Georgia Memory Care: Search Near You, How to Pay, Licensing, Local Resources, and Questions to Ask
Georgia is home to some of the nation’s most beautiful countryside, mountains and sandy beaches. The cities are first-rate and modern, full of fine dining establishments. The state experiences all four seasons, a desired year-round climate for retirees and families. As residents of the state age they may require care at some point. When most people think of senior care and housing they envision a nursing home. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Nursing homes are one of many care options for seniors. There are nearly 150,000 residents of Georgia living with Alzheimer’s or some form of dementia. Memory care in Georgia is dedicated to care for residents in need all over the state. Georgia memory care communities provide care for residents with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia in a safe and comfortable environment.
Aside from memory care in Georgia, 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 Georgia
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 memory care in Georgia
- 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 offered in memory care communities may include:
- 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.
In a memory care community, 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.
Some communities may offer activities and amenities to promote cognitive health and joy in the lives of residents
- Arts and crafts
- Secure outdoor open-air courtyards
- Swimming pools
- Lounges for residents
- Game rooms
- Dining rooms
- Fitness centers
Specific features designed for the safety of residents in memory care communities
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 Georgia cost?
The average cost of memory care in Georgia is below the national average. Georgia costs $4,500 per month on average. The national average cost of a memory care community is $5,650 per month. Georgia is one of the least expensive states to receive memory care in all of the south. The only less expensive southern state is Alabama $4,400 per month.
The national average cost of memory care per month: $5,650
Let’s compare the average cost of memory care in Georgia to cities within the state.
- Georgia (state average): $4,500
- Athens: $5,250
- Atlanta: $4,800
- Savannah: $4,400
- Brunswick: $6,640
Typically, the cost of a memory care community is 20-30% more expensive than assisted living. The costs may vary dramatically depending on your location within Georgia and what specific services and amenities the community offers.
How to pay for Georgia memory care
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.
Resources and Links – Georgia
Georgia DHS Division of Aging Services – The Georgia Department of Human Services’ (DHS) Division of Aging Services (DAS) supports the larger goals of DHS by assisting older individuals, at-risk adults, persons with disabilities, their families, and caregivers to achieve safe, healthy, independent, and self-reliant lives.
Georgia Adult Protective Services – APS provides protection from exploitation abuse or neglect for individuals, 18 years and older with a disability and 65 and older regardless of a disability, living in the community who, because of physical or mental limitations, are unable to act in their best interest.
Georgia SHIP – Help Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries sort through the complexities of Medicare and related-health insurance concerns.
Georgia Senior Legal Aid – Statewide legal services program for seniors sixty and over. Attorneys provide advice, brief services and referrals.
Capitol Ombudsman Program – A principal function of the Ombudsman Program is to investigate and work to resolve complaints made by or on behalf of long-term care residents.
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.
Questions to Ask
Finding an assisted living community, can be overwhelming. Here are some tips on things to be observant of:
Additional Questions for memory care
- 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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