Dementia/Alzheimer’s Specific Assisted Living
Sometimes referred to as a Memory Care Community; a memory care environment is designed for persons with a level of impairment making it unsafe for them to stay at home or live in an assisted living, but who do not require the intensive care of a skilled nursing facility. Memory Care provides a safe, secure, environment where a senior with dementia receives the specific care that they need.
When a Choice Connections Advisor takes a Needs Assessment, she will help determine whether a senior needs this level of assisted living. Most seniors in need of memory care have a high level of cognitive decline. Many within these communities might be considered a wander risk if they did not have a secure environment. Most need a large amount of “cueing” or direction during the day. They may not remember to go to meals, for example, so staff would be on hand to direct them to all their meals as well as activities. The meals and activities within a Memory Care Community are planned with dementia in mind, so as to be appropriate for the residents to enjoy.
People with dementia have special care needs and so the staff within a Memory Care Community are trained specifically on how to care for someone with dementia. The staffing levels are higher in Memory Care than in basic assisted living as people with dementia do need more one on one attention. The NYS Health Department provides a Special Needs Assisted Living Certificate to communities who meet these requirements. Each community must demonstrate that their staffing levels and trainings meet NYS DOH requirements. The building also must be secure, where a resident cannot walk out a door without staff being aware. There are usually alarms on all doors, which then alerts staff who would respond. Most Memory Care Communities have an attractively fenced in courtyard where residents can go in and out freely in good weather to enjoy the outdoors.
Care Plans for each resident within a Memory Care Community may include assistance bathing, dressing, and grooming; incontinence care and medication management. They provide three meals a day and snacks and beverages throughout the day as well as linen and laundry services. They also will provide transportation to doctors, though there may be an added fee for this. This is because a staff member must accompany the resident to the appointment, if a family member is not present.
Pricing for Memory Care is usually higher than assisted living prices due to the higher level of staffing and care. Most communities are “all-inclusive” pricing, which means they do not separate the care costs from the basic services costs. Whether the resident needs all of the care offered or very little, the price is the same. In other words, if care needs increase the price does not increase. Some Assisted Living Communities will also have a Memory Care community on the same campus or within the same building. This is type of community is ideal for a senior with early stage dementia who is able to live in assisted living now but may need memory care later. This provides for a easy transition to a higher level of care.
Choosing the “best-fit” senior community can feel overwhelming. A Choice Connections Advisor can help alleviate some of the stress and worry of choosing the right community. We will work hand in hand with you through the decision making process until your loved one is safe and well cared for in their new home.