Alzheimer Care Facilities

  • What are the types of Alzheimer care facilities?

    There are five different types of Alzheimer’s care facilities. In-home care is generally provided by the patient’s spouse, family, or a hired caregiver. Adult day care facilities offer Alzheimer’s patients the opportunity for social interactions in a safe and secure setting.

    Assisted living care facilities often have an Alzheimer’s wing and some are entirely dedicated to caring for those with early to moderate stages of the disease. Nursing home care provides residential care 24/7 and offers a place for those who can no longer take care of themselves.

    Memory care units are specialized facilities that are designed around the specific needs of patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s.

  • What should I look for in an Alzheimer's care facility?

    The best way to choos an assisted living residence is to visit to get a feel for each place and compare the environment and care offered. Look for safety precautions, how wandering is handled, compassionate staff, and how outbursts and other difficult behaviors are handled.

    Are there structured routines and appropriate activities for residents? Is there a safe outdoor recreation area? How much time did the staff take to gather information about your loved one? Do the current residents look relatively healthy and content?

  • What is the cost of Alzheimer's care?

    There are several variables that affect the cost of assisted living and memory care. These include geographic area, whether one has a private room or shared living space, and the amount of care service one requires. Memory care units are typically more costly than assisted living.

    On average, one can expect to pay approximately $3,500 per month for assisted living and $5,000 per month for memory care.

Alzheimer care facilities concentrate on giving care to those with Alzheimer’s and or memory loss.  These facilities provided specialized care for those in any stage of memory loss, Beginning or Mild Stage, Middle or Moderate Stage, Late or Severe Stage. The staff is specifically trained to deal with those patients suffering from memory loss and or Alzheimer’s.

Types of Alzheimer Care Facilities

In-Home Care:

In-home care is generally provided by the Alzheimer’s patient’s spouse, family member(s) or hired caregiver (home health aide).  It is generally during the Beginning or Mild, to the Middle or Moderate stages of Alzheimer’s when this type of in-home care can be provided as the personal care needs of the Alzheimer’s patient are still fairly manageable.

When providing in-home care, it is vitally important for the caregiver to seek out assistance from either a Day Care program for Alzheimer’s patients or respite care in the home.  Caregivers may also need to join Alzheimer support groups for support in this daunting task.

Adult Day Care Facilities:

The day facilities offer the Alzheimer’s patient the opportunity for social interactions in a safe and secure setting.  They provide a chance to be engaged in conversation with others who are sharing similar experiences. The facilities can also provide activities to keep the mind active.  Music and exercise programs are often provided along with meals.

Adult Day Care facilities offer the caregiver a chance to shop, run errands, go to appointments or simply rest without feeling the pangs of guilt.  These centers also provide a safe place for the Alzheimer’s patient’s caregiver may work during the day. These facilities are most often used by those with mild or moderate symptoms, who are being care for at home.

The Alzheimer’s patient may resist going to Adult Day Care Centers initially simply because Alzheimer patients do not like change to their surroundings or daily schedule.  However, after they experience the center for a bit, they will most likely look forward to being with others in this safe and social environment.

You will need to check the Adult Day Care facilities in your area for hours of operations and services offered to best meet the needs of the Alzheimer’s patient.

Two important questions to ask when looking at Adult Day Care facilities:

  • What are the fee’s, daily, weekly, monthly?
  • Is the staff fully trained in dealing with memory care issues?

Some services to look for in the Adult Day Care facility:

  • Nutritional meals and or snacks.
  • Organized activities.
  • Counseling and support groups.
  • OT, PT services.
  • Personal Hygiene Care.
  • Wheelchair, walker, visually impaired accessibility.

Assisted Living Care Facilities:

During the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s disease, those suffering from it can often be cared for in an Assisted Living facility.  Most of these facilities have an Alzheimer’s wing. Some facilities are entirely dedicated to caring for those with the early to moderate stages of the disease.

Assisted Living facilities provide a passage connecting independent living and a nursing home setting.  They will have meals, snacks, activities and housing. Assisted living facilities give just the right amount of independence and supervision.

If they do not have a program to care for those in the later stage of Alzheimer’s the patient will need to be moved to a facility that does.

Nursing Home Care:

Nursing homes provide residential care 24/7.  They offer a place for those who can no longer take care of themselves.  Many nursing homes provide a specialized unit for those suffering from Alzheimer’s or SCU’s. These units are created to deal with the specific needs of those patients with Alzheimer’s and other memory care issues. SCU’s will usually be located in a separated wing that is staffed with those skilled in dealing with patients with Alzheimer’s and memory care issues.  It will also be a locked unit ensuring that residents do not wander away.

Nursing homes have a skilled nursing staff comprise of RN’s, LPN’s, along with Aides offering a comprehensive array of medical and personal hygiene care.

They provide meals 3 times a day along with snacks and beverages at various times during the day.  These meals will be adjusted in accordance with the resident’s dietary needs. It will also be adjusted for those residents who may need pureed or thickened foods due to a stroke or other health issue.

Many residents of nursing homes need continual supervision and assistance with daily living activities such as, eating, personal hygiene, dressing and even getting from the bed to a chair or wheelchair.  Residents often need assistance attending or participating in the daily activities that will be offered in nursing homes.

Most nursing homes offer PT, OT and Speech services for the residents as per their doctor’s orders.

These units are created to deal with the specific needs of those patients with Alzheimer’s and other memory care issues.

Memory Care Units:

Memory care units are specialized facilities that are designed around the specific needs of patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s.

In these facilities, patients are able to participate in structured activities. They’re able to be social, receive physical therapy and other medical services as needed, and have meals brought to them or offered in a dining room.

Memory care units offer private or semi-private rooms. Medicaid does offer plans that will help cover memory care units.

The financial burden of caring for an elderly dementia patient can be heavy. Many people struggle with finding the best type of care for their loved one, and the additional thought of how to pay for it can be overwhelming.

Thankfully, programs like Medicaid help make it possible for families to provide their loved ones with the care that they need without going into debt. Careful research and consideration of the available facilities in a given area will ultimately provide the best determination of the care needed for a particular individual.

Cost of Memory Care

Memory care requires a larger staff to resident ratio and additional training to ensure the safety of all the residents, therefore the cost is usually higher than other communities. Costs may vary, depending on the following factors:

  • Level of care needed
  • Size of room
  • Whether a room is private or semi-private
  • Geographical location of the community

According to, in 2012, the U.S. national average cost of memory care for a single resident was almost $5,000 a month. This cost does vary widely by care facility, however. For example, some communities were as low as $1,500 per month and other communities as high as $7,000 per month. 

How to choose Assisted Living Memory Care Housing

The best way to choose an Assisted Living residence is to visit. If you have more than one SCU near you, consider visiting several different places. That way, you can get a feel for each and compare the environment and care offered. This will help you determine the best fit for your parent with Alzheimer’s or dementia. During a visit, here are some things to look for:

  • Safety devices and precautions – door and window locks, motion detectors, monitoring systems, adequate lighting and no-slip flooring
  • How wandering is handled
  • Compassionate staff
  • How outbursts and other difficult behaviors are handled
  • A structured routine for residents
  • Activities that reflect the resident’s personality and hobbies
  • Activities that are designed for people with Alzheimer’s or dementia
  • Activities that help people succeed at familiar tasks, such as making their bed, dressing themselves or cleaning up their home
  • Outdoor activities and safe outdoor recreation areas for walking, gardening, etc.
  • How much time the staff takes to gather information about your loved one in order to provide the best care for that individual, including their safety, well-being and comfort
  • Appearance of residents. Do they look relatively healthy and content?


Most Specialized Assisted Living facilities are “private pay” which means the resident or the family is responsible for all costs. Some financial questions to ask:

  • What is the monthly fee?
  • What does that monthly payment include? (number of meals/snacks per day, transportation services, special Alzheimer’s/dementia services, etc.)
  • What additional costs are there?
  • Do you accept private insurance or Medicaid?
  • What happens if the family runs out of money?
  • Do you provide hospice care services?

Where does Medicaid factor into that? For many, Medicaid offers the financial provision that makes it possible for elderly dementia patients to receive the quality of care they need. There are a variety of care options available for dementia patients depending on the level of care they currently require.

Nursing homes are designed to allow dementia patients to receive the care they need while still maintaining their quality of life for as long as possible.

Medicaid will cover nursing home care for dementia patients.

Transitioning from In-Home Care to an Assisted Living, Nursing Home or SCU

Transitioning between In-Home Care and Assisted Living and or Nursing Home Care can be a stressful and anxiety ridden experience for the patient and the family.  It is important to ask the right questions when looking for the right placement. It is best to visit as many facilities as you can before be deciding.

Here are a few of the questions most asked:

  • Is the facility safe and secure?  Is it locked down to stop the Alzheimer’s patient from wandering away?
  • Is the staff trained in dealing with those suffering from Alzheimer’s and or memory care issues?
  • Are there activities available for the resident to participate in that may help slow the progression of the disease such as music, games, arts and crafts, exercise programs?
  • What is the patient to staff ratio at the facility?  What number of staff is on for each shift? What is the number of staff on for weekends and holidays?
  • Are activities designed for Alzheimer patients? Can they be designed around individual patient needs?  Are there outside activities weather permitting?
  • What do the accommodations look like? Single or double occupancy?
  • Are personal items allowed?
  • How are patients with aggressive behaviors handle?  How are patients who cry out incoherently for long periods of time dealt with?  Are medications used to control these behaviors?
  • Often Alzheimer’s patients develop incontinence issues how is that dealt with?
  • How are prescribed medications delivered to the patients?

Cost of Alzheimer Care

For both assisted living and memory care, several variables come into play when it comes to cost. These include the geographic area in which one lives, whether one has a private room or a shared living space, and the amount of care service one requires. However, due to the specialized dementia care that is offered at memory care units, this type of care is overall more costly than assisted living. On average, one can expect to pay approximately $3,300 / month for assisted living and $5,000 / month to reside in a memory care unit.  More specific regional cost information for dementia care is available using this regional Cost of Care Calculator.

The cost of care for the Alzheimer’s patient is, of course, dependent on what state you live in, the area you live in rural verse city and the services provided.

Alzheimer costs range anywhere between $2,500 to $8,500 plus a month

Depending on one’s state of residence, assisted or senior living costs approximately $2,525 to $5,745 / month. The national average in 2016 is $3,600/ month. Alzheimer’s care in assisted living communities costs approximately $1,150 more each month.

Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) may cover care in a certified skilled nursing facility (SNF) if it’s medically necessary for you to have skilled nursing care (like changing sterile dressings). However, most nursing home care is custodial care, like help with bathing or dressing.

The cost for care varies widely depending on the type of facility. The national average cost for basic services in an assisted living facility is $45,000 per year *. In a nursing home, the average cost for a private room in a nursing home is $97,455 per year* and the average cost of a semi-private room in a nursing home is $85,775 per year.*

Most families pay for residential care costs out of their own pockets. Types of benefits that may cover nursing care include long-term care insurance (check the policy as certain requirements may need to be met before receiving benefits), Veterans benefits and Medicaid.

Medicare does not cover the cost of long-term care in a care facility. Medicare only covers short-term skilled care after a hospital stay.

The costs of assisted living and memory care are both subject to a lot of the same variables: geographic location, size of room, whether a space is shared or not, what services are needed. Beyond that, however, costs are figured a bit differently for the two types of care.

Assisted living communities generally charge a base monthly rate, which covers room and board with two to three meals per day. The average cost for a one-bedroom assisted living apartment is $3,300 per month depending on your location. Some facilities cover housekeeping, laundry and other services in their base rate, while others charge extra — so it’s important to get a cost breakdown for each facility you’re looking at.

Because memory care offers specialized care and nursing services that regular assisted living does not, the cost tends to be quite a bit higher: $5,000 per month on average, although costs vary widely. Fortunately, there are some options available to help pay for senior care and reduce the out-of-pocket price tag, such as Medicare, Medicaid and veterans’ benefits.

You can use these tools to help determine what the cost of long-term care would be in your area:

Additionally, memory care often includes structured activities or programs designed to nurture residents suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia. For instance, Sunrise Senior Living offers “Reminiscence neighborhoods” with outdoor and indoor spaces designed to be both secure and soothing, with a range of familiar activities available and trained staff on hand.

Total Number of Residents

Assisted living communities offer a number of options as far as size. There are small communities that house four to six people, medium communities that house 11 to 25 people, large communities that house 26 to 100 people, and even communities that house over 100 people. As with the size of assisted living communities, memory care units also range in size from small to large.  Although memory care with 100 residents is rather rare.  The number of residents has little impact on cost.  Some persons with dementia will feel more comfortable with a greater number of fellow residents and others with fewer.  Families should choose accordingly.