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When and how to know that memory care is needed

by Alliance America
November 16, 2023


As people age, it’s not uncommon for them to experience some decline in their cognitive abilities. For some, this may simply mean that they have a more difficult time remembering names or recalling certain events. However, for others, this decline can be much more significant, impacting their ability to live independently. When this occurs, it’s often necessary to seek out memory care. But how do you know when memory care is needed?

There are a few key indicators that it may be time to consider memory care for a loved one. One of the most important is if they are also having trouble with activities of daily living (ADLs). This includes tasks like eating and drinking, bathing, using the restroom and dressing. If your loved one is having difficulty with any of these activities, it’s a good idea to consider memory care.

Another indicator that memory care may be needed is if your loved one is experiencing changes in their mood or behavior. This can manifest itself in a number of ways, such as increased irritability, depression, anxiety or even aggression. If you’ve noticed changes in your loved one’s mood or behavior, it’s important to talk to their doctor to see if memory care is right for them.

Finally, another key indicator that memory care may be needed is if your loved one is having difficulty with communication. This can manifest itself in a number of ways, such as struggling to find the right words, repeating themselves frequently or becoming easily agitated. If you’ve noticed any changes in your loved one’s communication abilities, it’s important to talk to their doctor. Their doctor will be able to assess your loved one’s cognitive abilities and make a recommendation about whether or not memory care is right for them.

How can I identify the signs of memory decline?

wife comforting confused husband

The early stages of Alzheimer’s disease can be tricky to identify. The disease progresses slowly, and early on, symptoms can be easily mistaken for normal age-related changes or other conditions.

It’s important to be aware of the warning signs of Alzheimer’s and to see a doctor if you notice any of them in yourself or a loved one. Only a doctor can give a definite diagnosis.

Some people with Alzheimer’s disease have no symptoms in the early stages. When symptoms do appear, they can vary widely from person to person. The first symptom is often mild memory loss.

As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, neurons (nerve cells) in the brain begin to die. This cell death causes a buildup of abnormal proteins that forms plaques and tangles throughout the brain.

Alzheimer’s disease affects people in different ways, but common symptoms in the early and middle stages include:

  • Memory loss that disrupts daily life. An early sign of Alzheimer’s is forgetting newly learned information. As the disease progresses, people experience more severe memory loss and forgetfulness, such as forgetting the names of family members and everyday objects.

  • Challenges in planning or solving problems. People with Alzheimer’s may have trouble following a plan or working with numbers. They may also have trouble understanding visual information and processing verbal instructions.

  • Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure. People with Alzheimer’s may find it hard to complete daily tasks, such as getting dressed or eating. As the disease progresses, they may need help with all activities of daily living.

  • Confusion with time or place. People with Alzheimer’s may lose track of dates, seasons and the passage of time. They may also forget where they are and how they got there.

  • Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships. For example, someone with Alzheimer’s may have trouble reading and judging distance. They may also have trouble recognizing familiar faces.

  • New problems with words in speaking or writing. People with Alzheimer’s may have trouble following or joining a conversation. They may stop in the middle of a sentence and have no idea how to continue or they may repeat themselves. They may also have trouble writing, often losing the ability to write words or sentences correctly.

  • Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps. A person with Alzheimer’s disease may put things in unusual places. They may have difficulty finding their way around familiar places. Later, they may not be able to recognize these places at all.

  • Poor judgment and decision-making. For example, a person with Alzheimer’s may give large amounts of money to telemarketers. They may also pay less attention to grooming or keeping up with medical appointments.

  • Changes in mood and personality. People with Alzheimer’s can experience mood swings and changes in personality. They may become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious. They may also become angry or agitated. As the disease progresses, they may become withdrawn and isolate themselves from family and friends.

If you notice any of these warning signs, don’t ignore them. Schedule an appointment with your doctor to discuss your concerns. Early diagnosis is important because it gives you and your loved ones time to plan for the future and prepare for the changes that lie ahead.

How do I determine how much memory care is needed?

The decision to place a loved one in a memory care facility is never an easy one. There are many factors to consider, including the severity of the individual’s memory loss, the level of care they require and the potential behavioral changes that may occur.

Memory care facilities offer a variety of services and levels of care, from specialized care for those with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia to more general assistance for those experiencing memory loss due to aging or other factors. Assessing the severity of an individual’s memory loss is essential in determining which level of care is appropriate.

Memory loss can range from mild forgetfulness to severe impairment, and the severity of the condition will dictate the level of care required. Those with mild memory loss may only need occasional assistance with tasks such as grocery shopping or paying bills. However, those with more severe memory loss will require more constant supervision and care, including help with basic needs such as bathing, dressing and eating.

In addition to the severity of the memory loss, it is also important to consider the potential for behavioral changes. Those with memory loss often experience changes in mood and behavior, which can be challenging for caregivers and loved ones. Individuals with dementia, in particular, may experience agitation, aggression and even hallucinations. Memory care facilities are equipped to deal with these behavioral changes and can provide the specialized care needed to ensure the safety and well-being of residents.

Making the decision to place a loved one in a memory care facility is never easy. However, by assessing the severity of the individual’s memory loss and considering the potential for behavioral changes, you can ensure that your loved one receives the level of care they need.

What are the benefits of memory care?

We all know that memory care is important for those suffering from dementia and Alzheimer's disease, but what are the benefits of memory care? For caregivers, memory care can provide much-needed respite from the demands of caregiving. But memory care can also provide many benefits for the person suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's disease.

Memory care can help to slow the progression of the disease. By providing a stimulating and supportive environment, memory care can help to keep the mind active and engaged. This can help to delay the onset of further cognitive decline.

Memory care can also help to improve the quality of life for those suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's disease. By providing a safe and supportive environment, memory care can help to reduce anxiety and depression. Memory care can also help to improve social interactions and provide opportunities for meaningful activities.

So, if you are a caregiver, don't hesitate to seek out memory care for your loved one. And if you are suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's disease, don't hesitate to seek out memory care for yourself. The benefits of memory care are too great to ignore.

What is the typical cost of memory care?

piggy bank with woman looking at cost of memory care

There is no single average monthly cost for dementia care, as the costs can vary significantly depending on the type and severity of dementia, the level of care required, and the setting where care is provided. However, some general estimates on monthly dementia care costs include:

  • In-home care. According to the annual Genworth Financial Cost of Care Survey, the national median monthly cost for in-home care services for dementia patients is approximately $4,500. This can range from $3,750 per month for basic supervision to over $7,700 per month for more intensive care.

  • Adult day services. The median national monthly cost for adult day care for dementia is around $1,560 per month, allowing the person to stay in their own home at night and evenings.

  • Assisted living. Genworth estimated the median monthly cost of assisted living for someone with dementia at about $4,300. This provides help with daily activities in a supervised residential setting.

  • Nursing home care. For around-the-clock nursing home care, the median monthly cost is approximately $8,821 for a semi-private room, according to the Genworth report.

  • Memory care units. These specialized secure units in nursing homes have a higher monthly median rate of roughly $9,500 per month.

The costs vary considerably based on location, with care in some regions far higher than national medians. Long-term care insurance policies can offset some costs, while Medicaid provides coverage for lower-income individuals’ nursing home and in-home care. Overall, dementia care can easily cost thousands per month, representing a significant financial planning burden for many families.

These costs can be a major financial strain on families, especially if they are already struggling to make ends meet. For many families, the cost of memory care is simply too much to afford.

There are a few ways to offset the cost of memory care. Many families choose to move in with family members or friends so that they can help care for their loved ones. This can be a great way to reduce the financial burden of memory care.

Another option is to look for government assistance programs. These programs can help families cover the cost of memory care.

Finally, many families choose to purchase long-term care insurance. This type of insurance can help cover the cost of memory care in the event that it is needed.

No matter how you choose to offset the cost of memory care, it is important to remember that your loved ones are worth the investment. Memory care can be expensive, but it is an important part of keeping your loved ones safe and healthy.

How do you prepare for memory care?

adult son comforting confused father

As our loved ones age, it's important to start thinking about their long-term care needs. For many seniors, this means transitioning into a memory care community. Memory care is a specialized type of care that provides 24-hour support and assistance for people with Alzheimer's disease, dementia and other cognitive impairments.

Making the decision to move a loved one into a memory care community is never easy. But with the right preparation, it can be a smooth and positive transition for everyone involved. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

  1. Educate yourself about memory care
    The first step in preparing for memory care is to educate yourself about the different types of care available and what to expect. Memory care communities offer a variety of services and amenities, so it's important to find one that's the right fit for your loved one.

  2. Have a conversation with your loved one
    Talk to your loved one about their future care needs. It's important to involve them in the decision-making process as much as possible. Discuss the different types of care available and ask them what they would prefer. If they're not able to make decisions for themselves, you'll need to make decisions based on their best interests.

  3. Get organized
    Start gathering important documents, such as medical records and insurance information. You'll also need to make sure that all of your loved one's bills are up to date and that they have a durable power of attorney in place.

  4. Make a list of questions
    When you're touring memory care communities, make sure to have a list of questions ready. This will help you get a better understanding of what each community has to offer and whether or not it's the right fit for your loved one.

  5. Take your time
    Making a decision about memory care is a big deal. Don't feel like you have to rush into anything. Take your time to do your research and tour different communities before making a final decision.

Dealing with resistance to memory care

Resistance to memory care is a common issue that families deal with when trying to get their loved ones the help they need. There are a number of reasons why someone may resist going to memory care, including fear, anxiety, and even denial.

The first step in dealing with resistance is to try to understand the reason behind it. Once you know why your loved one is resisting, you can start to address their concerns. For example, if they are afraid of what will happen in memory care, you can reassure them that they will be safe and well cared for. If they are anxious about being away from home, you can explain the benefits of being in a supportive environment.

If your loved one is in denial about their memory problems, it can be difficult to convince them to seek help. However, it is important to remember that denial is a coping mechanism and that your loved one is likely scared and worried about what the future holds. Instead of trying to force them to face reality, try to provide support and understanding.

Once you've addressed the underlying reasons for resistance, you can start to explore other options for memory care. There are a variety of memory care facilities and programs available, so take the time to find one that will best meet your loved one's needs. Sometimes, a change in environment can be enough to help your loved one feel more comfortable with the idea of memory care.

If you're still having difficulty convincing your loved one to seek help, there are other options to consider. You may need to get creative in order to find a solution that works for everyone involved. Ultimately, the goal is to get your loved one the care and support they need to live a happy and healthy life.

Alliance America can help

Alliance America is an insurance and financial services company dedicated to the art of personal financial planning. Our financial professionals can assist you in maximizing your retirement resources and achieving your future goals. We have access to an array of products and services, all focused on helping you enjoy the retirement lifestyle you want and deserve. You can request a no-cost, no-obligation consultation by calling (833) 219-6884 today.

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