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Two of the fastest-growing types of residential senior care are assisted living and memory care. Assisted living and memory care are similar types of senior care but with key differences. 

What is Assisted Living?

Assisted Living is defined as, "housing for the elderly or disabled that provides nursing, meals, and/or housekeeping as needed." For those who are able to care for themselves independent living facilities are an option that can provide help with activities of daily living (ADLs) like laundry, bathing, and help with errands.

Assisted living residences provide help with activities of daily living including basic health services, recreational and social activities. Cost is usually made up of monthly rent with additional fees based on the level of attention the resident requires. In 2017, the national average amount paid is $3,750 / month and different state averages range from $2,600 to $5,750. Patients requiring Alzheimer’s or dementia care in memory care homes costs an additional $1,200 / month on average.

Both assisted living and memory care are residences that offer 24-hr personal care assistance as well as meals, social activities and other amenities. However, memory care is intended only for persons with dementia, usually related to Alzheimer’s Disease but also dementia from Parkinson’s, Huntington's and most other forms of dementia.

There are several differences between assisted living and memory care. Typically, the staff-to-resident ratio in memory care is lower. Security in memory care is increased; external access is restricted to prevent wandering. Different types of recreational activities are organized with fewer offsite outings. Consequently, memory care is more expensive than assisted living by approximately 25%. 

Some memory care facilities have programs that are designed to help reduce the symptoms of cognitive disorders and slow the progress of Alzheimer's and dementia. Symptoms such as sundowning, when an Alzheimer's patient grows increasingly agitated and aggressive at night, as well as wandering and general aggression can also be relieved or reduced in the right facility with staff trained to handle and defuse these symptoms.

What Does Assisted Living Cost?

Assisted living costs in Texas vary with the residence, apartment size, and types of services needed. The basic rate may cover all services or there may be additional charges for special services. Most assisted living residences charge on a month-to-month lease arrangement, but a few require long-term arrangements. Assisted living is of often less expensive than home health or nursing home care in the same geographic area.

The average cost of assisted living in Texas as of 2017 is $3,565 / month, which is slightly under the national average of $3,650 / month. Medicare Does NOT Pay for Assisted Living - See Payment Options.


Licensing of Texas Assisted Living

Texas assisted living facilities are licensed by the Texas Health and Human Services
based on residents' physical and mental ability to evacuate the facility in an emergency and whether nighttime attendance is necessary. According to the National Survey of Residential Care Facilities, there are over 31,000 assisted living communities nationwide serving almost one million seniors. A relatively new concept twenty-five years ago, today assisted living is the most preferred and fastest growing long-term care option for seniors.

Assisted living, also called residential care, is a type of living arrangement in which personal care services such as meals, housekeeping, transportation, and assistance with activities of daily living are available as needed. But unlike nursing homes, residents in assisted living remain independent, living on their own in a residential setting. Assistance with activities of daily living (ADL's) may include help with bathing, dressing, toileting, diapering, medicating, helping with daily living decisions and moving from one place to another.

There Are Two Types of Licensing

  • Type A Facility - Provides care for residents who do not require routine attendance during sleeping hours and are capable of following directions in an emergency.
  • Type B Facility - For residents who require staff assistance to evacuate and who are not capable of following directions in an emergency and require nighttime attendance.

Assisted Living Apartments: Sizes and Services

Assisted living residents usually live in their own semi-private or private apartments, which include a furnished or unfurnished bedroom, kitchen area, and bathroom. Various types of apartments are available such as private studio apartments, one-bedroom private apartments, one-bedroom shared apartments, and dormitory-style bedroom arrangements. Services can include:

  • Assistance with daily living activities ADL's (bathing, dressing, eating, toileting, etc.)
  • Central dining programs that include three meals a day
  • Educational activities
  • Emergency call systems in private and common areas
  • Exercise activities
  • Health services and medication administration
  • Housekeeping and maintenance
  • Organized recreational activities
  • Personal and/or nonpersonal laundry services
  • Social services and religious activities
  • Transportation arrangements
  • Wellness programs
  • 24-hour security

The majority of assisted living facilities also contract with home health agencies to provide skilled nursing care and with hospice providers for hospice services. While 86.2% of assisted living residents today pay for long-term care from their personal financial resources, 41 states offer "home and community-based waivers" that allow low-income residents to live in assisted living. More seniors are purchasing long-term care insurance to help plan for and finance their long-term care needs.

What is Memory Care?

Although assisted living communities may have memory care on the premises, the two types of care are not synonymous. Memory care is a distinct form of long-term skilled nursing that specifically caters to patients with Alzheimer's disease, dementia and other types of memory problems.

A memory care communities offers an individualized approach to dementia care that caters to the specific needs of each resident – sometimes within its own facility but often as part of a larger community setting – and one that provides a safe, structured environment staffed by those specifically trained in memory impairment.

Memory care communities offer residents help with bathing, grooming, and other daily tasks, as well as secured areas that allow safe movement without the risk of wandering off, and activity areas that are purposefully calming and uncluttered.

What Does Memory Care Cost?

Because these facilities provide such a broad range of services, they can be quite expensive compared to general assisted living facilities although your costs can vary depending on where you live and the services offered. According to Genworth.com the average cost for memory care in Texas is as follows:

Average Monthly: $4,520
Monthly Minimum: $1,950
Monthly Maximum: $6,300

Medicare Does NOT Pay for Memory Care - See Payment Options


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