When an older adult requires memory care services due to their Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, it is not uncommon for their family members to wonder about the expected duration of their stay. Memory care is often long-term, but there are various factors that can determine the duration that an older adult will need to stay in a memory care community. Continue reading to find out more.
How Long Is a Stay in Memory Care?
The average duration of a stay in memory care can extend from two to three years. However, the length of stay may vary greatly, from just several months to a decade or even more. The good news is that memory care communities provide services that benefit residents as well as their families. Memory care offers a specialized supportive living environment that keeps residents safe, happy, and healthy. Residents of a memory care community often feel a deeper sense of fulfillment and remain more active in the community as compared to at home. This is mainly because of the support that is readily accessible. If the individual is receiving home-based services prior to relocating to a memory care community, the average stay can drop significantly. In such a scenario, the stay in memory care may be less than a year. However, it is not uncommon for an individual to require long-term care that exceeds three years. Each person shows progress differently and the aim of memory care is to help improve the quality of life so the individual can create enjoyable memories regardless of the duration of their stay in a memory care community.
When Memory Care Becomes Necessary
Deciding when a person requires memory care can be difficult. When an older adult is diagnosed with a memory-related condition such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, a healthcare practitioner is not likely to provide a specific timeline of how long it will take for the condition to advance. Symptoms may start off mild, with the individual having trouble staying organized or losing keys, but the disease will progress at some point. It will eventually become a challenge to take care of a person with memory-related conditions so they can live independently. Most often than not, there are safety concerns linked to the person’s confusion and forgetfulness that can cause it to become risky for the person to continue living on their own. Below are several signs that indicate memory care may become necessary:
- Caregivers are stressed and exhausted
- Loved ones are worried over the safety of the individual
- The person is not able to manage their personal care including dressing, bathing, or toileting
- The person is showing physical signs of decline including poor appetite, weight loss, or unexplained bruises and cuts
- Medical practitioners recommend the individual be given specialized memory care support
- The person is no longer taking medications or taking them but in inappropriate dosages at the wrong timing as a result of forgetfulness
- The person feels lonely or isolated
- The person exhibits signs of personal hygiene neglect
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