How Affordable Are Senior Living Memory Care Facilities For Seniors With Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s, which is the most common type of dementia, is a terrible and debilitating disease. While it is most common in older people, it also can afflict people even in their 30’s and 40’s. As the population in America becomes more senior, the amount of people with Alzheimer’s is ever increasing.

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From a study published in 2022, the Alzheimer’s Association reported that more than six million people were afflicted with Alzheimer’s, the main type of dementia. Alarmingly, someone in the U.S. is developing the disease every 66 seconds. The number of people aged 65 and older with Alzheimer’s is projected to reach 12.7 million by the year 2050. There is no cure for Alzheimer’s as of yet, but there are numerous treatment and care protocols that have been developed.

Unfortunately, many of these protocols are expensive. Thus, the burden for care often falls on the shoulders of an unpaid and untrained family member. According to the Alzheimer’s Foundation, loved ones, including family members and friends, provided more than $271 billion in unpaid care to those with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia in 2021. When the symptoms and conditions become too much to handle, families often turn to a special type of treatment known as “memory care”. Memory care is more intensive than other types of senior care, such as assisted living. Memory care requires around-the-clock supervision and specialized facilities to deal with issues such as patients wandering off and getting lost and even hurt. With this being said, below is discussed the costs of a memory care facility.

Median Memory Care Costs

The cost for a memory care facility can vary greatly, with some facilities charging $2,500 a month or less, others may cost over $10,000 a month. The median of all memory care facility costs in the United States is $5,430 a month. Location of the facility has a major impact on the cost. A facility in a large metropolitan area will likely cost more than one in a rural area. One in an area with a higher cost of living, will be more expensive than one where the opposite may be true.

Also, state to state, the median cost can vary greatly. The difference in median monthly memory care costs between the most and least expensive states — Georgia at $3,995 and New Jersey at $7,710 — is over $3,700. The 10 least expensive states for memory care facilities, based on median monthly cost are:

– Georgia at $3,995
– Utah at $4,220
– Idaho at $4,336
– Alabama at $4,410
– S. Carolina $4,415
– Tennessee at $4,417
– Mississippi at $4,452
– Kentucky at $4,513
– New Mexico at $4,600
– Florida at $4,650

What Is Included In the Price

Housing, meals, and 24-hour care for seniors with dementia is the standard in memory care facilities, which is sometimes called Alzheimer’s care. An absolute must is that memory care communities offer a safe, secure, intentionally designed environment for their residents, but most communities should also provide memory-enhancing therapies and specialized opportunities for socialization.

Typical services and features provided include:

• 24-hour care and supervision with a low patient-to-caregiver ratio

• Assistance with bathing, dressing, and other activities of daily living

• Complete housekeeping and landscaping services (to reduce resident stress)

• Emergency monitoring, including a protocol or system to monitor for wandering

• Medication management

• Independent and group activities specific to memory care

• Transportation to appointments, appropriate events, etc.

Memory Care Versus Assisted Living Facilities

Memory care can overlap with assisted living in that the goal is to help residents retain as much independence as possible. However, those in need of constant medical supervision are more likely to find the care they need in a specialized memory care facility. Memory care costs generally exceed assisted living by $1,000 or more a month, even when communities are in the same area. However, memory-care-only communities are more likely to be all-inclusive in cost. In an all-inclusive setting, residents pay one monthly fee regardless of care needs. This is different from assisted living costs, which are often determined based on individual level of care. Also, there are some key beneficial reasons that memory care costs more than assisted living:

– Staff members need special skills and training
– Lower staff to resident ratios are required, usually 1:5
– Unique and often personalized programs and therapies are provided
– Highly secured and specialized physical facilities

Ways To Save Money On Cost

– Move in at end of the year: Prices usually go up at the beginning of each year and you can beat the price increase this way.

– Take a shared room if possible: This is not only less expensive, having a roommate can also be therapeutically beneficial.

– Ask for a move-in incentive or deal: Most memory care facilities are for-profit businesses and want you as a customer. If you ask, you often can get some sort of discount.

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