If we have a loved one with a cognitive condition, at certain points of their condition, they may need to move to memory care. When that time comes, we tend to ask to wonder about the expected duration of stay. In some cases, the patient only requires memory care during a temporary respite stay. But for most people, it means a long-term move to the community. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly the average length of stay in memory care, but there are several factors that will affect the duration of your loved one’s stay.
Typical Length of Memory Care Stay
It is hard to determine the average duration of stay in memory care as it differs according to the individual. Some residents stay for only a few weeks or months, while some stay for several years. However, senior care experts will tell you that residents usually stay in memory care for an average of two to three years. If a patient has received some form of at-home care prior to their move into memory care, this duration can reduce greatly.
Factors That Affect Memory Care Stay
As mentioned, the duration of stay varies according to the individual’s condition. It usually depends on the following factors.
The resident’s physical and mental health condition will affect the length of time they spend in memory care. Those who are physically and mentally fit may be able to spend more time in their own homes. Those who have other health problems like high blood pressure or cardiac disease would require more care and thus need to remain in memory care longer.
- Type of Memory Impairment
There are several types of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) among others. The progression rate of each type of dementia differs. For instance, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) generally progresses very rapidly, leaving patients less than a year between the point of diagnosis and death, which means they spend lesser time in memory care. Persons with Alzheimer’s spend much more time in memory time, and average stay durations are five or even ten years.
- Home Support
Families whose loved ones move to memory care usually do so because of the lack of appropriate care at home. Most families have relatives act as dedicated caregivers, but most of the time, they start to experience burnout with the progression of the disease. The care equipment they have at home sometimes may not be sufficient for the patient’s needs too. Thus, the duration of stay and when to move to memory care also depends largely on the patient’s family.
Why Memory Care Can Be a Better Choice Than Assisted Living
It is important to remember that dementia is a progressive disease whose symptoms get worse with time. At memory care, the team members receive training to handle cognitive conditions, but the team members of assisted living may not be so well-equipped to deal with dementia symptoms and behaviors. The layout of memory care communities is also different, specially designed to aid with wayfinding.