"Daughter" Beth, that is exactly what I was talking about. As I understand it, Memory Care is supported living that is a step beyond Assisted Living.
Assisted Living works for those who need help with preparing meals, keeping medications straight, housekeeping, maybe help with dressing and bathing (though often this level of care involves an additional charge).
Memory Care is for those who need more supervision than this due to declining cognitive status. Often these units are secure (i.e. locked) as some of the residents will wander off.
Due to their level of dementia, those in Memory Care may not be able to find their way to the dining room or back to their room. They are often incontinent and need to have briefs changed regularly. As their dementia progresses, they may have trouble swallowing and may need to have thickener in their liquids and their food cut into small pieces or even put through a blender.
A nurse manager with thirty years experience in this area told me, in the past, these people would have been placed in a nursing home. However, that is no longer the case. Residents have to have a documented need for nursing care to be admitted these days. Being elderly and continually confused does not meet the requirements. I.V.s, IM injections, wound care... procedures that have to be supervised by an RN are required. She said that many who have had strokes don't even qualify. As long as only custodial care is required and medications, such as pills and insulin injections, can be administered by a med tech, then nursing home placement would not be an option.
As I understand it, county nursing homes have closed down all over the country and the competition for the remaining coveted spots is fierce.
My Mom lived in a retirement community that provided living quarters, meals, housekeeping, and socialization at a reasonable price. When she needed medication management and help with dressing etc., we looked into what was available and realized that she would run out of money within a few years, so she moved in with my sister and now with me. Had we not done this, she would be out of money now and out of luck as she does not require Skilled Nursing (i.e. nursing home placement) and aside from not knowing which end is up, is healthy enough to live for many years.
We have been able to preserve her savings for when she needs more care than we are able or willing to provide, but I can't help but wonder what happens to those who don't have relatives who will do this? Where do they go?
Is there something I'm missing?