Frequently Asked Questions About Memory Care

Answering the Most Commonly Asked Questions About Memory Care

When you are considering a memory care community for a loved one, it’s important to understand what memory care is and what it isn’t. Because these communities are so different from other types of senior living, families often have many questions about them. 

That’s why we’ve assembled answers to the most commonly asked questions people have about memory care. We hope this information helps your search go more smoothly.

An adult diagnosed with dementia can usually benefit from moving to a memory care community at any stage of the disease. But there are some red flags that indicate the need for change might be more urgent: 

  • Wandering from home and becoming lost 
  • Agitation and anxiety that are difficult to manage 
  • Caregiver stress that interferes with daily life 
  • Unintended weight loss for the senior or the caregiver 
  • Inability to keep the older adult engaged in meaningful activity 

The cost of a memory care community varies widely, depending on factors such as the area of the country it is located in, the setting (assisted living vs. skilled nursing facility) and the services and amenities provided. 

In 2023, the median monthly cost of a memory care community in Indiana was $5,820 but ranged up to over $8,000. The national average was slightly higher. Communities in larger cities, like Chicago and Washington, DC, are more expensive, as are those in some areas of the country, such as the Northeast or the West Coast. 

For memory care in a skilled nursing facility, the monthly fee for private pay typically starts around $7,200. This compares to the national average of almost $8,000 per month. Just as with assisted living, areas of the country with a higher cost of living will be more expensive. 

Unfortunately, they do not. Because memory care isn’t considered medical in nature, Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans won’t help pay for the cost of a memory care community. But there are other programs your loved one might qualify for. Visit our Tips for Financing Memory Care page to learn more. 

This is a question that families often have, but don’t always ask. Because people who have a memory impairment need more and more care and assistance as their disease progresses, the costs associated with operating a top-quality memory care community are higher on a variety of fronts. To understand these costs, a few examples might be helpful. 

Caregivers undergo specialized training on a routine basis. Dining services are adapted to accommodate the special needs of people with dementia, such as easy-to-eat foods and dining in smaller groups to maintain a quiet environment. Life enrichment programs are uniquely designed to work around memory loss and improve the quality of life for an adult with dementia. 

Concerns about safety are often what prompt loved ones to begin their search for a memory care community. As a family member’s disease progresses, more challenges tend to arise. Two of the most common are wandering and agitation. 

To decrease the risk of wandering attempts, doors into and out of memory care units are kept locked. Most use subtle electronic security systems that keep residents safe without making them feel trapped. Visual cues are frequently utilized to help redirect residents’ attention from exit doors. 

Agitation occurs for many reasons, including the need for a person with dementia to feel productive. Residents are more likely to stay calm when they can engage in structured, meaningful activities such as music and art therapy. 

As Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia progress, families often find it difficult to prevent their loved one from losing an unhealthy amount of weight. Sometimes it’s because the older adult has problems manipulating utensils, which keeps them from eating well. Other times, the weight loss might be due to trouble sitting still and focusing on their meal long enough to eat it. 

Memory care communities have specialized dining programs that work around these challenges and encourage healthy nutrition. Menus often consist of finger foods that don’t require the use of utensils. The environment is another carefully designed feature. Background noise and clutter in the memory care dining room are minimized to help prevent residents from becoming distracted during mealtimes. 

People with a memory impairment typically benefit from structured days filled with meaningful activity. ASC follows a research-based, person-centered approach to care that helps maintain a secure environment where residents have a sense of belonging and purpose each and every day. That includes: 

  • Our Meaningful Day activity program built on four domains of wellness: intellectual, physical, social/emotional and spiritual 
  • An emphasis on holistic, innovative care philosophies 
  • A dementia-supportive living environment that encourages residents to reminisce 

Making an Informed Decision

We understand you probably have more questions or concerns about moving a loved one with a memory impairment. It’s important to us that you find the answers you need. We invite you to call one of our Indiana memory care communities for assistance. An experienced team member will be happy to help! 

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