Memory Care Facilities
Dementia is a degenerative disease which means that symptoms usually get worse over time. How far each senior memory patient will degenerate depends on many different factors, so there is no single best solution for those who suffer with dementia. Some patients will do best in a memory care facility, some will prefer dementia home care, and others may do well in adult day care. Every patient’s experience is unique, which means that every family’s situation will also be unique. Determining the level of dementia care and then discovering the providers for that level of care will be on top of the list of things that you will need to do. Chances are that you are here because you did a search for dementia care near me. This guide will help you to learn what your options are so that you will have a good plan forward.
What is Dementia?
Seniors who suffer from dementia experience a progressive brain disorder that makes it more difficult for them to remember things, communicate clearly and take care of themselves. Dementia also often causes mood swings or unexpected behavioral changes and many times is accompanied by a very obvious personality change.
Recognizing dementia may not always be easy at first, usually it is the senior that begins to realize an issue is present but most will not communicate the concern openly. It is important that when there are family gatherings a senior’s mental state is observed and signs of memory issues are discussed.
The most well-known dementia disease is Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s can be broken down into seven very distinct stages, each stage getting progressively worse over time.
- Stage 1. There are no symptoms in stage one and it can only be determined from a diagnosis based on the senior’s family history.
- Stage 2. Symptoms begin to appear, usually in the form of forgetfulness. Still very hard to detect and typically only the affected senior may notice.
- Stage 3. Mild symptoms begin to appear and those very close to the affected senior may begin to notice a lack of concentration or an ability to remember simple tasks.
- Stage 4. This is the stage when most seniors are diagnosed. Memory problems become more obvious and performing daily tasks begin to become challenging.
- Stage 5. A senior patient will become weaker, less capable of self-management and require assistance with locating items and remembering names.
- Stage 6. Physical tasks become very difficult and at this stage a patient will need help with personal care like eating and dressing.
- Stage 7. In this final, most severe, stage of Alzheimer’s most patients will lose the ability to speak or control their facial movements and expressions.
A person living with dementia may or may not need constant help and attention, depending on which stage they are in. Being equipped with the right knowledge can help ease some of the challenges a senior’s caregiver may be facing. Learn more about determining when memory care is needed in our When Does a Parent Need Memory Care Guide.
Care Options for People Living with Dementia
If you are a family member or someone who provides care for a person with dementia, you may be experiencing the challenge of juggling different roles—as an adult child, a partner, a parent, and an employee. Being pulled in quite a few directions can not only cause quite a lot of stress, it can also be hard on a dementia patient, since sameness and stability are an important part of helping them to cope with their everyday lives.
It is important that you begin to explore all of the services and resources available to you as early as possible so that you can make a plan that deals with issues before those issues become problems. Below we have written a comprehensive guide for those services and resources to better help you to make informed decisions regarding the care of your senior loved one that is dealing with memory or cognitive issues. Here are the memory care options that we will discuss:
- Family Caregiver Planning
- Dementia Adult Day Care
- In-Home Memory Care
- Memory Care Communities
- Respite Care
To learn more about what services are covered under standard memory care providers please see our What is Memory Care guide.
Family Caregiver Planning
Not all care needs to come from outside sources, close family members can be a viable health care option. If you have family members living in nearby areas, consider scheduling and dividing the caregiving responsibilities so that duties can be spread across the whole family and not on just one individual.
Sometimes, family members are willing to help and simply need to be given instructions on how, what, and when things should be done. At the same time, there may also be some members who are less willing to help or have scheduling conflicts that prevent them from assisting. This option generally works the best when several loved ones pitch in to develop a schedule to help each other provide good care for the senior parent.
Figuring out what each family member can contribute regularly can be quite helpful. You may also divide the responsibilities by assigning someone to—for example—do the grocery shopping, accompanying your senior to physician appointments, paying the bills, providing personal care, feeding the patient, etc. Once you have agreed on the tasks, post it somewhere everyone can see and check to avoid miscommunication.
Dementia Adult Day Care
If your loved one is not yet ready for a residential facility, and your everyday situation at home is not conducive for 24/7 in-home care, a senior home day care could be for you.
Local communities often have adult day care centers, particularly in more populated areas. These are facilities that are similar to childcare centers, wherein you can bring your loved ones to a place where they are taken care of and provided with activities to keep them busy. The difference is that these facilities are geared towards providing care to elderly adults living with dementia and the caregivers are professional and trained in handling patients with such disease.
Adult day care services are a great way to keep your aging parent with you at home while getting the care and stimulation they need during the day when you are away. Most of the Senior day Care Centers have regular classes and schedule activities that help dementia patients engage with those around them. It is not uncommon to find adult day care services near you that provide art therapy, music therapy, and physical activities like exercising, stretching and ball toss and catch. In a typical eight hour day the center will provide a meal and at least one snack plus the opportunity to take a quiet break or nap.
Benefits of Senior Day Care Memory Centers
Adult day care is a great option because of its many benefits to the main caregiver and the person living with dementia.
Gives caregivers a break
For full-time caregivers, sending your patient with dementia to a day care facility will give you a much-needed break. While your senior is at the day care, you will have time to work, rest, finish other tasks, or run errands.
Allows you to balance caregiving and work
A day care center can be very helpful, especially if you work during the day. The service hours vary from center to center, but some are open for 8 to 10 hours a day. Some even provide weekend and evening hours, with transportation and meals provided.
Provides an opportunity for dementia patients to socialize
Seniors with dementia usually require close supervision to do even the most mundane household tasks and activities. However, this difficulty does not prevent patients with dementia from wanting to do things on their own and feel useful. Home day care centers provide an array of tasks and activities that seniors can do. Activities like movie watching, arts and crafts, table games, exercise programs, volunteer projects, cooking and social events all contribute to the enjoyment and minimize the participants' frustration.
Services offered at Senior Day Care Centers
Services offered often vary, but the most common ones are listed below. Remember that while some adult day care centers will offer all of these services, those services vary from one center to the next.
Dementia Support Services.
Some centers have support groups and senior living services for people with dementia and their families. For example, they may be able to help arrange supportive care for your adult when they are at home.
Most centers provide food for their participants. Be sure to ask for a sample menu if there are certain dietary restrictions that must be followed.
On-Site Health Services.
If your adult with Alzheimer's needs medical services, such as medication reminders or insulin shots, you can ask for help from the center staff. Some even provide blood pressure checks and physical examinations.
Some Personal Care.
Although it is not common, some centers may also assist with toileting, grooming, eating and other personal and hygiene care tasks.
Mentally Stimulating Activities.
Physical and mental activities, like music, recreation, table games and arts, are offered to keep people with dementia busy and occupied.
Help with Behavior Management.
It is not uncommon for a senior day care to handle difficult behaviors associated with dementia. These behaviors may include incontinence, wandering, hallucinations or even sexually inappropriate behavior.
Choosing a Senior Day Care Center
Choosing the day care center for your senior parent can be somewhat time-consuming. Consider these tips to help you narrow down your choices:
Searching for an Adult Day Care Online.
Try performing a search engine search for "dementia day care near me", you should be presented with many close by options to choose from. Now that you have the names, it's time to learn more about them. Speak to your local Alzheimer's association, ask families you know have family members living with dementia, and call your local senior center to ask about dementia care facilities near you.
Consider YOUR needs.
Besides making sure that your senior's needs are met, consider the things you need, too. Is the center located where you can conveniently drop off and pick up your senior? Do they provide evening hours, which can be helpful on days you might get home later than usual? How about weekend operations? Keeping these points in mind is crucial to making the situation beneficial for you and your adult with dementia.
Re-evaluate your senior’s needs
At some point, your aging parent may need more care than what the center can provide. You and the staff in your day care center can evaluate your senior's possible needs in the future. By knowing these needs ahead of time, you will be able to make a more mindful decision.
Try out a center a few times
When you think you found the right one, use its services a couple of times a week for a month before committing for long-term. Make it a regular habit—say once to twice a week—during this period to use their services, instead of doing it occasionally, to give you a clearer picture of how the center will benefit you and the person with dementia.
How Much Does a Senior Day Care Center Cost?
Generally speaking, Senior Day Care Centers are very affordable if you compare it to other options. Many day care centers charge their clients differently, like charging the caregiver according to how much they can only afford. In some states, the government covers the cost as part of veterans' benefits and those with very low income. Discuss this matter with your care center beforehand, and make sure to ask about fees, financial assistance, and additional costs for services like field trips and crafts.
Will Your Senior Benefit from a Dementia Home Day Care Center?
Finding an adult day care for your loved one is not an easy process. Each person with dementia is different, and each respite care option and services vary greatly. So, how will you know if a day care center is ideal for your senior?
First, consider your senior's personality. Does your senior live an active life? Do they seem bored most of the time? Social isolation and depression are common in people with dementia. It can be difficult for them to socialize and communicate with others. Reintroducing such activities to fulfill basic human needs is beneficial in transforming your senior's mood.
Conversely, some people with dementia enjoy being alone quietly and in solitude. Being with other adults in a day care center is not everyone's cup of tea. For example, a lively senior may feel great attending a day center a few days a week, whereas an introverted individual can benefit from the same facility but only two to three hours, not more than twice a week.
But regardless of the situation, the best thing about these dementia care facilities and programs is that they do not use a one-size-fits-all solution. Activities and services are all tailored to your loved one's needs, abilities and interests. An older adult with mobility problems can do arts and crafts while others who can safely move around can perform light exercises. What matters most is finding the best adult daycare facility that will benefit both you and your senior loved one.
Dementia Home Care – All You Need To Know
In-home memory care provides professional treatment and assistance within the senior's home. But there are different levels of care, each one provides specific service and each one comes at a different price point. The healthcare staff comes to your home to provide the care that the dementia patient requires at a level that meets their needs. These professionals' assistance can give you peace of mind, knowing that they are trained to handle difficult behaviors, incontinence and other memory-related challenges.
There are four different in-home memory care levels: Companion Services, Personal Care Services, Homemaker Services and Skilled Nursing Care.
We have written a comprehensive guide that covers what each level covers and what each level costs. For more information regarding all of the In-Home Care options please see our In-Home Care page.
Memory Care Facilities
While many people wish to keep their aging parents at home, for some that may simply not be an option. While not all forms of dementia get progressively worse, most seniors with dementia require quite a bit of hands on attention. For those adult caregivers that work full time, staying home to care for an elderly parent with a memory issue may be too time and cost prohibitive. Even for those who have the time to devote to the care of an aging parent with dementia, the care needed can be both physically and emotionally challenging. In more advanced stages of dementia, care may need to be administered by those in the health care field, especially since dementia patients are prone to wander and get hurt more easily.
Trained and Experienced Memory Care Providers
If caring for a loved one at home with a memory issue is not possible there are memory care communities that provide residential care and that are trained specifically to provide care to those who suffer from dementia. Although each state differs regarding the required approaches each memory care facility needs to incorporate most will require that a community provides a plan of care, behavior management, social services, activities of engagement, and physical requirements for the communities themselves. So, when the patient needs specialized care or round-the-clock supervision due to an advanced stage of dementia, a memory care facility is going to have the experience and training required to best handle the situation.
Selecting a Senior Memory Care Facility
The facility you choose for your patient depends on the type of care needed, the facilities present within your community, and the financial resources that are available. Proximity to family members and loved ones is very important for keeping the senior with a steady stream of familiar faces, so selecting a conveniently located memory care community will help the senior to flourish. Remember though, selecting a memory care facility is more about the services the facility specializes in to ensure they have adequate facilities and experience with the type of dementia and the stage of the disease that your loved one suffers from.
Standard Memory Care Features
Another term often used for Memory Care Facilities is “Specialized Care Assisted Living Facility” (SCALF). Amenities and services all will vary from one memory care facility to the next, however there are certain basic features and safety precautions in place regardless of where you decide to go. Some of the common features of dementia care facilities are listed below:
- Medical Director on site
- Registered Nurse on site
- Health Supervision
- A Written Abuse and Neglect Policy
- Protected entries and locked common doors to prevent patient wandering
- Activity Programs
- Mail Services
- Activities of Daily Living
- Help with Bathing
- Some Personal Grooming
- Medication Administration
- Cognitive Assessments
- Rooms with windows
- Clothes storage
- Furnished rooms
- Bathroom facilities
- Common living areas
- Leisure Activities Room
How to Find Memory, Dementia or Alzheimer’s Care Facilities?
The place to start looking for dementia care communities would be with Senioridy’s senior provider’s search platform. Simply visit the Memory Care Facilities List page or search by your location using an extra-large, zoom and click map on our Memory Care Facilities Near Me page.
Before you begin your search determine what location would best fit everyone’s needs, particularly those who will visit often and offer the most support. Then, try to visit each place so that you can compare one communities offerings against the next.
Try to speak with residents or, better, with resident’s frequent visitors to gauge how well the facility is run and how well care is administered.
Finally, take the time to speak with the staff on duty. You can learn a lot about the dynamics of a memory care community by speaking to those who work there. Find out if they seem attentive, happy, and display a willingness to help. Although your loved one with dementia will reside within the community, loved ones will likely be the ones that are dealing with issues and complaints as the senior’s memory capabilities decline.
Respite Care – Taking Care of You
If you are the patient's primary caregiver, chances are you will need to take time off at some point. Respite care will serve as replacement care to give primary caregivers a break. The service provider will fill in the gaps while you are on break.
Respite care is available in memory care facilities or as an addition to an in-home health care service. Respite care greatly helps if you are going out of town, fulfilling other responsibilities, or just taking a break from caregiving.
Seniors with dementia specific diseases like Alzheimer’s can be battling the illness for a very long time. Make sure to take time out on a regular schedule to take a break and take care of yourself.