When a loved one is diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, the family often feels overwhelmed. One of the first questions that come to mind is, “What can we do to help our loved one?” One of the best things you can do is find an assisted living facility that has a memory unit specifically designed for adults with these conditions. This can be a daunting task. Memory Units are usually not developed foundational by assisted living facilities. For the facility, creating a unit can be expensive.

Moreover, assisted living facilities must have specially trained staff and oversight to ensure patients receive the supervision needed to keep their health optimal and their physical selves safe. This blog post will explain how assisted living facilities can develop a memory unit without breaking the bank. We will also explain how facilities can let families know there’s a memory unit option and justify the added cost.

 

What is a memory unit?

A memory unit is a designated area in an assisted living facility specifically designed to address the needs of adults with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Memory units provide a safe and secure environment for patients with these conditions. They also offer specialized programming and activities that promote cognitive health and wellbeing. Specially trained nurses and caregivers often staff memory units. Memory units are becoming the norm, and for a good reason. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “as many as half of all people living in assisted living facilities have dementia.” For this reason, families need to ask potential assisted living facilities if they offer a memory unit.

How much does a memory unit cost?

The cost of a memory unit can vary depending on the size and location of the facility. However, a memory unit will cost around $100 more per month than a standard assisted living unit. This may seem like a lot of money, but it is essential to consider the added value that a memory unit provides. For example, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, “the annual cost of care for someone with dementia living in the community is $41,000, while the annual cost of care for someone living in a specialized memory care community is $58,000.” The extra cost of a memory unit is worth it when you consider the added value that this type of environment provides.

5 Ways to Start a Memory Care Unit

Assisted living facilities are responsible for developing memory units designed to address the specific needs of adults diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Developing a memory unit can be expensive, but there are five ways to do it without breaking the bank.

  1. First, consider hiring staff trained in caring for dementia or Alzheimer’s disease patients. So many nurses and caregivers have this type of experience.
  2. Second, reuse or repurpose existing space in the assisted living facility to create a memory unit. This can be anything from converting a closet into a patient room to using an unused common area for programming and activities.
  3. Third, partner with local organizations that offer programming and activities specifically designed for adults with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Many organizations offer these services, and partnering with them can be cost-effective to provide programming for your memory unit residents.
  4. Fourth, create a sensory garden. A sensory garden is a great way to promote cognitive health and wellbeing in adults with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. It is also a relatively inexpensive addition to your memory unit.
  5. Fifth, consider using technology to help residents with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease stay connected to their families and friends. Many technology options can be used in a memory unit, and choosing the right one depends on the needs of your residents.

Developing a memory unit can be expensive, but assisted living facilities to need to provide this type of environment for adults with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Facilities providing memory care should inform potential families that they offer a memory unit and be prepared to answer any questions a family may have.

 

For more information about developing a memory unit, follow us on Twitter at @Evershinecare.

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