A memory care facility is a place where those with conditions like dementia or Alzheimer’s can receive personalized support from memory care specialists. The word “facility,” though, probably doesn’t bring up images of a place you’d want to spend much time in. More likely, it makes you think of a cold, clinical building that’s more like a hospital than a place where your loved one with dementia—or anyone for that matter—can find joy, peace and purpose. During your research, you may have also come across similar terms like “memory care centers” or “memory care homes” that offer little engagement in a nursing home-like setting.
The biggest thing to remember is that the best memory care is never provided in a place that feels like a facility. Truly good memory care comes from a place that feels like home with a community of residents and trained specialists that make you feel like family. That’s why if you’re looking for a place where your loved one with dementia can be happy and receive memory care personalized to their needs, start using the term memory care community instead.
What is a memory care community?
Unlike memory care facilities, memory care communities offer a warm, vibrant environment where your loved one with Alzheimer’s can find meaning and connection. Think of them more like safe, secure and intimate “neighborhoods” where everyone knows your name and everything you love and need is always close by.
There are few things that give a person purpose as much as being a part of a loving community. Community provides friends to lean on during the tough times, to celebrate with during the good times and, perhaps most importantly, to help you overcome feelings of loneliness common amongst older adults. For those with a dementia diagnosis, holding onto those connections in a place where they can receive personalized care is key to staying independent for as long as possible. This is where memory care communities come in.
“It’s really the difference between “home” and “not home,” says A.J. Cipperly, National Director of Memory Care at AlerisLife. “Home means different things to different people, but at its core, home is a place that is familiar, filled with people I know and care about; it’s a place where I have control and independence and find comfort. A memory care “community” brings those elements of home into the building so that it isn’t “home-like”, but it IS home.”
What’s the difference between a memory care community and an assisted living community?
Though memory care communities and assisted living communities offer similar services, there are several key differences to keep in mind when deciding which is best for your loved one—or when it’s the best time to move from assisted living to memory care. The big one to keep in mind is specialization. While both levels of care provide personalized services, memory care is far more specialized in the level of staff training, the living environment and dementia-friendly programming that addresses the complex emotional and mental needs that can accompany memory disorders.
What is it like to live in a memory care community?
An Alzheimer’s diagnosis can be devastating for many reasons, one of the biggest being that it may no longer be possible to live in the home you love. There are ways to make your home safer for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, but they can be costly and may not be feasible in the long term. Memory care communities, on the other hand, offer a controlled, homelike environment designed with the needs of residents with dementia in mind. Enclosed courtyards, circular hallways, butler-style dining, memory stations and contrasting colors are just some of the ways memory care communities ensure residents feel safe, happy and at home in a comfortable, familiar setting.
Every aspect of a memory care community is also designed to spur engagement and interaction, from activities tailored to your loved one’s passions to the care provided by memory care specialists. Residents are encouraged and supported to have a role in the neighborhood. For some, this may be daily watering of the plants or filling the bird feeders. For others, it may be helping set the tables for a meal or selecting the music that will be played during dinner. Helping hand out refreshments, sweeping up after a program, folding laundry—these are all things that residents may find purpose in as they have a meaningful role in the neighborhood.
How much does a memory care community cost?
The average memory care monthly rent is $6,935/month according to 2021 NIC statistics with costs varying by location. That number may seem high at first glance, but a closer look at the cost of memory care shows that it encompasses large living expenses usually paid for separately like rent, utilities, meals, home maintenance and transportation. It’s also far less expensive than the $10,562 average monthly cost of a nursing home and the $17,472 average monthly cost of a 24/7 home health aide.
Memory Care at Five Star Senior Living — Familiar. Safe. Comfortable.
In Five Star’s small and intimate memory care neighborhoods, your loved one can find peace of mind and a renewed sense of purpose in a specialized environment that feels just like home sweet home. Our award-winning Bridge to Rediscovery Alzheimer’s and dementia care program also provides personalized memory care based on your loved one’s specific abilities, preferences and passions. Find a memory care community near you to learn more about how a Five Star can help your loved one with dementia rediscover a meaningful life full of joy and laughter.