Tennessee Memory Care

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

The low cost of living in Tennessee helps make it a desirable location for seniors and retirees. The mild climate and beautiful scenery also appeal to aging adults. The state ranks high for senior care and housing, and the healthcare system is premier in the United States. The state’s growing aging adult community will likely require care at some point. When most people think of senior care and housing they typically envision a nursing home. However, nursing homes are not the only option for caring for our aging population. More people in the United States each year, including Tennessee, live with cognitive impairment. Memory care in Tennessee provide care for residents with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Tennessee memory care communities care for residents in a a safe and secure, home like setting.

There are other types of care that are not specific to dementia care.

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 Communities in Tennessee

as you research memory care communities in Tennessee you may come across other common terms: 

  • Assisted living facility 
  • Nursing Home
  • Continuing care 
  • Convalescent home 
  • Retirement community 
  • Old folks’ home

Laws and regulations in Tennessee

Tennessee memory care communities are all licensed under the same umbrella as assisted living facilities, by the Tennessee Department of Health Board for Licensing Healthcare Facilities. All communities and facilities are required by law to have a secure unit for such care.

Services offered in memory care in Tennessee

Tennessee memory care communities must offer medical services: medication administration, therapies, as well as intermittent nursing care, and in addition:

  • 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. 

Specific features designed for the safety of residents with dementia

These 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.

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 joy in the lives of residents

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

What is the cost of memory care in Tennessee?

Statistics show that memory care is usually 20-30% more expensive than assisted living, and typically costs more than other senior care. This is a result of the specially trained staff and the enhanced security measures in place for the safety of residents. Memory care in Tennessee is $5,150 per month on average. This less than the national, however, Tennessee memory care costs more than neighboring states in the region.

  • National average cost of memory care per month: $5,650
  • Tennessee: $5,150
  • North Carolina: $5,000
  • Georgia: $4,150
  • Kentucky: $4,300

The cost of memory care will vary within the state of Tennessee. Some cities and counties are more expensive than others.

  • Tennessee state average cost for memory care per month: $5,150
  • Chattanooga: $5,300
  • Nashville: $5,150
  • Memphis: $5,250
  • Knoxville: $4,800

How to pay for memory care in Tennessee

Paying for Senior Living and Care will vary depending on a few factors. For instance, the level of care needed; the income and savings of the resident; the state and location of the community; or if the resident is a veteran. In the United States there are over 400 programs that may offer some monetary relief for senior care, but often the majority of costs are covered by private funds and family assistance. These funds come from our Federal, State, and Local Governments. 

It is important to take your time when exploring payment and coverage options.

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.

Additional Questions regarding 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?

Questions to ask when Looking for Senior Living

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

  • Does the facility have the right atmosphere for your needs?
  • 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 (there is 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.

Eldercare Locator is a nationwide service 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. 

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

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