As our population continues to live to older ages, the rates of Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias will continue to grow. Currently, 1 in 10 Americans aged 65 and older have been diagnosed with AD or dementia. One of the greatest challenges of this disease is finding effective, long-term care solutions that allow people with Alzheimer’s Disease to live safely and comfortably. For many families, the safest environment for their loved one is a specialized memory care facility.
Many assisted living facilities offer memory care in addition to standard senior care services. In Arkansas, memory care residents live in a specialized unit known as an Alzheimer’s Special Care Unit (ASCU). Memory care units must be built to certain specifications and must offer specialized services for individuals with Alzheimer’s Disease or related dementia.
Here are some frequently asked questions about Alzheimer’s Special Care Units and the benefits they offer to residents and families.
What Services Must Arkansas Memory Care Units (ASCUs) Offer?
Memory care units in Arkansas must uphold a set of general standards and services for all residents.
Each potential resident of an ASCU must undergo a pre-admission medical and psychosocial assessment by a medical professional. This assessment will allow the facility to gauge the resident’s medical and personal care needs.
The facility must also provide the resident and their responsible party with a disclosure statement prior to admission. This statement must transparently outline the facility’s methods and standards of specialized care for ASCU residents, as well as residents’ rights, training and certification requirements for direct care staff, and other facility criteria.
ASCUs must provide continuous, 24-hour supervised care and service to residents. Services must include meal services, personal care services, assistance with ADLs and supportive services like housekeeping, laundry and transportation.
Additionally, ASCUs must provide each resident with an environment that maximizes awareness, orientation, safety, privacy and a sense of control. The facility must also provide support for functional abilities and offer stimulation through therapeutic programs and a positive social environment.
Each resident must receive an Individual Support Plan that includes the patient’s social and family history. The ISP must include information on the resident’s expected outcomes, barriers to those outcomes, methods of assessment to determine progress, and results from provided services. It should also include the resident’s personal preferences and choices.
What Physical Design Elements Must Memory Care Units in Arkansas Have?
Arkansas ASCUs must have particular design features to maximize resident safety, security and orientation.
These design features include:
- ASCUs must be in a distinct, separate wing from non-memory care wings of a long-term care facility
- Memory care units must be designed so that visitors and staff do not pass through the ASCU to reach other parts of a long-term care facility
- ASCUs must provide a common room or rooms where residents can socialize, dine, take part in individual or group activities or visit with loved ones.
- ASCUs must offer a secured outdoor area with walkways that meet ADA standards and codes. These outdoor spaces must allow residents to move freely but must also minimize the risk of wandering or injury to residents. Fencing in these areas is required to be at least 72 inches high.
- ASCUs cannot grow or display plants that are toxic for humans to touch or consume
- ASCUs must create a visual contrast between walls, floors and doorways for residential use. Fire exits and access ways should minimize contrast to prevent residents from entering
- Lighting must be even and must minimize glares and shadows
- Ceilings, walls and floors should be non-reflective
- ASCUs must have a monitoring station for nurses or direct care staff that allows them to alert others to emergency needs of residents
- Memory care units must be designed so that residents can move freely from their rooms to common areas; residents cannot be locked in or out of their personal spaces
ASCUs must also uphold a number of environmental features, including particular seating in common areas, specialized plates and eating utensils, and design features that help residents identify their own apartments.
Finally, ASCUs in Arkansas must have an established set of policies and methods for preventing wandering and for identifying and locating residents who have wandered.
How Much Does Memory Care in Arkansas Cost?
In general, memory care is 25% more expensive than traditional assisted living. In Arkansas, the average monthly cost for a resident in an ASCU is $4,000 per month.
It’s important to note that these costs vary by city and region. Additionally, many residents qualify for Medicaid programs like the Living Choices Assisted Living Waiver, which can significantly lower monthly costs.
Do you have a loved one who has received a medical diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia? It’s important to find a long-term care solution that meets your loved one’s needs and gives you peace of mind.
Memory care units are designed to maximize safety and quality of life for people suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia.
Learn more about Brookfield Senior Living’s memory care unit in Hot Springs by contacting us today.