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Memory Care

About 30% of those diagnosed with Parkinson's may experience mild cognitive impairment. This can increase to as much as 50% for some in more advanced stages. This may entail the need for memory care. Specialized care for adults with forms of cognitive impairment or dementia is often referred to as memory care. In this case, it is generally the care partner of family members that will determine the best options for placement and memory care services.

Today, memory care programs are quite effective in maintaining the quality of life for those who have memory loss. Consult with your physician if you answer yes to any of the following questions about yourself or your loved one:

  • Is around-the-clock supervision required for safety?

  • Is it difficult to manage behaviors, such as Sundowner's Syndrome, wandering, or aggression?

  • Is it a struggle for you or your loved one to remain engaged in meaningful activities?

Finally, are your care needs taking a toll on your family or your career? Are you or others involved in care developing ailments attributable to stress and emotional/physical overload? If you answer yes to any of these questions, it may be time to consult professionals and get to know more about memory care programs near you.

Some skilled nursing facilities will have a dedicated "memory care" section with security features that help residents with dementia from leaving without assistance. Memory care staff are often required to complete state-regulated dementia training. Many memory care wings also offer social and recreational programs designed for people in various stages of dementia.

Skilled nursing facilities serve residents with dementia in both the general and memory care wings, but the goal is to look for the setting that will best support your loved one. If feasible, visit various types of facilities nearby. While touring a non-memory care specific part of the building, try to gauge whether your loved one will receive the necessary support. For safety of interpersonal reasons, you may be supported more adequately in a memory care setting.

You should also note that due to demand, many memory care facilities have wait lists. If you envision memory care needs in your future, selecting sooner rather than later can be a good idea. Generally, a person can better acclimate to a memory care facility in earlier stages of disease progression. However, memory care facilities can also come with a very big price tag, so be sure you can budget your needs for what could potentially be many years. Memory care facilities can range from $5,000 - $15,000 a month, so it is important to shop wisely.

Memory Care Questions to Ask When Comparing Communities

In addition to the questions found under the page for Assisted Living, consider these questions when choosing a memory care facility for you or your loved one's future needs.

  • What dementia training does the staff receive? How are they coached to communicate effectively and support the behavioral symptoms of dementia? How is staff required to keep their training current?

  • How are the social and recreational programs adapted for people in various stages of dementia? What recreational programs can staff recommend for my loved one?

  • How is the building or layout of the memory care community tailored to be supportive to people with dementia? How is exiting the building without staff or family assistance prevented?

  • How does staff learn about residents' likes, dislikes and interests? How is this information utilized to inform the care plan?

Disclaimer:  The Parkinson Association of Alabama (PAA) works to equip you with education and awareness to discern your own path. The PAA does not specifically endorse living at home or choosing to not live at home for advanced care needs. 


The Davis Phinney Foundation. Chapter 15 - Long-term Care and Financial Planning. Every Victory Counts.  Page 249. "Manual." Sixth Edition, 2021.

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