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What Is Memory Care?

Memory care is specialized assisted living for Alzheimer's and dementia

Memory care is long-term care for people with Alzheimer’s and dementia

If you’re looking for assisted living for an older adult with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, or other cognitive impairment, a memory care community is a good option. 

They’re places where seniors with dementia can get specialized care.

We explain how memory care is different from assisted living, how much it costs, and share two checklists you can use to evaluate a memory care community.

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How is memory care different from assisted living?

Memory care communities have environments that are secured against wandering and specially designed to be calming and easy to navigate. 

There’s 24 hour supervision and a higher staff to patient ratio for a greater level of care.

And in memory care communities, staff are specifically trained to work with older adults with cognitive impairments.

Memory care residents get help with important daily tasks, like taking medication, bathing, dressing, and eating

There are also structured activities, exercise, and therapy programs.

How much does memory care cost?

Because of the specialized care and larger staff, memory care usually costs more than other senior living options and, on average, about 20-30% more than assisted living

Since the average cost of assisted living in the U.S. is $4,500 per month, memory care would average $5,625 per month.

This is an estimated national average – costs can differ by thousands of dollars per month in different states.

That’s because memory care costs usually reflect an area’s cost of living. When trying to keep costs low, consider communities in less expensive neighborhoods.

What to look for in a memory care community

Finding a good memory care community for your older adult can feel overwhelming. 

At first glance, every community might seem the same and blur together. That’s why it’s helpful to have a way to compare them.

This handy evaluation checklist from CANHR helps you evaluate Alzheimer’s and dementia care communities based on the quality of care provided and practical aspects – for example, how easy is it for you and family to visit that location?

Their additional dementia care checklist has questions that focus specifically on issues that are important in dementia care.

The questions give you a framework for differentiating one community from another so you can find the best fit for your older adult’s needs, budget, and personal preferences.

Next Step Use these two checklists to compare memory care communities: 1) Quality of care and practicality and 2) Dementia care considerations

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By DailyCaring Editorial Team

This article wasn’t sponsored and doesn’t contain affiliate links. For more information, see How We Make Money.

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