You know it’s time to look for a new home for your senior parent that can provide the care, assistance and lifestyle they need at this stage in their life. Your senior parent’s memory problems have reached a point that’s beyond your capacity to care for them, and you need to reach out for help. When you’re starting from square one in your search for senior living, the plethora of information, clinical terms and senior living industry jargon can be overwhelming. Perhaps you’ve heard of memory care, you’re wondering if it’s the right option for your senior parent, and you’d like to learn what to expect from memory care. So let’s get down to the basics. What is memory care? What does a memory care facility do? What do memory care facilities provide?
What is Memory Care?
Memory care is specialized care for seniors with varying degrees of memory loss and disorders like Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Memory problems require a higher level of care, more attention from the caretaker and skilled supervision. There are varying degrees of extremity in memory problems. Alzheimer’s may begin as a memory problem, progress to a mild form of dementia, and eventually be diagnosed as Alzheimer’s. No matter the degree of your parent’s disorder, memory care residences are equipped with specialists who are able to care for all versions of memory disorder.
What Does a Memory Care Facility Do?
Memory care facilities are communities where people with memory problems like dementia and Alzheimer’s may go to live. They have both private and shared living options. They can exist as a stand-alone community, or as a section of a health center at a senior living community offering multiple levels of care. You may also hear of them referred to as “Special Care Units” (SCUs) or “Alzheimer’s Care Units.”
What Do Memory Care Facilities Provide?
Memory care facilities provide a safe, secure community for seniors to live with highly qualified health professionals trained to understand, handle and care for people with memory problems. The staff are specifically trained on how to handle Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, a specialty that requires a much different approach than regular nursing care. Much as in an independent living community, memory care communities provide a meal plan, organized social engagements and wellness activities, and aim to cultivate a pleasant and fulfilling lifestyle for those who reside there. Since memory care residents often lack appetite, memory care communities use various methods to stimulate appetite, including contrasting plate and food colors. They also provide medication management to ensure the resident is taking the correct prescribed dose of each medication. Residents often wear tracking bracelets in case they somehow wander outside the community walls.
Unique Advantages of Memory Care Facilities
Memory care buildings themselves may be designed to better suit those with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. For example, some memory care facilities are designed in a circular layout rather than a boxy one, because memory care patients can become agitated when they’re met with barriers. Places like the kitchen and laundry room are only common spaces used by people who work there; residents have a room with their bed and their belongings, but otherwise have supervision for life’s ADLs (Activities of Daily Living). Memory care communities often have a secure outdoor area, such as a courtyard, where residents may enjoy freely roaming outside without the risk of wandering outside the community. The facilities are often designed in a way that doesn’t put too much stress on a resident’s brain, so they can enjoy themselves as much as possible. For example, there’s lots of natural light, common areas to watch TV and movies with other residents, and relaxing activities like painting or playing with pets are organized for them. Extra safety precautions are taken in memory care areas , such as locking up potentially hazardous substances. And since memory care residents do better with routines, regular schedules are usually followed to keep with the resident’s routine.
The Cost of Memory Care
Since memory care areas provide more specialized care than an assisted living or independent living community, the cost to live there tends to be higher. Memory care is considered long-term care, so those who are paying for it may be able to use long-term insurance if they have it, or write it off on their taxes if the cost exceeds 10% of their Adjusted Gross Income. Consult with your financial or tax advisor about the cost of memory care and how you can curb it with insurance and exemptions.
Lexington Square in Lombard offers a licensed and secure memory care area providing highly qualified and professionally trained memory care specialists, dedicated to understanding and working with the unique needs of each individual resident with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.. Lexington Square aims to provide the kind of care and environment that allow seniors with memory problems to get the most out of their best moments and to live the most enriching and fulfilling lives possible. Learn more about Lexington Square in Lombard’s outstanding memory care to see if it’s the right fit for your senior parent.