will ask a series of questions and properly evaluate the severity and potential cause of such memory loss.

The importance of a diagnosis means you can start treatment early and help offset the symptoms as soon as possible. The earlier issues like this are caught, the sooner therapy can begin, and the search for a potential memory care facility as well.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Memory Care Facility

There are likely many memory care facilities in your area, so it can be overwhelming to narrow your selections down. However, knowing how to search can help find the absolute best location and care for you or your loved one.

First, you can do a Google search for memory care facilities near me or assisted living near me *insert city* and get a slew of results. Narrow down by reviews and read through each facility’s best (and, more importantly, the worst) reviews. This can get the ball rolling and help you narrow down a list to schedule visits.

You can also start your search via the Community Resource Finder, which offers an online directory of Alzheimer’s Association and AARP research, events, facilities, and more. These resources have been vetted and sorted for easy search and selection.

A few things make memory care the best place for someone with Alzheimer’s, dementia, or other memory loss. First, they can fully dedicate their time, energy, and staff to memory-specific needs and treatment. They also often provide 24-hour supervision and specialized treatment to ensure safety and the highest quality of life.

memory care facility

Some things to consider before choosing a facility include:

Location (closer/more convenient is better) — If your loved one were in need or something were to happen, you would want to reach family members or have emergency contacts within a short distance to get to the facility promptly. Sometimes the location is one of the first things people throw out the window because a facility may be impressive and meet every criterion, except it’s 45 minutes away. This may be worth it for some, but it’s worth considering anyway.

Services provided (therapy, activities) — It’s one thing for a facility to offer exceptional memory care and top-of-the-line staff and doctors, and quite another to include great meal plans, activities, amenities, and community benefits. People with Alzheimer’s or dementia benefit significantly from healthy food, socializing, and other therapeutic activities outside of their daily treatment. This is essential for the management of their disease and improving their quality of life.

Staff to patient ratio — This is one of the most important things to consider. People with Alzheimer’s, dementia, or other memory loss require around-the-clock care. So make sure the facility you choose to visit has a sufficient ratio of staff to patients. An ideal ratio is 5 patients to 1 staff, but anything less than that is even better because 1-on-1 care can make a massive difference in care and how quickly a disease or condition declines.

Price — This is always important when choosing a service like this because people want their loved ones to get the care they deserve and adequate coverage. Many of these places are not fully covered by insurance, but most will accept CADI, Elderly, or BI waivers, ensuring some coverage of services. Everything else will be out of pocket.

So many people are affected by memory loss, whether it’s their own or someone they love. That being said, there are several types of memory care facilities out there, ranging from independent living centers to full-time, 24-hour assisted living.

As with anything else that you or your loved one will go through, it’s essential to stay informed and educated on the subject matter at hand. Reading up on memory care facilities is beneficial, so you know what questions to ask when speaking with different centers. Memory loss can be scary, but knowing that you’re doing everything in your power to support the health and happiness of a loved one is something worth fighting for.

How Much Does Memory Care Cost?

As we mentioned before, much of the cost of memory care and assisted living facilities is paid for out of pocket by the residents and their families. And it’s no surprise that the more extensive and high-end services available at the senior living community, the more expensive it will be (by quite a lot).

A survey done by the long-term care insurance company, Genworth, averaged the monthly cost of assisted living in the U.S. to be around $4,300. A private home in a nursing home facility tops $8,000, and the costs only go up from there.

Unfortunately, Medicare or Medicaid do not cover room and board in most of these places but will help offset the costs of services and care. Also, when a resident no longer has any assets to pay, Medicaid can kick in to help.

Also, CADI, Elderly, and BI waivers are options for many, and these waivers can be filled out through the respective state offices and submitted to facilities accepting these waivers. Waivers can ensure eligible individuals can get adequate and necessary coverage of services required for them to live their best, highest quality life within an assisted living setting. Most waivers will also cover services for those choosing to age in place as well.

Either way, the cost is likely a significant factor in choosing memory care, and it’s important to find a place that is not only willing to work with you and walk you through the complex steps of getting such services, but to reassure you that you are getting the absolute best possible care for you or your relative.

That’s where Sunflower Communities comes in. Our facilities boast amazing amenities paired with well-rounded care that makes it easy on everyone and ensures a high standard of living for all residents. We also accept relevant waivers and can work with you or your case managers to get everything arranged and submitted correctly to get your care covered.

If you are interested in touring our facilities, reach out to us today. We can’t wait to get you and your family into a facility that will cater to their specific needs and offer them a safe place to live and receive care for years to come.

Memory care is a form of assisted living service for those with memory loss and other disabilities. It’s an option many people think about as they age, but not everyone knows what it entails or how much it costs. In this article, we will answer these questions and more! Knowing what to expect can make the process much easier to navigate when the time comes to need memory care.