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Memory care in Massachusetts
In the state of Massachusetts, there are about 180 memory care communities, as well as assisted living facilities that offer memory care services. Memory care centers can be found, among other locations, in the following cities: Pittsfield, Springfield, Worcester, Boston, and Barnstable Town. All memory care facilities are licensed and regulated by the Executive Office of Elder Affairs. The state department offers free assistance to those who need help finding a memory care community to suit both their needs and available budget.
To be admitted into a memory care community, prospective residents must meet a number of conditions. For instance, they should be able to present a confirmed diagnosis of dementia, and also meet the age requirement. This usually varies between 55 and 62. Some centers might also request a detailed list of physical and mental impairments. Each facility is free to decide on additional admittance criteria, most commonly including physical and mental health, marital status, income, level of assistance, and pre-existing conditions.
Not all applications are accepted, with each center having a list of specific refusal reasons. It is worth mentioning that memory care communities do not accept those who present severe cognitive impairment and cannot direct their own care. The same goes for those who are bedridden, require hospice care, or present infectious conditions. Mentally-unstable seniors are refused, given the obvious risks. The need for long-term skilled nursing care represents another important rejection reason.
Initial assessments are undertaken for each admitted senior, in order to identify potential needs and requirements. The examination is always handled by a trained physician, with the help of a registered nurse. It commonly regards the following aspects: physical and mental challenges, behavior, personality, emotional status, level of independence, etc. Based on the results of this examination, a custom service plan is developed. This will be updated on a regular basis and always after a major health event.
Average cost of memory care in Massachusetts
In the state of Massachusetts, the average cost of memory care is around $7,000 per month. Not only is this well above the national median of $5,000, but it is worth mentioning that Massachusetts is among the most expensive states in the region when it comes to memory care. More affordable communities can be found in nearby states, including Vermont, New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. The only exception is New Hampshire, with an average cost of $8,700 per month.
Within the state of Massachusetts, the cost of memory care varies significantly. The most expensive communities can be found in the Boston Area, with an average monthly cost of $8,000. On the other hand, Pittsfield has the most affordable facilities of this kind, with a median of $3,700 per month. Memory care is more expensive than other long-term care options, such as in-home care, home health care, adult day care, and assisted living. Nursing home care is the only one that costs more, with a monthly average of over $12,000.
How is dementia managed in memory care?
Dementia is a leading cause of disability, affecting millions of people all over the world and women in particular. More than two-thirds of those who suffer from this condition deal with moderate to severe cognitive impairment, memory loss, and reduced functioning. As the condition progresses, living alone becomes difficult and even dangerous. This is the main reason for which dementia seniors should consider alternative living options, such as memory care.
Dementia is an umbrella term for a wide range of manifestations that lead to a progressive decline in one's ability to function. From the loss of memory to concentration difficulties and language impairment, this condition can be difficult to handle alone. Not to mention, it will also affect physical health and social skills. All the different types – Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia, Lewy Body dementia, frontotemporal dementia – present the same challenges. Memory care is the best option for those dealing with severe forms of dementia, offering a structured environment in which they can thrive.
Many dementia seniors live with their family members, who have assumed the role of caregivers. Even though they feel comforted by the thought that their loved ones are near them, it becomes increasingly hard to respond to their needs. Dementia progresses up to the point when the caregiving process becomes incredibly difficult. The transition into memory care appears as a natural result, as the requirement for specialized care becomes more and more obvious. Memory care communities have trained staff available, reading to respond to the various needs dementia seniors might have.
Dementia usually begins with insidious manifestations, which many seniors attribute to aging. However, as the condition advances, it becomes clear the respective symptoms might be caused by an illness. Seniors might struggle to perform simple tasks, feeling confused in otherwise familiar environments. They will ask a lot of questions, their loss of memory becoming more and more obvious with every day that passes. In most cases, the cognitive decline is accompanied by concentration difficulties and language impairment.
In the advanced stage, seniors will begin to forget certain events and even have trouble remembering the names or faces of their loved ones. With the mental and physical capabilities affected, it should come as no surprise that some seniors will struggle to go through their daily routine. Moreover, they might also suffer from personality changes and mood swings, with anxiety and depression as main issues. They will require assistance with activities of daily living and also constant supervision, given the obvious risk of injuries and wandering.
By choosing a memory care facility, dementia seniors benefit from adequate support, quality care, and an adapted living environment. The staff is readily available to offer the necessary help, including when it comes to specialized care and medication management. Caregivers acknowledge the benefits of memory care, encouraging the respective transition. Naturally, they are also fighting the stress of caring for someone who suffers from dementia. This is especially difficult when it comes to those in advanced stages.
Memory care communities are specifically designed to meet the needs of dementia seniors, ensuring a high standard of living. Residents feel comfortable and safe, taking advantage of the care and support offered. As part of their daily routine, they have access to a wide range of services and amenities, including engaging activities. Complex tasks are performed with the help of regular staff and it has even been observed that symptoms are less intense when seniors make the transition into memory care.
Options for memory care in Massachusetts
The need for adequate care is clear when you have been diagnosed with such a serious condition. Memory care communities offer the best long-term care solutions, with trained personnel, adequate assistance, and emotional support readily available. In the beginning, seniors might consider other options, such as continuous care and assisted living. The progression of dementia will make them realize that memory care remains the best option for them.
Assisted living facilities are looking to meet the increased demand for memory care, thus providing similar services and housing. Expert staff assists dementia seniors, helping them go through the daily routine. Seniors enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of memory care units, as well as the structured living setting. Difficult moments are handled with empathy, and there are countless safety features available, so seniors are protected against accidents. Some facilities might also offer healthcare services, even though in most cases the costs have to be covered by each resident.
The transition to memory care makes all the sense in the world, considering the progression of dementia and the associated risks. Especially in the advanced stages, it can be risky to live alone. Memory care facilities have an adapted environment, with specialized care available at all times. As a result, dementia seniors have a better chance of keeping their condition in check. Therapy is offered to help them preserve current skills and also improve their mental state. Couples who choose assisted living might remain close to one another, despite benefitting from different levels of care.
Services offered in memory care in Massachusetts
Memory care centers offer the most diverse services to their residents, going at great lengths to ensure a high level of comfort. Thus, dementia seniors find it easier to adjust to their new living environment. Thanks to the countless safety features, the risk of accidents is brought down to a minimum. Moreover, they are protected against wandering, feeling less anxious as a result. Quality services are made available through the specialized staff, but seniors are often encouraged to handle certain tasks alone. Independence remains a top priority, despite the diagnosis of dementia.
Therapy helps dementia seniors keep their condition under control, often delaying the progression of discomforting manifestations. Many memory care communities offer a wide range of therapies to their residents, with trained specialists working directly with each senior. Thus, residents can deal more effectively with potential challenges, preserving some of their skills at the same time. The difference is obvious, including when it comes to mental health. These therapies are blended into the everyday routine, making it easy for seniors to adjust.
As for the general services, the list might include: medication management, laundry and linen service, meal planning and preparation, scheduled transportation, errand running and shopping, general maintenance, 24/7 security, Internet and telephone access, etc. All residents receive assistance when it comes to ADLs, including with eating, dressing, grooming, bathing and toileting. The more advanced their condition is, the more assistance they will receive. Specialized care is also available, with options including mobility assistance, wound care, incontinence care, and diabetes care.
Memory care amenities in Massachusetts
Comfortable housing is available within memory care communities, with units designed in the style of bedrooms or apartments. These are found on the ground floor of each facility, with color-coded hallways and easy access to common areas. Safety and accessibility features are included within each unit, helping seniors thrive in their living setting. There are also emergency response systems for major health events, and the doors have no locks, so the units can be quickly accessed by the staff. Bathrooms have special features to prevent potential accidents.
A good selection of amenities makes life more pleasant for those living in memory care communities. These contribute to a better physical and mental health, and also help dementia seniors engage with one another. Among the most common amenities, you might find: weekly religious service, memory garden, computer room, library, fitness classes, yoga, gardening, social club, swimming pool, group events, birthday celebrations, off-site trips. Each facility might offer additional amenities.
- Barnstable County
- Berkshire County
- Bristol County
- Chestnut Hill
- Dukes County
- East Longmeadow
- Essex County
- Fall River
- Franklin County
- Great Barrington
- Hampden County
- Hampshire County
- Middlesex County
- New Bedford
- Norfolk County
- North Andover
- Plymouth County
- South Hadley
- Suffolk County
- West Concord
- West Newton
- West Springfield
- West Yarmouth
- Worcester County
Questions to ask prospective memory care facilities in Massachusetts
If you are not sure which memory care community would be the best, the solution is to visit several and see what they have to offer. The good news is that you will be able to ask plenty of questions, with the staff being more than pleased to provide detailed answers. More often than not, you will be able to form a general idea about what to expect.
Here are some of the questions you might consider asking:
- Are seniors who cannot direct their own care accepted?
- Does the memory care center accept applications from seniors who suffer from severe forms of dementia?
- What kind of training has the memory care staff received? Can you offer details on their experience?
- Do housing units at the memory care center have safety and accessibility features? What about emergency response systems?
- How are major health events handled? Do you have specific intervention plans?
- How is the daily routine structured at the memory care facility? Are residents involved in the decision-making progress?
- What are the available services and amenities?
- What kind of meal plans do you offer? Do you include dietary adjustments?
- Does the memory care center have a specific policy when it comes to visitation times?
- Does the memory care facility have a discharge policy?
- What are some of the most common reasons for which applications are rejected?
- Does the memory care center accept seniors who suffer from any type of dementia?
Memory care remains one of the best options for someone who suffers from dementia. While the transition into memory care is not easy, on the long-run, it can make a real difference whereas the overall quality of life is concerned.
These are some of the main advantages to take into consideration:
- Dementia seniors have the opportunity to thrive within a structured environment, where the risk of accidents and wandering is practically eliminated
- Countless safety and accessibility features contribute to a better quality of life
- Seniors experience better physical and mental health, feeling less anxious and confused
- Access to a wide range of services and amenities
- Memory care centers provide specialized care and assistance with activities of daily living
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