Colorado Memory Care

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Colorado Memory Care: Communities caring for Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia care

Colorado is home to a good sized senior citizen population with about 885,000 residents aged 65 or older. That is nearly 15% of the states overall population. There are excellent tax exemptions which increase Colorado’s appeal, and that is not to the mention the beautiful outdoors offering activities of all kinds for everyone. Because of the large percentage of senior citizens in the state, there is excellent health care available to residents. When most people think of senior care their initial reaction is to envision a nursing home. However, nursing homes are not your only option when it comes to caring for an aging loved one. There are a variety of senior housing and care options, including specialized care for those with cognitive impairment (memory care communities). Memory care in Colorado provides care for residents with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia in a safe and comfortable setting.

Aside from memory care in Colorado, there are a variety of senior living and care options which suit the requirements and desires of seniors.

Common terms that differentiate levels and types of senior living: 

  • Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs)- typically include independent living, assisted living, residential care and skilled nursing services all on one campus.  
     
  • Independent Living Communities – provide residents a setting without the burden of home ownership. Residents commonly live in fully equipped private apartments or cottages from a studio to large two-bedroom units.  
     
  • Care Home or Adult Family Care Home- are private residences in a home-like setting that provide care services to a smaller more limited number of residents (typically 5-12 residents, depending on each state’s regulations). 
     
  • Assisted Living- provides housing and supportive care in a community setting, but the residents do not require 24-hour nursing care. 
     
  • Memory Care- a care setting for residents with memory loss or confusion. The community typically has a “secured” entry for residents that may wander. This care can be provided in different care settings depending on the state licensing requirements. 
     
  • Skilled Nursing is state licensed to provide a safe, therapeutic environment for people who require rehabilitative care 24 hours a day.

Navigating memory care: care for Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia in Colorado

Many adults 65 years and older may require care at some point. A growing number of people living in long-term care communities live with cognitive impairment.

As mentioned, memory care in Colorado is designed specifically to care for patients with forms of dementia. And still, there are other senior housing options which supply different types of living situations and care.

Memory Care Communities are designed for residents with Alzheimer’s (the most common form of dementia) and dementia care. These specialized care communities create programs designed to meet the needs of people who require specific care, as well as specially trained staff and a secure environment to ensure the safety of residents.

Services offered in Colorado memory care

  • Services are coordinated by specially trained staff to perform a range of services designed to support residents 24-hours a day. 
  • Commonly, a memory care community will have entrances and exits that require a code to get in and out. The communities are secured for the safety of residents. 
  • Standard procedures meet the needs of health, daily living activities, and the social needs of residents. 
  • Memory care communities may have organized calendars to keep residents engaged and active. These communities and relationships promote healthy and happy lives. 

Additional services that may be included in memory care in Colorado:

  • Assistance with activities of daily living. This includes bathing, dressing and toileting. 
  • Round the clock access to trained nurses. 
  • Transportation to doctors’ appointments and additional outings.  
  • Interior and exterior maintenance duties. 
  • Meal preparation and serving. 
  • Housekeeping and laundry services. 

Activities and amenities to promote joy in the lives of residents

In a Colorado memory care communities, the focus of activities is to keep residents with cognitive impairment engaged and active as possible. Typically, activities may be like the kind offered in other residential communities. The positive difference is the modification to keep residents with cognitive impairment engaged.

  • Arts and crafts 
  • Music 
  • Dancing
  • Secure outdoor open-air courtyards. 
  • Swimming pools 
  • Lounges for residents 
  • Game rooms 
  • Dining rooms 
  • Fitness centers 

Features in memory care communities designed for the safety of residents

The safety and well-being of residents is priority number one. These specialized features may include: 

  • Security cameras, alarms or egress to manage entry and exit points in the community. 
  • Keypad (or other security measures) locks on doors to prevent residents from wandering. 
  • Safety protocols in place which may include locked doors. 
  • Additional training for staff specifically related to Alzheimer’s Disease and other related dementias.
  • Staff training to assist residents with redirection, wandering or some behaviors.
  • Activities and meal service may be modified for residents with Alzheimer’s Disease and other related dementias.

How much does memory care in Colorado cost?

Colorado memory care is usually 20-40% more expensive than assisted living, and typically costs more than other senior care. This is a result of the specific care provided to residents, the specially trained staff and the enhanced security measures in place for the safety of residents. Typically, senior care in Colorado is more expensive than the national average by about $325 per month.

  • Average cost of memory care in Colorado: $$5,900 per month
  • National average cost of a memory care community: $$5,625 per month

The costs may vary dramatically depending on your location and what the community offers. A memory care community in Pueblo averages $4,700 per month, whereas memory care communities in Boulder may be much more expensive, some costing nearly $8,000 per month. Denver sits in the middle at about $6,700 per month.

Knowledge is power. Take advantage of all the available resources as you research care for Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia.

How to pay for Memory Care in Colorado

You want to consider your payment options for assisted living, memory care, and care homes. For these services, Medicare is NOT an option for payment.

The most common payment for these services would be out of pocket Private Pay and assessing a combination of retirement funds, personal savings, and pension payments.

Medicaid can also be an option, be sure to see if you or a loved one qualifies.

Long-Term Care insurance is also a possible option in cases of chronic conditions, be sure to see if you or a loved one qualifies.

For our Veterans and spouses of veterans, be sure to assess Veteran Aid and your eligibility for these benefits.

Medicare – NO:

  • Medicare does NOT pay for Assisted Living.
  • People 65 years and older and individuals with end stage renal disease are eligible for Medicare benefits, no matter their income.
  • Coverage is meant for people in need of short-term care.

Private pay – YES:

  • Many families pay for assisted living with private funds.
  • Private pay can be a combination of retirement funds, personal savings, and pension payments.
  • Family members may contribute funds to pay for assisted living or other senior housing and care.

Medicaid – MAYBE:

  • Medicaid provides health coverage to millions of Americans. Eligible participants include: low-income adults, elderly adults and people with disabilities.
  • Medicaid is administered by state, according to federal requirements. The program is funded jointly by each state and the federal government.
  • Every state has their own individual Medicaid assistance program.
  • National guidelines are in place do decipher how states must spend Medicaid money, but with allowances toward the guidelines.
  • The state determines what levels of care will be covered by Medicaid, who is eligible, and how much the state will reimburse the care community.
  • If you are unsure whether you qualify for Medicaid, you should apply. You may be eligible depending on your household income, family size, age, disability and other factors.

Long-term Care Insurance – MAYBE:

Long term care insurance is a great way to pay for assisted living, and planning ahead is important when considering how to pay for senior housing and care. Nearly 75% of people over the age of 65 will require long-term care and services at some point. Buying into long-term care insurance when a person is in their 50s and 60s is the most common time to do so.

  • Long-term care insurance helps cover the costs of chronic medical conditions.
  • Individuals and couples with the ability to pay into long-term care insurance have the advantage of a head start in allocating funds for senior care.

Veteran Aid and Assistance – MAYBE:

This benefit is available to some military veterans and surviving spouses who live in an assisted living community and those who have in-home care.

  • There are specific guidelines, but a veteran may qualify for as much as $2,050 each month.
  • A veteran with a sick spouse may be eligible for $1,600 per month.
  • If a veteran has passed, their surviving spouse can qualify for $1,300 per month.

Questions to Ask

Finding an assisted living community can be overwhelming. Here are some tips on things to be observant of:

  • Make sure the facility is clean and well maintained. You can tell a lot about the operation by noting what is clean and maintained. Are doorknobs loose or damaged? Do you see any frayed carpet or trip hazards?
  • Visit during lunch hour to observe what the residents are eating. Ask questions about the nutrition program. Is there diversity in meals, healthy fruits and vegetables served at all meals, drink options?
  • Speak to residents and/or family members to learn their perspective.
  • Ask about staff and resident engagement. Get a feel for how staff interact with residents.
  • Ask about the life enrichment programs. Activities are crucial when it comes to quality of life and play a key role in care for older adults.
  • And finally (along with a plethora of more things to consider), get to know the leadership in the building. If you feel good around the Executive Director, Head Nurse, Lead Activities Director and even the Chef or Janitor, it is a good sign you can trust them with the care of your loved one.

Area Agency on Aging  Boulder County offers services to adults 60 and over and their adult caregivers. They also provide assistance to Medicare beneficiaries and residents of any age who live in a long-term care facility. Provides information, referral, and options counseling to anyone 18 or older with a disability as well as to older adults through the Aging and Disability Resource for Colorado program. Legal assistance is offered via one of our contractors, not directly.

Denver Regional Council of Governments Provides information and assistance for people 60 and older or 18-plus with a disability, their families, and service providers. Referrals to local resources and services.

Larimer County Office on Aging The Larimer County Office on Aging LCOA provides Information and Referral through the ADRC, Title III services including In Home Services Voucher, Chore Voucher, Respite Voucher, application assistance and options counseling. Additional services include grant management and long term care ombudsman program community education and key member of the Partnership for Age Friendly Communities in Larimer County.

Park County Department of Human Services Adult Protection Services (APS) are provided to at-risk adults age 18 and older who, due to age or disability, are unable to protect themselves and have no one to advocate on their behalf. The Adult Protection program responds to reports of Abuse (physical or sexual), Neglect (caregiver or self), and Financial Exploitation.

Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments PPACG serves as the Area Agency on Aging for Colorado Springs and provides programs and services for older adults and their caregivers. A person must be 60 years of age or older to be eligible for a service provided by the Older Americans Act (OAA).

Disability Law Colorado offers legal representation, information and referrals to people with disabilities, older people, and their families.

Eldercare Locator This is a great resource to search for specific care in specific counties and cities. This database is a nationwide resource that connects older Americans and their caregivers with trustworthy local support resources. Connect with services such as meals, home care or transportation, or a caregiver education or respite from caregiving responsibilities. The Eldercare Locator is a public service of the Administration on Aging (AoA), an agency of the U.S. Administration for Community Living.

Medicare provides a search feature to find & compare providers near you, most senior housing and care providers are included on CareAvailability.com. Find & compare plans in your area. Determine if you qualify for premium savings

Medicaid offers information on how to apply for Medicaid, eligibility criteria, links to local state offices, and additional resources

The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support, and research. Whether you are living with Alzheimer’s or caring for someone with the disease, information and resources are available.

Additional Questions for memory care communities

  • Is there a nurse?
  • What are the hours the nurse is available? Is there more than one nurse on staff? During what hours?
  • Who oversees the care plan and changes to the resident’s care plan?
  • Who gives the medication? Is the medication administered by a licensed nurse, med-aid or med-tech?
  • Who assesses the resident for change in condition, behavior or routine?

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Written by The Care Availability Team
Experts in the senior care & retirement living industries

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