Alzheimer assisted care or memory assisted care.

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What is the difference and is there a difference in cost? What can one expect to pay? I live in CA

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There are two levels of care where I live which is Florida. Independent living which means one would need no help in taking meds, hygiene care or laundry, etc. Assisted living means help in all the above. My dad needs help in taking his meds on time, showering, shaving, and someone does his laundry. Memory care is basically the same as assisted but with a secure building because of wandering. That is where my mother is. She is always a flight risk. She needs direction in everything. Now that she is incontinent, there is aid in that, bathing, brushing her teeth, taking her to the dining room, dressing her, etc. the cost in memory care is the highest, as you can imagine. There are levels of care in Assisted living and Memory care. The price goes up with each level that pertains to your loved one. My parents have been in their ALF for five years and the cost has risen $1000 per month from the first month of arrival to now. I pay a total of $7,745 each month now with Memory care being about $200 more than my dad's per month. It is kind of lopsided really but that is what the business office did during one of their rate increases. I was told recently that if I were to bring my parents in now, the cost would be close to $10,000 per month.
Lousey, from what I've heard from my local home health care group, I would say that the facilities where I am in CA are approximately the same in definition as what Noteslover describes. I can't speak to cost reliably, other than to say that the rehab center where my mom is now is in the neighborhood of $4,000 a month (considered skilled nursing care, and considered by most to be the best in town) and the assisted living facility that's next door and owned by the same family costs about $2,700/month (and is considered to be nowhere near the best in town).

I believe (via hearsay) that the facility that's got the best reputation and has the best "variety" in services (independent, assisted, AND memory care) runs pretty close to $4,000/month but I'm not sure yet which level of care that applies to.

I'll be calling that facility this week and arranging for a meeting and tour, since my mom will be coming out of rehab soon and I need to know where I'll put her when having her home (one last time) doesn't work out. But, having been in the hospital and now rehab for a total of 3 weeks now, she's too good, too lucid, too compliant (although I'm starting to see her become less compliant now) for me to have her discharged to a facility - I need to try her at home one more time.
It's very much dependent upon where you live. And, not just what state, because within a state it can vary by community. Also, the amount of care a facility will take on varies. Whether a person needs a dementia unit to provide appropriate care depends upon the nature of their dementia. Many people are able live in AL with pretty significant dementia. However, if a person wanders or is aggressive, for example, I'd suggest going straight to a dementia unit.
Start looking by finding out the buzz in your area about the different communities. Learn their reputation. Then start calling. Talk to the marketing director at each one and describe your parent's situation; their medical conditions, behaviors, the amount of help they need now, etc. Ask how they handle dementia care.
Also, don't be afraid to ask them their opinion of other communities you're considering. Obviously they'll be in favor of their own, but they hear the scoop on all the communities. If you're in an area where there's lots of competition, don't hesitate to ask if there are any incentives or special offers in place. In some parts of the country, they're over-building and are pressed to keep their occupancy up.
The bottom line is, it's all about the care. Make sure they'll accommodate your parent's unique needs. If you are concerned about a particular need of your parent, ask to chat with someone on the nursing staff to ask exactly how they handle it. Don't be put off by so-so decor or minimal amenities if a place has an excellent reputation for care. If money's no object, then by all means go somewhere fancy, but make sure it's a fancy place with a good reputation for care.
Often the decision on placement is done by the facility after they have been there for a couple of months of them monitoring. This is really rough on all if this happens. You need to be very coldly realistic when going to look at AL as to whether your mom can fit into the level of care that the facility does. AL vary widely with some really requiring that the resident be able to do their ADL's with minimal help except for medications while others provide alot more care. One good ? is to ask about how they approach bathing - some places have it where they are expected to get into and out of the shower and bathe on their own in their own bathroom with an aide there to act as a spotter to help them get a towel or reach the grab bar; while others have a central bathing facility (think high school gym) where the residents are brought in a bathing chair and an aide helps her bathe. Then think about what you mom can or can't do (if she is a big lady, this can be a real issue in getting good hygiene done). For me, bathing is a red flag on whether they should be in AL or should instead be in a NH - most NH have 2 or 3 person bathing teams while AL do not. If she is a flight risk, she may need a lock down situation and that may be best done in a nursing home setting rather than AL.
If you are paying less than about $7,000/month per person you are fortunate.
Please do not delay researching place for placement. Start a notebook. List the facilities and prices. Many facilities have a waiting list. Get your loved one on the list NOW. You can always cancel .
Tour each facility. How far is from your home. Visit on off-hours,too. How does it smell? Ask the ratio of nurses and aides to patients. Check to see if they have fun activities , PT. Are the rooms large enough? Keep all the info in one notebook along with phone numbers , people you talked to, etc. Good luck. Hugs, Corinne

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