If your elderly parent has Alzheimer’s disease or another kind of dementia and requires full-time care, memory care or a nursing home may be an option. While each of these long-term care choices help seniors with memory loss, there are some key differences between them.
When it’s time to look for elder care for your loved one, learn about the benefits, services, and expenses of memory care and nursing homes so you can make an informed decision.
What’s the difference between nursing homes and memory care?
Both memory care and nursing facilities provide care, monitoring, and meals 24 hours a day, seven days a week. ADLs (activities of daily living) such as bathing, clothing, and medication management are also assisted by staff personnel. Memory care, often known as Alzheimer’s care, is a type of care that focuses on persons who have memory loss. This style of care focuses on improving the quality of life for people with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia in a safe setting to avoid wandering and confusion.
Nursing homes, also known as skilled nursing facilities or convalescent homes, are facilities that give care and medical support to elderly people who are unable to care for themselves. Nursing home residents do not require hospital treatment, yet they are unable to care for themselves or live independently. They may be bedridden, wheelchair-bound, or require round-the-clock nursing care.
What to Expect When It Comes to Memory Care
Memory care is specialist care provided to patients with memory loss 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To help prevent and eliminate challenging dementia behaviors, memory care facility staff receive rigorous dementia care training on a regular basis.
- Sundown syndrome
- Memory loss or confusion Memory care homes rely on trained, skilled staff to assist prevent and decrease dementia symptoms like:
- Aggressive or belligerent behavior
Memory-enhancing activities, therapies, and programs in memory care facilities also help seniors with memory loss improve their quality of life. Art therapy, music therapy, pet therapy, aromatherapy, and sensory stimulation are some of the unique offerings available.
- Reminiscence therapy
- Light therapy
At memory care centers, safety is a top focus. To deter straying, some communities have safety features such as secured and alarmed exit doors. Many memory care facilities are also specifically intended to help seniors with memory loss reduce confusion and orient themselves.
Memory care facilities may have the following layout and design features:
- Keypad entry for family or staff
- Color-coded walls
- Clearly defined shared spaces
- Enclosed gardens or courtyards
- Memory boxes outside residents’ doors with personalized souvenirs to guide them and make them feel at home
What to Expect in Nursing Homes
Nursing home residents frequently have major health problems or chronic diseases that necessitate round-the-clock monitoring and care.
Nursing homes provide two types of care:
- Short-term care and
- Long-term care. Nursing homes provide rehabilitation services to persons recovering from surgery, an acute injury, or illness.
- Long-term care is a word used to describe a type of care that is People with cognitive disabilities, terminal illnesses, or chronic conditions are cared for in nursing homes for a long time.
Nursing home services may include medication administration, wound care, IV therapies, and respiratory therapy, in addition to assistance with activities of daily living. Rehabilitative therapies such as speech, occupational, and physical therapy can also be included. The Medicare nursing home compare tool can help you uncover extensive information about every nursing home in the United States that is certified by Medicare or Medicaid.
Before a resident may transfer into a nursing home, they must have a physician’s prescription and a physical exam. Nursing home care may be appropriate for seniors in the following circumstances:
- They require rehabilitative services.
- They require constant supervision.
- They require assistance with daily activities such as eating, bathing, and dressing.
- They require help managing health conditions and medications.
The criteria for nursing homes vary from one state to the next. To learn about your state’s unique nursing home certification requirements, contact your local Medicaid or county government department.
Costs of memory care and nursing homes
Location, whether a space is shared, and the type of services given are all factors that influence the cost of memory care and nursing homes.
- The price of memory care. Memory care costs an average of $5,250 per month. However, price might range from $3,000 to $7,000 or more per month, depending on the community and location.
- The price of nursing home care. The cost of nursing home care varies by state and whether the facility is private or state-owned. According to the 2020 Genworth Cost of Care Survey, the typical monthly cost of a semi-private nursing home room in the United States is $7,756. The average monthly cost of a private nursing home room in the United States is $8,821.
What factors should I consider while deciding between memory care and nursing home care?
Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other forms of memory loss are treated with memory care. The competent and sympathetic approach used at memory care facilities typically benefits people with advanced memory loss who require 24-hour supervision, as well as those who have difficult-to-manage dementia symptoms, such as violent behaviors. These institutions’ specialized layouts, safety features, and memory-focused therapies also help seniors with memory loss improve their quality of life. Nursing facilities that provide expert nursing care and rehabilitative therapies, on the other hand, may benefit seniors with major medical requirements who require 24-hour supervision.
If you’re not sure what form of care will be best for your older loved one, chat to your family, their doctor, or a case manager to better understand their needs. Alexi Senior Living is also available to help and provides a free consultation service that has assisted hundreds of thousands of families in finding senior living for their elderly relatives.