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What You Should Know About Assisted Living and Memory Care

May 6

Memory care is a type of residential long-term care designed to help older adults with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Usually, it’s necessary to have a doctor’s diagnosis before entering memory care, and people with more advanced stages of the condition will need round-the-clock monitoring and supervision. It can be expensive—up to six figures per year, depending on the level of care needed—and must be paid for with private savings and assets or long-term care insurance. In some cases, government assistance programs like Medicaid can help. For more visit

Many communities that offer assisted living also provide memory care for residents. This is a great option for seniors who want to live in a community but need assistance with daily activities. Unlike independent living, in which the amount of care that is required depends on the person’s needs, a senior who enters assisted living can progressively ask for more care as their needs change.

The physical structure of a memory care residence is important for the safety of residents, with security features like delayed egress systems and windows that don’t open easily. Some memory care facilities may also have special gardens, indoor or outdoor recreation areas and other amenities to make the environment as pleasant as possible for the resident.

Assisted living homes and memory care facilities must comply with state regulations regarding staffing, training, safety and cleanliness. In addition, the home must be well-ventilated and have a fire alarm system and sprinklers. Residents can expect to have meals prepared for them, and in some cases they will be able to go on outings with their families.

Home health care services, which are provided by licensed agencies or nurses, can be a cost-effective way to receive custodial care, such as assistance with dressing and bathing. Typically, Medicare doesn’t cover these services, but if you are considering this option, you should talk to a trusted health care professional like a geriatrician about the best way to pay for them.

A senior may qualify for various programs to assist them in staying in their own homes, including the Managed Long Term Care (MLTC) Program and the Consumer-Directed Personal Assistance Program. Both of these programs can pay for services such as adult day care, respite care, minor home repairs and personal emergency response systems.

The biggest hurdle for most family caregivers is covering the costs of memory care. If you are concerned about the costs of care, it’s important to speak with your loved ones, your doctor and elder law attorneys. They can help you develop a plan to pay for the care that is right for your loved one, from tapping their long-term care insurance or other personal assets to qualifying for government assistance. By starting the conversation earlier, you have more time to find the right care options for your loved one. In addition, a lawyer can discuss planning strategies to help you protect assets. Often, you can avoid a costly battle over estate rights by taking advantage of the protections in place under state and federal laws.