What exactly is memory care?

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What is memory care? How is that different from AL or a nursing home? Thanks.

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It varies, of course. But in general the distinction is to do with the level of supervision and security in the facility - the premises will be locked, usually with a door code that residents are not given; and the staff should be well trained in managing the challenging behaviours that dementia can cause.

I've managed to make it sound like a cross between a prison and a boot camp. It isn't. The locks are so that disoriented residents cannot wander dangerously and get lost or injured. Those "challenging behaviours" might include violence towards other people, but they can also include a resident experiencing terrible fear and needing advanced skills in redirection and reassurance to calm her, for example.

If you don't mind my asking, what sort of facility are you looking for for your loved one, and what are the person's needs?
Where I live (a rural area) there is no dedicated memory care, all those with needs higher than an AL can handle are in nursing homes. I imagine the benefit of memory care is that staff should be better trained to understand dementia and activities and programs are more appropriately geared toward those who suffer from it. I feel sad visiting my mother in the NH and seeing residents in their 60s wandering aimlessly among all the people confined to wheelchairs, surely a dedicated facility would be better.
Commutergirl, you're quite right that Memory Care should include a therapeutic approach. The best do. I worked for a group that recruited "Locksmiths" - nothing to do with maintenance men (!), these were specialist support workers who were trained in helping residents to retrieve memories and use what cognition they still had effectively. It is highly skilled work, indeed.

Sadly, though, all too often Memory Care is a euphemism for secure facility.
My dad was in the same MC chain as Freqs,, they monitored him, but they also DID things with him! They had activities to help him feel comfortable, like giving him the paper (even if he could not really understand it he liked to "read"it) They had a better staff to pt ratio, so he was always in someone's view. He had company and someone to talk to. My MIL is in another place, and I kinda think they just babysit.. MIL is clean and fed, but seems like the Pts are sort of "parked". So take a good look around.
My dad couldn't perform ADLs (physically) well enough for AL; nor could he always determine (due to dementia) when to ask for help, nor even remember at all times how to ask for help. So Memory Care staff assists him in toileting, dressing, meal reminders, meds, and provides safe movement reminders (keeping a watchful eye & offering assistance), as well as social interactions with other residents. (He's wheel-chair bound, 10 yrs with PD. He is quite cognizant much of the time.) So you see, he's not a wandering risk; he just needs help getting thru the day, but not enough for f/t SNF. Cost is around $5k where we live, & Medicaid does not pay.
I'm asking because it comes up a lot. Knew about AL and NH but never heard of MC. My parents are both gone and my mom was in AL for a short while before I lost her. So now I read this stuff because I figure some day I'll be in one. Not really worried about it, have had long talks with my son so he knows if it happens he's not to feel guilt no matter how ugly I get about it. :-) Figure at age 72 I have years yet but you just never know. My mom was in her mid 70's when she started to show signs. I do know that when she kept her mind busy it really slowed down the process.
Sometimes we forget about Group Home Care. Anyone seeking to place a loved one with Alzheimers or PD with LewyBody dementia Could find comfort in researching group home placement. The aides and owners have few enough residents so they can pay good attention, play games and offer a home atmosphere for you and your loved one. But no matter where your loved one is, the main responsibility to watch out for them, provide stimulation, visits, snackfoods, outings, even around the block, remains with the family or someone the family hires to do this visiting .
I recently placed my 94 yr. old mom in MC. A very nice facility (recommended) that was MC specific -- no other level of care (AL, NH, Rehab) associated with this. Mom was completely resistant, wasn't going, very emotional about the thought of moving. She adjusted Day1 and has been really happy there. As others have said; each facility is different. The difference in my mind is the Director and care team, their training and experience. In this MC facility they have "dorms" -- 4 levels; depending on the care, mobility of the residents. My mom so far is in the "high functioning" -- so she is mobile, able to follow instructions with little supv, able to dress, toilet, bath and feed herself. They have lots of activities for all levels -- appropriate to abilities to ensure the residents can live their best quality life. So for mom, for example, she goes on outings (ice cream, dining) and Montessori school visits monthly to interact with the kids. So far so good (and she is most stubborn and ornery). I get regular updates from Director and care team. I would rate the facility as "outstanding" because I know how mom can be and in 6 months I haven't had a stressful call or incident on her behavior or health. The cost is $7900/mo. Its high, but luckily mom has savings and assets that afford her this care level. I know if she has to have extra care or skilled care to stay with her overnight etc. that would be extra. I had a friend who had to hire 24/7 nursing care on top of the AL their mom was in and the total monthly bill ran $20K! This went on for 3 yrs.
whaleyf, my Dad was in Assisted Living/Memory Care in a wonderful facility. One floor was for just Memory Care, the other floors were for Assisted Living. The whole building was locked at night, as CountryMouse above had mentioned, with Staff just have the code to get in and out of the building. It gave everyone who lived there a sense of security. During the day, the Receptionist would monitor the front door.

A nursing home is for a skilled care, where a resident would need a higher degree of care. Some Assisted Living facilities also offer that type of care.

Cost wise, Assisted Living is around $5k to $6k per month, usually self-pay. Some facilities will take a Medicaid waiver, it depends on the State Medicaid program. Nursing homes are more expensive, $10k to $12k per month, and many nursing homes will take Medicaid residents. Now prices do vary depending on location.

Sometimes the words Assisted Living and Nursing Homes are interchangeable, but there is a difference between the two.
I'm confused. I would think memory care would place emphasis on the loved one's memory to slow down Alzheimers or dementia. My mother asks questions when we watch tv. I research on my cell. I ask her questions all day long to make her think. It seems she gets mentally sharper.

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