What is Memory Care?
Memory Care is a special kind of care provided to those with varying degrees of dementia or Alzheimer’s. It involves creating a structured environment that has set schedules and routines in place to create a stress-free lifestyle, safety features to ensure the health of a senior, and programs designed to cultivate cognitive skills.
When a senior is dealing with Alzheimer’s and dementia, they often require attentive and expert care, along with an environment that’s safe and secure. The layout and function of a memory care facility will usually be different than that of a regular nursing home or assisted living facility.
Memory care communities offer residents help with bathing, grooming, and other daily tasks, as well as secured areas that allow safe movement without the risk of wandering off, and activity areas that are purposefully calming and uncluttered.
Generally, if a person is no longer able to care for him or herself and cannot be safely cared for by an untrained family member or loved one because of Alzheimer or other forms of dementia, memory care may be a good option.
There is also a separate certification for facilities that provide care to patients with Alzheimer's and related diseases in the state of Texas.
Memory care facilities may provide private rooms, rooms with roommates, or private apartments. Memory care staff usually specialize in caring for people with impaired mental and memory function due to Alzheimer's and other types of dementia, and the services they offer may range from light housekeeping and help with both household chores and intimate hygiene activities to skilled nursing care.
The floor plan is generally set up to discourage wandering behavior, which Alzheimer's patients are especially susceptible to at night. It is supervised and monitored on a 24 / 7 basis, often by both security teams and medical staff. Hallways, rooms and buildings may be locked or otherwise secured so that residents cannot endanger themselves by leaving the building at night.
Memory care facilities often employ more staff in general than assisted living or other more general facilities, because so many different types of services are needed on a 24 / 7 basis.
These facilities also require a larger ratio of skilled medical staff who can help administer medicines because it can be difficult for Alzheimer's patients and other sufferers of dementia to remember which medications to take and whether or when to take them as well as serve the diverse medical needs of those suffering from cognitive disease. This is just one factor contributing to the cost of memory care.
Memory Care Costs in Texas
Because these facilities provide such a broad range of services, they can be quite expensive compared to general assisted living facilities although your costs can vary depending on where you live and the services offered.
While the average monthly cost of memory
care, as of Oct. 2019, in Texas is $4,906, the state has some of
the highest cost variation of any state in the nation. Memory
care in the most expensive areas can be almost 100% higher than
the least expensive areas. In Texas, of all states, it can
worthwhile to shop around if cost is a concern. It should be
mentioned that memory care provides more security and care than
traditional assisted living, therefore memory care costs
approximately $1,100 per month more.
Austin, Beaumont, College Station and Midland are the most expensive regions where memory care can cost and even exceed $6,000 each month. El Paso, Lubbock, McAllen and Texarkana are inexpensive relatively with monthly costs between $2,800 – $4,000.
The urban centers, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio all have average memory care costs near the statewide average. That said, there is also considerable price variation within those cities as the population density allows for a greater variety of memory care communities.
Traditionally, Medicare does not cover the costs of memory care or long-term care facilities. However, Medicare will cover qualified healthcare costs while your loved one is living at a certain facility. Medicare is more often used to pay for a skilled nursing facility or home health care.
Services and Benefits
Often, cognitive therapy is
available as well. Memory care communities will frequently have visiting
psychiatrists or psychologists who specialize in dementia treatment
and alleviation, and who can advise regarding appropriate
medications as no Alzheimer's or dementia patient is the same, and
getting the combination of medications right can be a challenging
trial and error process.
Most memory care communities also include sensory and social stimulation programs such as games, art or music classes, and other activities. Memory care facilities often try to provide opportunities for residents to interact with groups for socialization purposes. These activities keep the patient's minds active and occupied, reducing aggressive symptoms and agitation.
If your loved one is suffering from Alzheimer's or another form of dementia; and if they can no longer be cared for safely at home, a memory care unit may be a good option.
Memory care communities are equipped to provide the supervised, round-the-clock care that many patients suffering from impaired cognition need as well as the safety, security, and socialization programs that can make their lives richer and fuller, despite their illness.
In closing, it's very important that you understand the differences between assisted living and memory care so you can ask the right questions when inquiring. You'll feel better knowing you're making the best decision possible for your loved one. This knowledge also shows the facility you've done you're homework, that as a consumer and family member, you know and understand the differences.
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