As work continues on a 23,000-square-foot memory care center in Weston Wisconsin, it is important to remember that this is just one of the many facilities currently being built throughout the country. Because of the increased number of people who have memory-related illnesses, these types of ‘memory care facilities’ are only going to increase in number.
In fact, the number of people in Wisconsin alone who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease are expected to be around 202,000 by the time 2035 comes around, almost double the number of the current 120,000 Wisconsin residents with Alzheimer’s disease in 2011.
Defining memory care
It is important to remember that memory care facilities are not unlike assisted living communities. However, while assisted living communities may have memory care units that cater to specific individuals, the two types of care are not synonymous with one another.
Memory care is a specialized form of long-term skilled nursing. It specifically caters to patients who struggle with memory problems such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Memory care offers a residential solution for those people who are no longer able to care for themselves due to progressive impairment.
These professionals are trained to help people with impaired cognition or dementia. This goes beyond just having skilled professionals available too. Oftentimes the security of these facilities and their physical layout is designed to better suit patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. This ensures that the environment is pleasant and easy to navigate and wandering behavior is minimized.
There are currently 23 states that require care providers to disclose the special services they offer due to special care unit disclosure laws. However, because there is no single universal law in relates to memory care facilities, it is vital that caregivers research these facilities thoroughly before they ever decide upon one facility or another.
A cost comparison: assisted living vs memory care
There are many different variables that determine the costs of memory care and assisted living. These include what services are needed, whether a space has to be shared or not, the size of the apartment/room, and the geographic location of the facility. Beyond that, the determination of the costs is a bit different for both types of care.
Assisted living usually charges a base monthly rate. This includes two to three meals per day and covers room and board. According to a recent survey, in 2012, a one-bedroom assisted living apartment on average cost around $3,300 monthly. Some facilities cover other services such as laundry and housekeeping in their base rate, while others will charge extra. This emphasizes the importance of requesting a cost breakdown for each facility that you are considering for yourself or someone that you care about.
Memory care offers nursing services and specialized care not normally found in regular assisted living. As a result, the costs are oftentimes quite a bit higher. That same survey showed that the average costs were around $5,000 per month. Fortunately, veterans’ benefits, Medicare, and Medicaid can all help reduce the out-of-pocket price tag.
Do you choose assisted living or memory care?
If dementia or Alzheimer’s disease are not an immediate issue and the person is still relatively independent in their daily lives, assisted living may be a good choice. However, if the patient suffers from memory impairment and has the complex care needs associated with that issue, a memory facility such as the one being built in Weston is going to be the best possible option.