One of the signs of getting older is the inability to remember certain things anymore, which is a common part of the aging stages. It happens to most older adults, once they hit their 60’s and 70’s, or sometimes even younger. Caring for an older parent can be challenging at times, especially when conditions such as Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease starts to become more noticeable in their every day lives. In fact, Azheimer’s dementia is projected to reach over 12.7 million older individuals by the year 2050, according to ALZ.org. It starts with small forgetfulness and then gradually increases over time. For some, having a live-in caregiver will suffice for a time. However, there are memory care services that can help seniors and their caregivers get through this long process commonly found within the elderly.
What are Memory Care Services?
Memory Care services offer help to seniors who are struggling with cognitive impairments or delays due to old age. As mentioned above, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are the top contenders of this problem, yet there are other similar conditions. In most cases, memory care services are administrated by specialized nurses or caregivers trained in taking care of patients with these conditions. Caregivers work very hard. In fact, almost half of caregivers (48%) who offer help to older adults, are doing so to someone with Alzheimer’s dementia or some other similar condition. What’s sad about this debilitating disease is the fact that 1 in 3 seniors will die with either Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia. In fact, the disease has killed more people than breast cancer or prostate cancer combined. The point of memory care services is to keep the senior or individual comfortable, safe, and without pain. The causes of memory loss can make a patient feel tired or fatigued at times. Sometimes stress can also be a factor to memory loss.
There are many types of facilities that assist seniors with memory care issues. Seniors who may live in these homes may only have the beginnings of memory loss, while others may need full round-the-clock assistance. Some memory care facilities that deal directly with dementia or Alzheimer’s patients will offer several types of classes to help seniors cope with being there. These may include art and music therapy, exercise classes, such as Yoga or Tia chi, or fine motor skill interactions, like playing bingo, dominos, or checkers. Group interactions or sessions are also encouraged. Sometimes just sitting down with a therapist can help talk out a senior’s fear of losing their memory.
Average Memory Care Cost
There is a variety of factors to consider when trying to find how much memory care can really cost. Every person will be affected by memory loss in different ways and at different paces. One senior may go through the process within a few months, while some may start losing their memory at a very slow rate; sometimes as long as a decade. Looking at the severity of a senior’s condition must be taken into account, as well as their overall health and wellbeing before they started to lose their memory. This changes the average total cost of memory care for each person. However, most memory care facilities do charge a fee around $5000 to $7000 per month. For seniors who need continuous care, the price may be even higher. Another factor of cost is the geographical location of the facility. Those living near a coast will often pay more than those in a small rural town. However, there could be some discounts available, if you know how to look. For instance, some memory care facilities may offer a discount to those coming into the care home as a couple. Or, if the senior has their own caregiver to provide ADLs themselves, instead of the nursing staff at the home. Yet paying an additional “caregiver” is often a separate charge.
Memory care costs can also vary from state to state. Here is a chart of the median monthly cost for each state. As you will see, the cost can be as low as $3,990 to as high as $11,000 or more. To learn more about the cost of memory care cost, turn to the Genworth Cost of Care Survey. Seniors can also calculate the cost by using the calculator on the site to determine their average state’s cost.
|State||Median monthly cost (2022)|
|District of Columbia||$11,490|
|Nevada||Insufficient Data Available|
|Oklahoma||Insufficient Data Available|
|Texas||Insufficient Data Available|
|Wyoming||Insufficient Data Available|
What’s included in the price of Memory Care services
Memory care facilities will always include housing, meals, and 24-hour care to all their residents with dementia or other related illnesses. The site should be a safe and secure environment as well. Depending on the location, the staff may also include memory-enhancing therapies and increased opportunities for the residents to socialize during specialized times. Typically, memory care facilities will also include a low patient to caregiver ratio; plus, assistance in bathing, dressing, and activities of daily living (ADLs).
The facility should also provide medication management, emergency monitoring, and transportation to and from doctor visits. However, some sites do allow doctors to come into the facility for visitation appointments. With your cost, three meals a day is also included. Some may also include group activities on a daily, weekly or monthly schedule.
Common Ways Seniors Can Pay for Memory Care Costs
Any type of healthcare facility often comes with a hefty cost for seniors. Some facilities will take insurance if the senior has the right coverage plan. For example, seniors who may be veterans can apply for VA benefits or an aid program specifically designed for veterans. Most dementia care patients who are also Vets that need assistance with ADLs can easily be approved through the VA. Medicaid does provide some assistance to eligible seniors and older adults. The federal government funds the cost of some programs that Medicaid participates in; however, coverage can vary from state to state. On the other hand, Medicare benefits do not always pay for memory care assistance. Especially for long-term care.
Another way to have memory care cost paid for is through work-related retirement funds, such as a pensions. In some cases, memory care costs may have to be paid through privately-funded accounts. Meaning, some memory care facilities will not accept healthcare insurance to cover the monthly cost. Seniors and their families will then have to pay for the care on their own.
Memory Care Cost Tips
Here is always ways to find ways to pay for medical or health care needs. You just need to look at what’s around you that could be useful in doing so. As we mentioned earlier, VA benefits are available to those eligible to receive them. Although, there are sometimes a criteria to be met first. A surviving spouse of a deceased veteran may also be eligible to receive help like memory care services. Check with your local or state level of Department of Veteran’s benefits to be sure, or call (800) 827-1000.
Another way to pay for memory care costs is through selling or renting out space that they are not using anymore, such as a storage unit. Many people will pay for the extra storage for a nice price. Just make sure the storage manager is aware of this sale or renting agreement. Seniors can also sell or rent their homes. If the market is good, then you can get a nice sale on a home which is not occupied anymore.
Seniors or caregivers of those needing memory care could also benefit from sitting down with an elder-law lawyer or attorney. Having a good financial advisor and planner will be very helpful, especially as the senior continues to go through the aging process. Doing this early on will save the senior not only time but also money. Talking to an elder-law attorney can also help the senior with liquidations of any property within the house, such as jewelry, collectibles, artwork, or antiques. Seniors should be completely be prepared for the future, not only for their sake, but for their kids and possibly grandchildren. These “assets” are great ways to offset the costs of memory care services.
Differences Between Types of Care: Assisted Living, Nursing home, and Memory Care Facilities
Knowing the difference from a memory care facility, a nursing home, or an assisted living community is sometimes tricky. They each provide some form of health care and activities to seniors, whether they are only in their 60s, 70s, or well into their 80’s and beyond. So, let’s dig in to what seniors should expect from each one and what they can offer as our older generation.
Assisted Living communities: They are called communities because most people that live in these homes are still quite independent and can care for themselves in some ways. For instance, they may need some assistance with certain ADLs, such as help with bathing, cooking, or keeping up with the household cleaning. Also, seniors living in assisted living places may still be able to leave the home to shop, drive, or travel to visit family. The management of assisted living communities may offer a variety of entertainment, games, and parties that seniors can get involved in. Most assisted living communities provide one large building with individual apartment-like settings; however, some do offer separate small homes that are on the same lot or property. There are some seniors living in these communities that may experience MCIs (which are mild cognitive impairments) in its early stages. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, fewer than 1 in 5 Americans are familiar with MCIs.
Nursing homes: A nursing home offers specific health care or medical needs to the patient living in these homes. Many will have physical impairments, such as multiple sclerosis and parkinson’s disease, or more severe chronic illnesses. Some nursing homes still offer seniors a certain level of freedom, like those of assisted living; however, most people do not necessarily leave that often. The staff at nursing homes are often more in demand and needed to help the senior beyond just everyday tasks. Seniors in nursing homes will probably need 24-hour medical attention.
Memory Care facilities: Most seniors will move from an assisted living facility or a nursing home to a memory care facility as more memory-related challenges start to appear. As stated above, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are the most common conditions for seniors that enter these facilities. Many seniors living in memory care facilities experience several new changes and challenges as they advance through the stages of aging. This is often the last place a senior will live.
Here are some common changes that both seniors and their caregivers will need to be aware of when it is time to consider memory care facilities:
- Showing increased signs of confusion within their daily life
- Neglect their personal care and hygiene
- May pose a safety risk to themselves by wandering
- Requiring care more often that just simple assisted living duties
- Showing signs of some or all of the following: agitation, aggression, or violence