Commonly Asked Questions about Memory Care

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Memory Care FAQs

Most Commonly Asked Questions about Memory Care

One of the most difficult challenges in aging is the possibility of Alzheimer’s disease or a related form of dementia. It is especially hard to see your loved one affected by any type of dementia, not to mention the struggle to help care for them. Challenges with safety, agitation, and nutrition are common. With over 20 years of experience, Benchmark knows these challenges all too well—and has devised an award-winning program and community structure to help individuals who are affected with memory impairment.

Q: What is memory care?

A: Memory care is a type of senior living residence program designed to meet the unique needs of seniors with dementia. These programs can be a standalone community or a dedicated program within an assisted living community. 

Memory care programs focus on creating a secure environment, while also helping each resident to live their most engaged life. From life enrichment activities to specialized dining, the goal is to work around losses caused by the disease.

Because the disease causes problems with memory, verbal skills, mobility, and even vision, caregivers in memory care programs receive specialized training to help them learn how to work with the senior’s remaining abilities. Caregivers also learn how to honor the resident’s life story before the disease changed their life.


Q: What are the signs it’s time for a move to a memory care community?

A: While the signs it’s time for change are different for everyone, a few common ones include: 

• Wandering 
• Agitation
• Caregiver stress that interferes with daily life 
• Unintended weight loss for the senior or the caregiver
• An inability to keep the older adult engaged in meaningful activity

The team at a memory care community can usually manage these struggles and improve the senior’s overall quality of life.


Q: How much do memory care communities cost?

A: The cost of a memory care community can vary widely depending upon factors such as the area of the country and the services and amenities provided. Contact the communities you are interested in and compare apples to apples. You may be willing to pay a little extra for amenities and additional care. Understanding how they structure their fees, additional costs and provide care will help you to compare your options.

Q: Does Medicare pay for memory care?

A: Unfortunately, it does not. Because memory care isn’t considered to be medical in nature, Medicare doesn’t help pay for the expenses. At Benchmark, we understand this can be a challenge. Consulting our Financial Concierge can provide you with financial solutions. 

Q: Why is memory care more expensive than assisted living?

A: Because adults with memory loss require more care and assistance as their disease progresses, the costs associated with operating a memory care community are much higher. Specialized caregiver training, dedicated dining programs, and uniquely designed life enrichment programs all help improve the quality of life for an adult with dementia, but each one also makes the program more expensive. Again, there are may be financial solutions available that you might not be aware of. Contact our Financial Concierge  if you are interested in learning more.


Q: How do memory care communities keep residents safe?

A: Safety is one of the leading reasons families seek the support of a memory care community. As a loved one’s disease progresses, they may begin to wander. It’s a common but dangerous behavior. 

Memory care communities are secure. The best programs offer electronic security that is subtle, so residents don’t feel trapped. Visual cues are also used to help redirect residents’ attention to their living corridors and divert attention from exit doors. 

When residents have structured days filled with meaningful experiences, they are less likely to attempt to wander because they are engaged.

Q: How do memory care communities improve nutrition for adults with Alzheimer’s?

A: As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, families often find it more and more difficult to prevent an unhealthy amount of weight loss in their loved one. Sometimes the older adult has difficulty managing utensils and that keeps them from eating well. Other times, the older adult has problems focusing on their meal and sitting still long enough to eat it. 

Memory care communities have specialized dining programs designed to work around these challenges. Menus often consist of healthy finger-foods that don’t require the use of utensils. 

At Benchmark, we have our Red Bowl program. Red bowls and plates are used to provide contrast to the food on the plate, allowing residents to see their food which makes it more appetizing. Specially designed mugs allow for easier grip and the tables are supplied with easy to see and handle condiments. This type of dining keeps our residents independent and enjoying their food. Find out more about our red bowl program and the research behind it.

A thoughtfully designed environment is another benefit. Activity and clutter in the dining room are minimized to help prevent the adult from becoming distracted during meal time. 


Q: How do residents in memory care stay active and engaged?

A: People with memory impairment benefit from structured days filled with meaningful activity. At Benchmark memory care communities, for example, residents participate in our Live Now, Live Engaged program which is just one part of our overall Mind & Memory Approach. This approach focuses on both the generative activities of stimulating cognition and a thoughtful approach to ensuring residents are set up for success by deeply understanding their likes and dislikes, wants and needs and creating the conditions for them to thrive.

Our resident-centered curriculum uses proven techniques, such as journey stations and treasure chests, to give memory care residents opportunities for meaningful engagement. Some experiences are designed for the whole group to participate in, and others are meant to be one-on-one experiences.

Journey stations, for example, use recognizable items and themed experiences designed to stimulate memories from the past. It might be from the resident’s career, wedding, favorite hobbies, or family life.

Q: What should families look for on a tour of a memory care community?

A: Overall, the most important factors include gaining a deep understanding of company values, staff and resident engagement, training experience, and sincere empathy for the aging experience. These kinds of things require time, so multiple visits are recommended.

If you are visiting during mealtime, observe how interested residents seem in their meal, what support and adaptive tools are offered to make the experience easier and more enjoyable for them, and the nutritional quality of the food.

Do the residents look well cared for and dressed appropriately for the season? 

Caregiver relationships with residents play a key factor in the quality of care. Do these interactions seem positive and supportive? Or do caregivers seem rushed and stressed? 

Also, try to schedule a visit during a time when a life enrichment experience is taking place. This will help you gauge how good a job the community does in creating meaningful, productive days.

Q: Do memory care communities have an open door policy for visitors?

A: Memory care communities welcome visits from family and friends. Because of the challenges that can accompany memory loss, visitors need to be respectful of residents’ privacy and mindful of causing disruption during mealtimes or times when residents might be sleeping. 

Making an Informed Choice

We know you might have more specific questions or concerns about moving a loved one with memory loss. It’s important to us that you find the answers you need. Contact the Benchmark community nearest you to set up a time for a personal visit or to request one of our team members visit you at home to talk more. 

 

Most Commonly Asked Questions about Memory Care

One of the most difficult challenges in aging is the possibility of Alzheimer’s disease or a related form of dementia. It is especially hard to see your loved one affected by any type of dementia, not to mention the struggle to help care for them. Challenges with safety, agitation, and nutrition are common. With over 20 years of experience, Benchmark knows these challenges all too well—and has devised an award-winning program and community structure to help individuals who are affected with memory impairment.

Q: What is memory care?

A: Memory care is a type of senior living residence program designed to meet the unique needs of seniors with dementia. These programs can be a standalone community or a dedicated program within an assisted living community. 

Memory care programs focus on creating a secure environment, while also helping each resident to live their most engaged life. From life enrichment activities to specialized dining, the goal is to work around losses caused by the disease.

Because the disease causes problems with memory, verbal skills, mobility, and even vision, caregivers in memory care programs receive specialized training to help them learn how to work with the senior’s remaining abilities. Caregivers also learn how to honor the resident’s life story before the disease changed their life.


Q: What are the signs it’s time for a move to a memory care community?

A: While the signs it’s time for change are different for everyone, a few common ones include: 

• Wandering 
• Agitation
• Caregiver stress that interferes with daily life 
• Unintended weight loss for the senior or the caregiver
• An inability to keep the older adult engaged in meaningful activity

The team at a memory care community can usually manage these struggles and improve the senior’s overall quality of life.


Q: How much do memory care communities cost?

A: The cost of a memory care community can vary widely depending upon factors such as the area of the country and the services and amenities provided. Contact the communities you are interested in and compare apples to apples. You may be willing to pay a little extra for amenities and additional care. Understanding how they structure their fees, additional costs and provide care will help you to compare your options.

Q: Does Medicare pay for memory care?

A: Unfortunately, it does not. Because memory care isn’t considered to be medical in nature, Medicare doesn’t help pay for the expenses. At Benchmark, we understand this can be a challenge. Consulting our Financial Concierge can provide you with financial solutions. 

Q: Why is memory care more expensive than assisted living?

A: Because adults with memory loss require more care and assistance as their disease progresses, the costs associated with operating a memory care community are much higher. Specialized caregiver training, dedicated dining programs, and uniquely designed life enrichment programs all help improve the quality of life for an adult with dementia, but each one also makes the program more expensive. Again, there are may be financial solutions available that you might not be aware of. Contact our Financial Concierge  if you are interested in learning more.


Q: How do memory care communities keep residents safe?

A: Safety is one of the leading reasons families seek the support of a memory care community. As a loved one’s disease progresses, they may begin to wander. It’s a common but dangerous behavior. 

Memory care communities are secure. The best programs offer electronic security that is subtle, so residents don’t feel trapped. Visual cues are also used to help redirect residents’ attention to their living corridors and divert attention from exit doors. 

When residents have structured days filled with meaningful experiences, they are less likely to attempt to wander because they are engaged.

Q: How do memory care communities improve nutrition for adults with Alzheimer’s?

A: As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, families often find it more and more difficult to prevent an unhealthy amount of weight loss in their loved one. Sometimes the older adult has difficulty managing utensils and that keeps them from eating well. Other times, the older adult has problems focusing on their meal and sitting still long enough to eat it. 

Memory care communities have specialized dining programs designed to work around these challenges. Menus often consist of healthy finger-foods that don’t require the use of utensils. 

At Benchmark, we have our Red Bowl program. Red bowls and plates are used to provide contrast to the food on the plate, allowing residents to see their food which makes it more appetizing. Specially designed mugs allow for easier grip and the tables are supplied with easy to see and handle condiments. This type of dining keeps our residents independent and enjoying their food. Find out more about our red bowl program and the research behind it.

A thoughtfully designed environment is another benefit. Activity and clutter in the dining room are minimized to help prevent the adult from becoming distracted during meal time. 


Q: How do residents in memory care stay active and engaged?

A: People with memory impairment benefit from structured days filled with meaningful activity. At Benchmark memory care communities, for example, residents participate in our Live Now, Live Engaged program which is just one part of our overall Mind & Memory Approach. This approach focuses on both the generative activities of stimulating cognition and a thoughtful approach to ensuring residents are set up for success by deeply understanding their likes and dislikes, wants and needs and creating the conditions for them to thrive.

Our resident-centered curriculum uses proven techniques, such as journey stations and treasure chests, to give memory care residents opportunities for meaningful engagement. Some experiences are designed for the whole group to participate in, and others are meant to be one-on-one experiences.

Journey stations, for example, use recognizable items and themed experiences designed to stimulate memories from the past. It might be from the resident’s career, wedding, favorite hobbies, or family life.

Q: What should families look for on a tour of a memory care community?

A: Overall, the most important factors include gaining a deep understanding of company values, staff and resident engagement, training experience, and sincere empathy for the aging experience. These kinds of things require time, so multiple visits are recommended.

If you are visiting during mealtime, observe how interested residents seem in their meal, what support and adaptive tools are offered to make the experience easier and more enjoyable for them, and the nutritional quality of the food.

Do the residents look well cared for and dressed appropriately for the season? 

Caregiver relationships with residents play a key factor in the quality of care. Do these interactions seem positive and supportive? Or do caregivers seem rushed and stressed? 

Also, try to schedule a visit during a time when a life enrichment experience is taking place. This will help you gauge how good a job the community does in creating meaningful, productive days.

Q: Do memory care communities have an open door policy for visitors?

A: Memory care communities welcome visits from family and friends. Because of the challenges that can accompany memory loss, visitors need to be respectful of residents’ privacy and mindful of causing disruption during mealtimes or times when residents might be sleeping. 

Making an Informed Choice

We know you might have more specific questions or concerns about moving a loved one with memory loss. It’s important to us that you find the answers you need. Contact the Benchmark community nearest you to set up a time for a personal visit or to request one of our team members visit you at home to talk more. 

 

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