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In my short time here on the forum, I have seen the term Memory Care used somewhat often. I am not familiar with Memory Care or how it differs from Assisted Living or a nursing home. Who would be a candidate for Memory Care? Any info or examples will help me understand this better.

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When you hear that a Memory Care facility is "lockdown" all it means is that the front door to the building is locked.... when you think about it, don't we all lock our front door.

Where my Dad lived, during the day he had full access to the whole Memory Care floor, including the elevator down to the main Assisted Living area, that is where activities were set. Meals were served restaurant style, Memory Care had their own separate dining room.

At night time, the Memory Care floor was available to everyone on that floor, there were 4 separate "living rooms" with TV's. Dad had his own TV in his room. The elevator was not available at night, only by code by the staff. Residents could lock their rooms at night if they wish.

My Dad loved the place. We use to joke about his "college dorm room" as the room was small and was surrounded by all of his books :)
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Mysteryshopper Jun 4, 2020
So, they must do some rounding at a certain time each night to make sure the memory care residents are back on the floor - right? Now that I'm thinking about it, I visited a locked unit many years ago - which I now believe was probably memory care. As I recall, the front door to the facility was unlocked, but the elevator up to the floor was locked and could only be used by visitors if there was tight supervision to make sure a resident didn't try to slip into the elevator with an unsuspecting visitor (or even with an inexperienced staff member). Those who lived on that floor stayed on that floor all of the time.
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Assisted living facilities are for those who may have some medical issues but still can function pretty much on their own. ALF provides a resident with medication management, "house" cleaning, 24 hour staff, and activities, among other services in the residents own apartment. Someone who uses a walker or who cannot maintain their home safely would be a candidate for ALF. The facility would try to maintain the persons freedom and autonomy as much as possible.
MC facilities are for those living with cognitive issues, usually dementia related. They are lockdown units to prevent residents from walking away. They require much closer supervision and receive help with activities of daily living moreso than ALF residents. MC residents are in continual decline because of their illness and may live out their life here. Someone with cognitive decline like dementia symptoms would be a candidate. Both ALF and MC are private pay facilites.
Nursing home residents require a much higher level of medical attention. Someone who requires more care than an MC unit can provide would be a candidate for a NH. NHs can be private pay or Medicaid paid.
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Mysteryshopper Jun 4, 2020
Thanks for these details. Particularly the part about Medicaid vs private pay for these different types of care.
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Memory Care would be a locked facility or wing of a facility that may also have Assisted Living and sometimes Independent living.
Generally a Nursing Home or Skilled Nursing Facility would be for someone that has medical conditions that might be more difficult for others to handle.
Some facilities will not permit the use of equipment to move a resident so if equipment is necessary then that person would need a Nursing Home.
The exception might be if a person enters Memory Care or Assisted Living and declines to the point that they need equipment the facility may keep the resident. (particularly if the resident is on Hospice)
A candidate for Memory Care would be anyone diagnosed with any form of Dementia.
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Mysteryshopper Jun 4, 2020
This helps tremendously. Thanks.
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Memory Care is for people with MCI or dementia although most will also have some other physical health issue too. It is usually a locked facility so the residents cannot wonder off and the care givers have additional training in how to handle dementia behaviors. AL residents usually have most to all of their cognitive abilities intact and can still make reasonable choices but need help with ADLs due to physical declines, usually mobility related. NH residents need medical attention daily to constantly and intensive assistance for several ADLs, perhaps bed bound and requiring a 2 person lift or transfer.

My aunt loved her AL apartment. She didn't want to handle yard work or major housekeeping chores anymore. Her primarily health concern was diabetes and her children wanted her in an environment where she could receive prompt medical attention if needed. By using medication management services, someone made physical contact with my aunt 4 times a day. She had a kitchenette and always made her breakfast, but enjoyed dining with other residents for lunch and dinner. She could participate in planned activities as much as she wanted or have private time in her apartment. As she aged, the AL provided someone to help with her bath/shower, monitoring and in room meals during minor illnesses, laundry services and even some grocery shopping.

My father had vascular dementia, osteoporosis, and CHF. He could do all his ADLs but was very uncooperative and very unreasonable. Dad thought he was smarter than any doctor, so he would not take his medications as prescribed. Dad was not able to understand why not taking his anti-anxiety medication for several days and then take several days of medication in a single hour was a problem. Or why not taking blood pressure or heart medication was a problem. Or why he shouldn't pee into a water glass he "stored" in the window.

Mom's cousin had Parkinson's Disease and became unable to stand for easy transfers. He needed help with toileting, bathing, and dressing; eventually even eating was problematic. The NH environment had the trained people and equipment needed for his care.
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Mysteryshopper Jun 4, 2020
Thanks for this info. Definitely, I've had people in/out of nursing homes for decades. I'm not as familiar with Assisted Living - but I have noticed that what some refer to as "assisted living" is their polite attempt to refer to something which is actually a nursing home. They can't seem to get the words "nursing home" out of their mouths or they are afraid of judgment. So, it sounds like a nursing home could have a memory care wing which would be locked? Or, are memory care facilities usually physically separate? Based on your description, I think I actually did visit a memory care unit a long time ago - but it was called something else. Definitely locked and access was tightly monitored, so that's probably what it was.
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