Knowing that a loved one may no longer be able to live independently due to diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia is increasingly one of the most difficult situations many families have to face. Sadly, as Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia progress, independent living becomes more and more challenging, and ultimately unsafe.
Still, the decision to move a family member into an assisted living setting is not easy, and questions about services provided and cost can often feel overwhelming. Because Alzheimer’s and dementia require specialized care that many assisted living settings may not provide, a memory care community may be a better option for you and your loved one.
The Difference between Assisted Living and Memory Care Communities
While both assisted living and memory care communities provide care for your loved ones, including housing, support services, medication management, transportation, and support for other everyday tasks, a memory care community is much more specialized in providing care that is specific to those suffering from memory related illnesses.
Memory care is a long-term care community that is specifically designed to reduce risks associated with those suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia, including an easy to navigate environment and purposely designed physical layout that lessens the risk of injury from wandering or anxiety. These communities are created to foster person-centered care and often include structured activities that may stimulate memory and are secure, safe, and comforting. Additionally, health care providers in memory care communities are specially trained to provide the highest level of support and quality of life for those suffering from memory loss or other cognitive, memory related diseases.
Costs and Services Provided in Memory Care Communities
It’s important to understand that memory care communities are not identical to assisted living facilities. Unlike assisted living, memory care communities offer specialized care, helping you to rest easy knowing that your loved one is in an environment designed to provide the best care for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients.
Because of the additional care your loved one will receive in a memory care community, including personalized care, often with a lower staff to patient ratio and increased supervision, the costs associated are higher than those in an assisted living community. These costs will vary depending upon the location, whether the living space is shared or private, and what degree of assistance your loved one needs.
Most rates for memory care communities are all inclusive for the basic care that your loved one will require. Because additional costs are associated with specialized services that your loved one may need in an assisted living facility, it’s important to understand the cost breakdown and consider the range of services offered in a memory care community versus that of assisted living.
While the base monthly rate for assisted living is lower, depending on the needs of your loved one and the progression of the disease, a memory care community may ultimately be the better option to provide the best, most comprehensive care.
Financial Assistance for Memory Care Communities
To cover the costs of a memory care community, it is important to take advantage of any applicable benefits, including veteran’s benefits, federal programs that offer financial assistance, tax deductions, Medicaid, and insurance policies. Some states also provide additional financial assistance, so it is important to fully research all aid options available to you. There are many sources that will help you determine the cost breakdown, and help you to make the best financial decision for you and your family.