Memory Care: How to Find the Right Option for Your Loved One

Memory care certified communities are specially designed to provide a safe and supportive environment to help those who are living with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or other memory impairments. It can be difficult to find the right memory care option for your loved one. To make the process a little bit easier, we’ll discuss what memory care is, what to look for when choosing a facility, and how you can get the best possible care for your loved one.

These communities offer a wide range of services and amenities to help residents maintain their independence and quality of life.

Memory Care Certified Communities Typically Offer:

  • 24/7 supervision and security
  • Structured activities and programs designed to stimulate the mind and promote social interaction
  • Nutritious meals and snacks prepared by a registered dietitian
  • Assistance with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, and grooming
  • A safe and secure environment that is specifically designed for individuals with dementia

Level of Care

The first step is to consider the level of care your loved one will need. There are many different types of memory care facilities, so it is important to find one that can cater to the specific needs of your loved one. They should provide an initial assessment to address the unique needs and living preferences, and comprehensive care that closely monitors the health of the residents.

There are three general levels of memory care:

  • Basic level: This type of care is typically provided in assisted living facilities. It includes assistance with activities of daily living, such as bathing and dressing, as well as medication management.
  • Intermediate level: This level of care is often provided in skilled nursing facilities. It includes 24-hour supervision and assistance with activities of daily living, as well as nursing care and rehabilitation services.
  • Advanced level: This level of care is typically provided in specialized Alzheimer’s and dementia facilities. It includes 24-hour supervision and assistance with activities of daily living, as well as nursing care, rehabilitation services, and specialized programming.

The level of care that is right for you or your loved one will depend on the severity of the dementia symptoms. If the symptoms are mild, a basic level of care may be sufficient. However, if the symptoms are more severe, an intermediate or advanced level of care may be necessary. It’s important to keep in mind that the progression of dementia is unpredictable. So, even if your loved one is currently at a basic level of care, they may eventually need to move to a more advanced level of care.

Quality of Care

The staff at a memory care facility should be qualified and experienced in caring for people with memory impairments. This requires a very different professional skill set than standard elder care, so it’s crucial to choose the right facility. They should be able to provide a high level of care and support.

Some specific questions to ask or qualities to look for are:

  • Do they have an individualized care plan that’s specifically focused on memory care?
  • What kind of dementia specific training do employees receive?
  • How do they manage a person who is upset or aggressive? (They shouldn’t rely on antipsychotic medications.)
  • Do they have enough staff?
  • Is there extra structure and support that ensures residents are getting to meals, coming to activities, and moving on to the next thing?
  • Are there set routines to lower stress?

Cost of Memory Care

Supervision comes at a price. Memory care facilities can be expensive, so it is important to compare costs before making a decision. It is also important to consider the location of the facility and whether it is convenient for family and friends to visit. There are several ways to pay for memory care, and the best option for you will depend on your unique circumstances.

  • One common way to pay for memory care is through government programs like Medicaid or Medicare. If you qualify for either of these programs, you may be able to get some financial assistance to help cover the costs of memory care.
  • Long-term care insurance can help cover some of the costs, but it is important to make sure that your policy covers this type of care.
  • Another option is private pay. This means that you will use your own personal funds, or the funds of a loved one, to cover the costs of care. It can be expensive, but it may be the best option if you do not qualify for government assistance.
  • Charities or non-profit organizations may be able to help with the costs of care.
  • There are also many financial assistance programs available through different state and federal government agencies.

If you are struggling to pay for memory care, there are resources available to help. Talk to your doctor or a financial advisor to help you choose the best option for you.


The layout and physical environment, and programs and activities need to be specialized for seniors to meet different skill levels. There should be an environment that allows them to flourish, even with advanced expressions of the disease.

Is the facility clean and is there a pleasant atmosphere?
Are the hallways circular and rooms clearly labeled?
Do the residents seem happy?

Look for a facility that has the required security if your loved one is prone to wander. Some have alarmed doors and elevators that require a code, or enclosed outdoor areas that give the freedom to explore but allow staff to monitor for safety and location.

Staying socially active is important for people with memory problems. You’ll want to look for a memory care facility that empowers seniors with memory loss to stay as active and engaged as long as possible. There should be activities designed to help improve cognitive function, and physical activity, which can help to improve the symptoms of dementia.

At Morningside, our Cardinal Village Memory Care facility provides top-tier care that is specifically designed for our residents.

The atmosphere is upscale and beautiful, while still providing comfort with our spacious private and semi-private rooms. We provide a multi-sensory experience and focus on helping residents to experience connection in a supportive environment. Families can live with more confidence knowing their loved ones are receiving personalized care from experienced professionals who understand their specific needs and adapt their approach and interactions to provide comfort in a calming environment. We invite families and caregivers to visit our community and experience the atmosphere of Cardinal Village first-hand. Book a tour today.

Resource Guide

I am a:(Required)