Memory Care vs. Alzheimer’s
If you have a loved one who’s living with memory impairment, finding the right type of care can be challenging. When it’s a reality that someone you love can wander out of the house and forget how to get home, your everyday life is fraught with anxiety. Many assisted living communities offer memory care programs designed to help seniors with these conditions live quality, safe lives. Alzheimer’s is one such condition, but care focused on this disease may differ from generalized memory care facilities.
A memory care facility might offer expanded services compared to standard assisted living, while an Alzheimer’s facility may be closer to the level of care you can expect at a nursing home. This guide delves into the different types of care and their pricing. It also explains who should consider using these care options.
Help with ADLs, memory therapies
Help with ADLs, memory therapies, greater help with daily activities
$5,625 average in the U.S.
$7,908 average in the U.S.
Who Should Consider It
Those with cognitive impairments
Those with degenerative memory disorders
Memory care communities are ideal for seniors who struggle with cognitive issues. Care is typically provided by trained, licensed professionals and offered at an assisted living community in a special, secured environment with private or semiprivate accommodations. To prevent wandering and keep seniors safe, these facilities use entry control technology and may even track seniors with monitors as they move freely about the property.
Residents are given some autonomy but are provided with personal care assistance as needed, such as medication management, getting dressed and bathing. Meals are monitored and often served in a common area, and services, such as cleaning or preparing meals, are usually performed by the staff. Seniors are encouraged to participate in fun activities such as bingo nights, hobby clubs and social meet-ups.
Memory care typically costs 20% to 30% more than assisted living, so the estimates provided include an added 25% to the average cost of assisted living listed, according to Genworth’s Cost of Care Survey. The added cost is due to extra specialized services and programs designed to slow the onset of many cognitive issues. Depending on the location, seniors pay an average of $5,625 per month for memory care, though costs may also be affected by the amenities available within the community.
In the early stages of Alzheimer’s, many seniors can use memory care residential communities for help with daily living. However, as the disease progresses, seniors often need more care than is provided at these locations. As a result, advanced Alzheimer’s care is often provided in a setting that more closely resembles a nursing home.
In a nursing home, seniors get help with mobility, health stabilization, meal preparation and any other activities of daily living. All health care is typically offered in-house, with doctors and nurses on staff to handle problems as they occur. Nursing homes dedicated to Alzheimer’s patients control access to the facility and to areas where seniors might be most at risk. For example, seniors might only be allowed in the kitchen with a staff member close at hand.
Memory therapy is usually included and built-in as part of many daily activities. For example, in an Alzheimer’s residential community, there may be more pictures to guide seniors and fewer written signs. Large, colorful graphics often draw attention and allow interpretation in a way that the written word may not. Because these facilities are staffed by licensed health providers, the costs are often similar to those found in nursing homes with an average base price of $7,908 per month. These options are ideal for seniors who may struggle with speech, have complicating secondary illnesses, lack mobility and lose emotional control, or those who are in the end stages of Alzheimer’s.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Medicare pay for memory care?
Medicare covers therapies related to memory care provided on an outpatient basis. Many adult day health care providers have memory care as an option for those who need it. However, Medicare doesn’t cover residential care for otherwise healthy seniors who have memory loss.
Does Medicare pay for Alzheimer’s residential care?
Seniors who are in the later stages of Alzheimer’s may qualify for up to 100 days of residential care at an Alzheimer’s facility. Care beyond 100 days may also be partially covered, although there will be a co-pay daily when using Medicare.
How long does it take to move into memory care?
Some memory care facilities may have long wait times. It’s best to start planning early when it comes to long-term residential care, particularly if looking for options that may be covered by your insurance.