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How Long Do Most People Live in Memory Care?

a senior talks to another about the memory care length of stay

It can be hard to be a caregiver for a loved one with dementia. However, it can be almost equally difficult to say goodbye to a loved one entering a memory care facility. Learning more about the typical memory care length of stay can help family members have some perspective about this choice, as it is usually in the best interest of their loved one.

Senior memory care is often the best option for senior adults with dementia. Dementia involves many changes for senior adults and their family members, both physical and mental. Our staff members at Buckner Retirement Services can help seniors adapt to those changes and increase their quality of life dramatically. We believe that all of our residents deserve the chance to be independent and active, which is why we tailor each resident’s program to maximize their ability to engage with and be stimulated by the vibrant communities in our facilities. Call us today at 214.227.7182 to learn more about what memory care entails.

What Is the Typical Memory Care Length of Stay?

The typical length of stay in a memory care facility depends on various factors. Generally speaking, the average length of stay in memory care is between two to three years, though some senior adults who are able to stay in good health may be there for up to 10 years. The length of a resident’s stay in memory care can depend on the progression of their dementia and their ability to take care of themselves.

A person’s individual needs will ultimately dictate how long they remain in a memory care facility. For instance, someone with early-stage dementia may be able to live independently or with some family support for several years before needing full-time care. Others may need more intensive care from the beginning and have shorter stays in memory care.

For many people, the length of stay in a memory care facility is indefinite. Memory care facilities are designed to provide long-term support, so many residents may remain in a facility for years or even decades until they require end-of-life hospice services. Such is the nature of dementia, as there is no cure for it, only management.

Factors That Affect Average Length of Stay in Memory Care

Overall Health

Overall health and well-being can determine the length of stay in a memory care facility. If a senior is relatively healthy and able to manage their daily activities independently with minimal assistance, then it is likely that they will be able to stay in their own home for longer before needing memory care. Healthier individuals can maximize their stay in memory care as the treatments and therapies may stave off dementia symptoms. However, if a senior adult’s cognitive ability or physical health deteriorates significantly due to age or other medical conditions, then their stay may become shorter as their need for more specialized care increases.

Type of Dementia

Each type of dementia differs in terms of onset and rate of progression. Some forms, such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, generally progress very rapidly. In some cases, there is less than a year between the point of diagnosis and death. For types of dementia that progress more slowly, residents have a longer memory care length of stay. Some of the more common types of dementia include:

  • Alzheimer’s
  • Lewy body dementia
  • Frontotemporal dementia
  • Vascular dementia

Rarer forms such as Huntington’s disease or Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease are generally more difficult to treat, but memory care can still provide critical support for residents who struggle with these types of dementia.

Family Support

Many senior adults move into memory care because they lack the appropriate resources and care at home. Most families of senior adults with dementia will also act as dedicated caregivers, but burnout is a major concern. Family caregivers may also not have the necessary expertise to properly care for their loved one, necessitating a transfer to memory care.

Start Senior Memory Care with Buckner Retirement Services

If your parent or loved one has received a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or any other form of dementia, Buckner Retirement Services is here to support your family. Whether it’s for respite care or for long-term care, you can rest assured that your senior adult is in good hands with our experienced, compassionate team members. Call 214.227.7182 or contact us online to learn more about how we help seniors fully enjoy their retirement years.