The Memory Center Atlanta Staff

dr amar mohan atlanta

Dr. Amar Mohan, Medical Director

Dr. Amar Mohan grew up in Georgia and is board certified in Internal Medicine, and Palliative Care with a special interest in geriatric medicine, dementia care and treatment, psychiatric medicine, transitional care, and holistic medicine.

 

 

 

 

 

Julie Taylor

Julie Taylor, Executive Director

Julie grew up in the Midwest and is a graduate of the University of Kansas. She has lived in Alpharetta/Johns Creek for 19 years and has two sons. Julie began her career managing extended stay hotels before transitioning to executive director in assisted living/memory care 5 years ago.
Julie believes in providing dignity and quality of life for seniors in a clean, safe environment and enjoys partnering with families to care for and give meaning to the lives of those they love.

Julie likes to spend time fishing, gardening and traveling. 
Contact Julie Taylor

 
Michelle Hartladge

Michelle Mitchell, Admissions and Marketing Director

Michelle earned her degree in recreational therapy from Ohio University.

She has worked in the healthcare industry for over seventeen years and enjoyed positions within home health, hospice, senior living and skilled nursing. She also owned her own placement business helping families choose the appropriate senior living community. She loves helping families find the most appropriate solutions and best level of care for their loved ones. She is passionate about elder care and strives to continuously improve and innovate senior living.

Michelle can often be found outside in her free time, whether on a beach or walking on a forested trail. She loves traveling and exploring new places as well as spending time with friends and family.

Contact Michelle Mitchell

 
Sandile Ntuli

Sandile Ntuli, Resident Services Director

Sandile was born and raised in South Africa and came to the United States to further his education.

Prior to living in Georgia, he has lived in New York and Maryland and it was in Maryland where he earned his nursing degree from the University of Maryland. Sandile’s nursing career spans over eighteen years and he has provided direct care as well as managed and led teams in nursing homes, hospitals, assisted living, and home health.

He enjoys working in memory care because he feels like he can make a positive impact and difference in the lives of his residents, family members and staff.
He and his wife have three children and two grandchildren. Besides being a parent and grandparent, he enjoys playing golf and considers himself the number one New York Giants fan.

Contact Sandile

 

Donna Yavorsky, LPN, Assistant Resident Services Director

Donna is originally from Northern California. She moved to Johns Creek, Georgia one year ago with her family after spending over 20 years moving around the country as her spouse served in the United States Coast Guard.

Donna has worked as a nurse in long term care settings and assisted living communities for fourteen years and has a passion for caring for older adults and their families. She enjoys spending time outdoors and with her family.

 

memory care atlanta ga

Stacey McNamara, Activity Director

Stacey grew up in Boston, MA and has a BA in Theater Arts. She was a dance teacher
for twenty years and a choreographer for a professional theater company. After
marrying and starting a family, Stacey had a successful business in family childcare
for 11 years. She has been in the health care industry since 2001.

Stacey attends and assists in the Twilight Brigade Hospice Training Program. This
led to volunteering in hospice and started her on the path to working in the elder
care industry. After working part time at The Memory Center, Stacey is thrilled to
return as the Activity Director. Her passion and loving nature is a perfect fit for the
residents. She says, “It is an honor and a privilege to serve the residents of The
Memory Center. I can’t help but love them. “

Stacey enjoys gardening, hiking, cooking, tennis and spending time with her family.

 

 

 

Julie and Michelle

 

the memory center atlanta
The Memory Center Atlanta Staff

 

Staff

executive director the memory center midlothian vaJennifer Koeniger, Executive Director

As Executive Director, Jennifer is responsible for the overall operations and regulatory oversight at The Memory Center Richmond. Jennifer started her career in the senior care industry in 2005, and has served as Executive Director as well as Regional Operations Director across Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland. Jennifer brings extensive operational experience to The Memory Center, and is dedicated to ensuring that our residents receive the absolute best care and services. She believes that her job is to make residents, their families, and staff feel as though they are a part of her family, and to make each day the best day possible for those in her care.

When not at work, Jennifer enjoys spending time traveling, watching college football (Go Hokies!), and being outside as much as possible.

Contact Jennifer Koeniger

Dr. Jim Wright, MD, PhD, MATS, Medical Director

Jim Wright, MD, PhD, MATS is a physician whose medical practice is focused solely on long term care, assisted living and skilled nursing facilities. He is medical director of Lexington Court Health and Rehab Center in Richmond and The Memory Center Assisted Living in Midlothian, VA. He received his MD and PhD from VCU School of Medicine in 1995 and completed a residency in Family Practice in 1998.

He holds a Masters of Arts in Theological Studies from Union Presbyterian Seminary and a Certificate in Bioethics from Loyola University, Chicago. Prior to joining Legacy Care, he was an Associate Professor of Medicine with VCU Geriatrics. He writes and speaks on the intersection of religion, ethics and medicine and is published in a number of peer reviewed journals including the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society and the Journal of Religion and Health.

 

Tamika Williams, Admissions and Marketing Director

Contact Tamika Williams

 

Shavonne Shelton – Director of Nursing

Shavonne has been in the nursing field for 22 years. She started as a Certified Nursing Assistant and later worked to achieve her Licensed Practical Nurse. Shavonne has also completed the Assisted Living Administrator in Training program. Her favorite part of working at The Memory Center is making sure our residents receive the best care. Shavonne enjoys spending time with her husband, daughter and dog Snickers. When not at work, she likes to shop and travel.

 

Samira Ljubijankic – Assistant Director of Nursing

Samira moved to the United States from Bosnia in 1997. She has been a nurse for 10 years. Samira started at The Memory Center as a charge nurse when we first opened. She has now been our Assistant Director of Nursing for 2 years. Samira enjoys working with the residents at The Memory Center because it such rewarding work to know you have helped take care of someone. In her free time she likes to learn about other cultures through reading and traveling.

 

activities at the memory centerKatrina Hicks, Activities Director

Katrina attended Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) as a social work major and The College of the Albemarle where she received a certification in Early Childhood Education.

Over the past eight years she has been working as an Activities Director in senior care with three years dedicated to Memory Care. She has been involved with the Alzheimer Association and is a Certified Dementia Practitioner. Katrina truly loves working with the senior population and building meaningful relationships. It is her goal to make each day rewarding and fun for everyone involved. She lives in Midlothian with her husband and 4 children. Her favorite place to be when not working is in the mountains enjoy skiing and spending quality time with her family.

the memory center midlothian vaPaul Marschalco, Chef

Paul’s passion for cooking started at an early age and he enjoys culinary creations of all types. His specialty is based on family recipes from Eastern Europe and Middle Eastern cuisine.

Prior to joining the Richmond team, he served as a chef for the University of Richmond culinary team which is ranked in the top twenty university dining services in the nation. Also he worked in an assisted living community where he specialized in offering meals to meet the dietary needs of its aging senior population. Paul brings his culinary skills to The Memory Center to create wholesome meals that make our cherished residents feel like they are truly at home and cared about.

He lives in Midlothian with his family and three daughters.

reggie long maintenance directorReggie Long – Maintenance Director

Reggie started his career in the Navy serving for 8 years. He then transitioned into hotel management working as a manager at the Sheraton Hotel in Richmond, VA. Reggie began work with The Memory Center part time and quickly turned full time as our Maintenance and Housekeeping Director. He enjoys interacting with the residents including leading our wood work program. In his free time, Reggie is a basketball coach for his son’s team and the Athletic Director for the Chesterfield Basketball League. He has three children ages 16, 8 and 5.

 

How To Find Affordable Memory Care & Assisted Living

The first priority in locating quality memory care or assisted living options is finding a place that you trust and that is known for its high-quality care.

The second priority is finding a place you can afford.

Factors To Evaluate When Searching For Affordable Memory Care

It’s important to perform thorough due-diligence when comparing the costs of various memory care and assisted living facilities.

Unfortunately, many facilities hide “extra costs” when advertising their per/month rates, and that can become detrimental if your loved one has moved in and you find the monthly charge is notably more than you estimated.

Moving into an assisted living facility can be hard, and it can be even more so if you have to move your loved one to yet another facility as the result of hidden fees or unexpected costs.

Similarly, the very act of terminating the contract at one facility and establishing a new one can cost you thousands of wasted dollars. This is because, in addition to losing the remaining balance on the existing contract, odds are you’ll have another deposit and other associated fees attached to the new contract.

Identifying affordable assisted living or memory care options doesn’t have to be challenging. If numbers and details aren’t your forte, enlist the help of a family member, friend or your accountant to review paperwork with you and make sure you aren’t missing anything before making your final choice.

Ultimately, you want to choose a place that has the highest-quality care, meals, amenities and activities for the most affordable price.

Comparing Advertised Cost & Hidden Costs

One of the most important things to keep in mind when searching for affordable assisted living or memory care is the discrepancy between the “advertised cost” and the “hidden costs.”

When you’re making such an important choice, you need all of the facts at hand to make a well-informed decision, and this includes a complete and detailed list of all costs – not just the basic “room and board” fees.

Common Fees Included (but not always)

Here are some of the most common fees included in a general price estimate. Keep in mind that every facility is different, so you’ll want to confirm specific costs with each prospective facility you visit.

  • Rent
  • Meals
  • Housekeeping
  • Access to general exercise and activities

Those are just the basics, and you may be surprised to find that other services you “assumed” were included (often the services the facility promotes during your tour and visits) cost extra.

Ask About Hidden Fees

Some of the hidden fees that might surprise you include:

  • Certain occupational or physical therapies prescribed by medical staff
  • Periodic “assessment fees,” similar to HOA dues, that are bumped up over time
  • Hygiene costs, including dressing, bathing, incontinence care, and laundry
  • Medication management and medication distribution
  • The initial (and possibly subsequent) health screenings
  • On-site physician and pharmacy access
  • Treatment for temporary wounds, illnesses or injuries
  • General wellness monitoring, such as blood pressure or blood sugar levels
  • Escorts to activities or dining center(s)
  • Periodic wellness check-ins
  • Transportation to various events, outings, or off-site appointments
  • Extra fees for deep-cleaning of the bathroom or other areas
  • Moving costs
  • Telephone charges
  • Fees/charges for contracted- or atypical special events, classes or activities

While charging extra for non-contracted services and extras isn’t unethical, it’s imperative that you know exactly what is included – and what is not – so you can plan accordingly.

For example, your preferred memory care center may charge extra for off-site transportation, and that’s fine. By knowing that, you can get your preferences in writing, stating that your spouse or loved one is only budgeted to go on inclusive outings OR a stated number of charged outings per month.

Are Special Amenities & Services Worth The Extra Money?

When you’re touring various facilities, take a good, analytical look at their amenities, classes, and services. You may be surprised when you factor in your total budget and find that spending slightly more per month for a memory care center with superior amenities is well-worth it.

For one thing, you and your family members will save money each week if you’re able to join your spouse, parent or grandparent at the in-house Pub or Cafe, or to catch a movie at the on-site theater.

The water exercise, aerobics, yoga or dance classes offered as part of an all-inclusive assisted living facility may be more affordable than the gym membership and other extracurricular dues and fees your loved one insisted in keeping up, even after s/he couldn’t attend anymore.

Does All-Inclusive Affordable Memory Care Mean All-Inclusive?

When you keep the above “hidden charges” potential in mind, all-inclusive memory care centers begin to look more affordable. What used to seem like a notably higher per/month charge now starts to become more reasonable.

For example, The Memory Care Center is considered an all-inclusive community. We provide a detailed and itemized list of costs to any prospective and current residents and their families as requested.

Among the basic services, our monthly fees include services such as dressing/grooming and toileting, regular laundry and linen services, items “purchased” from visits to our General Store and any outings offered by our Activities Program and more.

Even so, there are a few things that aren’t included in that “all-inclusive” price.

For example, we charge residents for certain services or items such as:

  • Long-distance telephone calls
  • Incontinence supplies
  • Salon services
  • Transportation to off-site appointments

However, we are always happy to pre-arrange a budget or restrictions based on your wishes.

So, for example, if your mother enjoys her monthly salon appointment, we’ll keep that to once per month and gently remind her of her “upcoming appointment” if she tries to book an extra appointment. Honesty and clarity around charges are essential to making the right decision for your loved one.

Finding Affordable Memory Care & Assisted Living

Ultimately, your prospective memory care and assisted living facilities’ transparency around pricing is indicative of their ethics, integrity and the sincerity of their work.

Sometimes, paying a bit more each month – and knowing that’s all you’ll have to pay – is well worth peace of mind.

Learn about pricing

What Makes The Memory Center Different?

What Makes The Memory Center Different?

Choosing the right memory care community is essential to your loved one’s well-being, as well as the well-being of your family.

You want to select a place that is as dedicated to your loved one’s mental and physical well-being, as much as to their emotional comfort and security. This is where The Memory Center excels.

We also recommend reading, How to Compare Assisted Living Communities, which outlines features, benefits and care specific to memory care.

Memory Care Dedicated to Physical, Mental and Emotional Well-Being of Residents

The Memory Center is primarily established to support the physical health of our residents, emphasizing the most current and relevant science around Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related conditions. However, we also know 100% that our residents fare best when their environment is conducive to a life well-lived.

To that end, our memory care center differs from many of the surrounding options, particularly in regards to the following six features:

1. On-site medical director visits

As you know, transitions become increasingly difficult for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia. At the same time, those with dementia often have existing medical conditions or may develop other age-related conditions during their time here.

As a result, we have an on-site medical director who is available on a daily basis to confer with our staff nurses (who are on-site 24-hours a day) to address any issues that arise.

Our medical director is a fellowship-trained geriatrician who, in addition to being available to our nurses, also schedules assessments with each of our patients on a weekly basis.

The medical director coordinates home health services for physical, occupational, speech, and psychiatric therapies as needed, ensuring our patients rarely need to leave the premises for routine appointments and specialist visits.

Whether you choose one of our Memory Care Centers or not, we highly recommend narrowing your memory care choices to those with on-site medical staff to reduce the number of off-site appointments or lab work that can agitate residents and cause unnecessary stress.

what makes the memory center different2. Normalcy in a safe, secure environment

Routine and normalcy is a key component in mitigating the side effects of dementia-related conditions, and it is also shown to slow down their progression. This is why The Memory Center establishes normal, safe, and reliable daily rhythms.  

Our center is designed to be attractive and includes the comforts of home and community, all within an extremely safe and secure environment. Our center was built with complete respect for the primary environmental objectives recommended by The Alzheimer’s Association.

We’ve gone above and beyond to include a town-center concept with safe and highly-secure outdoor areas, including courtyards and walking paths.

3. Individualized care and programming

Sure, there are multiple similarities in terms of how dementia and Alzheimer’s show up, and what that means for those who are diagnosed. That being said, we also recognize that each of our residents is a unique individual,so we provide tailored care for each and every one.

This includes things like:

  • Specialized meal plans. All of the foods and treats available via our cafeteria, meal plans and the town center’s cafes and pub are made with respect to a healthy diet. We can create meal plans specific to a resident’s existing medical restrictions and/or sensitivities.
  • Individual health care plans. As mentioned above, our dedicated on-site medical director, nurses and care providers are well-versed on each of our resident’s specific care plans and needs.
  • Social events and programming. Our diverse array of classes, entertainment, social offerings, and classes are so compelling that we often hear quips from residents’ family and friends that they are ready to move in. These events are key to honoring the individual and creating a healthy, stimulating, and social environment that engages residents on a daily basis.

4. The inclusion of residents in every aspect of the day

While we do respect a resident’s choice to spend a day to themselves once in a while, we also provide the opportunity to participate in every aspect of the day. This is done via routine check-ins, conversations, and walks with staff.

Our activities and entertainment coordinators thoughtfully create the weekly and monthly itineraries in a way that allows every resident to participate in the activities they enjoy on a regular basis.

5. Programs designed for those with dementia are not restricted in any way

Often, well-meaning assisted living facilities offer programs designed for those with dementia but then simplify them unnecessarily. This results in classes that are better suited for young children, rather than independent adults.

At The Memory Care Centers, we do prioritize programs that are both beneficial for those with dementia and to complement our residents’ innate talents and interests, but they are not simplified.

Teachers, instructors, and presenters put together engaging, stimulating, and even challenging curricula and only amend these if a resident needs it, or to accommodate an existing disability. This enables our residents to embrace their interests and enjoy their faculties to the absolute fullest.

6. Carefully thought out design to trigger reminiscing and participation

Humans are social creatures, so social bonds, daily interaction and human-to-human connections are key to a lively, active and engaged mind and body.

To this effort, every aspect of the outdoor and interior designs are dedicated to triggering reminiscences, participation, and socialization.

This includes things such as:

  • Warm colors and comfortable, homey furnishings
  • Classic interior designs that are contemporary but include historical and traditional architectural accents
  • Ample daylighting and lighting plans that encourage a healthy circadian rhythm
  • Communal areas and gathering spaces
  • Delicious food options
  • Our incredible Town Center concept
  • Plenty of beautiful outdoor spaces to enjoy Mother Nature

Innovative Memory Care Differentiators

Our intentional respect to these six memory care differentiators make The Memory Center unique amongst the area’s memory care and assisted living facility options.

Learn more

 

Atlanta Resource Guide For Alzheimer’s Care And Support

An Alzheimer’s or dementia diagnosis is life changing, and it is also a call-to-action.

The sooner you can breathe through the initial shock and adjustment period, the better able you’ll be to create a long-term care plan that involves the input, opinions, and preferences of your loved one.

Quick action also optimizes the time available to research and learn more about the Alzheimer’s journey before it progresses to mid- or later-stages.

This gives you a more spacious ability to explore local options for the following:

  • Adult day care
  • Home care
  • Memory care

It also enables you to thoughtfully develop and assemble a financial plan that supports your loved one’s long-term care goals.

Top Online Resources to Learn About Alzheimer’s and Alzheimer’s Care

There is only so much you can take in at a doctor’s appointment, especially in the wake of a confirmed Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

The odds are that in addition to visiting your general practitioner, you’ll be referred to a neurologist.

Hopefully, your healthcare team will provide plenty of information about Alzheimer’s via pamphlets, and allow ample time for your questions and answers. We recommend recording appointments (with the doctor’s permission), so you can listen back afterward.

There are a wide range of reputable, online resources for learning about Alzheimer’s disease, keeping up on the latest research regarding medications and/or lifestyle changes that slow its progression, as well as information about the type of long-term care that’s most successful for those with mid- to late-stages of Alzheimer’s and dementia.

The following are the most well-respected and current websites available.

The National Institute of Aging Alzheimer’s Page

The US Department of Health and Human Services underwrites an organization called the National Institute of Health (NIH). Under this umbrella also lives the National Institute on Aging (NIA), which hosts an Alzheimer’s Disease page.

This is a solid place to start when you want to learn everything you can about Alzheimer’s, including general descriptions of the disease, information about caregiving needs and options as well as up-to-date facts about current Alzheimer’s research.

Another exciting thing about the NIA’s page is that it provides information about upcoming and existing clinical trials in which consenting adults can participate.

Additionally, there is a wealth of educational resources about diet and lifestyle changes that help to prevent Alzheimer’s, slow down its progression and to improve the outcome for those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

The Alzheimer’s Association

The Alzheimer’s Association is a leading voluntary health association dedicated to supporting Alzheimer’s research, providing information about Alzheimer’s and memory care, and connecting others with Alzheimer’s support in the Atlanta area and online.

The Alzheimer’s Association was founded more than 30 years ago when a group of families and caregivers joined together to create an organization that would unite caregivers, provide support to those facing Alzheimer’s and advance research into the disease.

Today, the AA has connected with and provided support to millions of people affected by an Alzheimer’s diagnosis and their website continues to be a premier resource for all aspects of Alzheimer’s information.

Alzheimer’s Foundation of America

Similar to the Alzheimer’s Association, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) was founded by individuals who are personally affected by Alzheimer’s.

One of their most helpful resources is a national toll-free hotline, (866-232-8484), that is staffed entirely by licensed clinical social workers specializing in Alzheimer’s care, treatment and support.

Like other non-profits, the AFA funds research and does everything possible to provide caregiver support and educate the public about Alzheimer’s, including information about confidential memory screening services available in Atlanta and elsewhere. Memory screenings are funded by generous donors and grantors and have been used to screen more than four million people nationwide.

Alzheimer’s Support From Family & Friends

An Alzheimer’s diagnosis spreads ripples far beyond the lives of the patient, most powerfully impacting their spouse, immediate family and the next ring of family members and close friends.

Having conversations with these individuals early establishes your first rungs of support. Often, individuals are reticent to share this information and may want to keep it a secret out of fear, feelings of embarrassment and shame, etc.

While a short period of private adjustment is understandable, the sooner you feel comfortable having deep conversations with family and close friends, the better you’ll navigate a long-term care plan that makes sense for you and loved ones.

Read, Guide for Talking to a Loved One About Memory Care, which also outlines how to bring close friends and family into the conversation.

Learn About Memory Care Options

One of the first items of business is creating a memory care plan; again, this is one of the reasons early action is so critical.

While it’s true people with early stages of Alzheimer’s can do fine for a bit by implementing in-home caregiving support, it’s also true that caregiving becomes quickly overwhelming for spouse caregivers. Thus, it makes sense to learn all you can about the full spectrum of options to add to your Alzheimer’s support and care kit.

In almost all cases, those with Alzheimer’s fare best when they move to memory care communities earlier, rather than later, so individuals have time to feel at home and adjust to their new environment while they are still able to make decisions and be more fully present in their day-to-day lives.

Once mid- to late-stage Alzheimer’s sets in, significant transitions are highly stressful for both patient and spouse. And, sadly, in the attempt to “preserve the status-quo” for as long as possible, the resulting stress and strain of the move can exacerbate their symptoms.

Respite Care

In the beginning, while your loved one lives at home, you’ll need respite care. This invaluable service provides a break for primary caregivers.

While respite care can be brought in, or offered by a local senior center, we recommend using respite care options offered by the assisted living or memory care centers you’re currently researching. It’s an opportunity to familiarize yourself with their grounds, services, programs, and staff and ask important questions to learn more about the community.

Assisted Living Options

Until recently, those with later-stage Alzheimer’s moved into assisted living and/or nursing home facilities. These are still options, but we recommend only considering facilities offering dedicated memory care services since the needs and care required for those with Alzheimer’s are different from that of the general assisted living population.

Read, How to Compare Assisted Living Facilities, for more information.

Memory Care Centers

Dedicated Memory Care Centers are the best way to ensure patients live in supportive, stimulating and caring environments specifically designed and dedicated to those with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

In addition to exemplary, round-the-clock care, high-quality memory care centers have on-site doctors, nurses, dental care, pharmacies, etc., to ease the transition for residents who are ill or require routine, managed care for existing medical conditions.

Similarly, things like Town Center models, art and music facilities, classes and other amenities provide a sense of “normal life” and make it a pleasure for spouses, friends and family members to visit.

Ultimately, memory care centers adhere to the Alzheimer Association Dementia Care Practice Recommendations, focused on tenets like person-centered care, on-site medical staff and supportive and therapeutic environments. All are proven to improve the quality of life for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Alzheimer’s Care And Support in Atlanta

Challenging conditions of an aging brain should be met with a supportive well-rounded community carefully planned for the individual.

This not only includes access to all of the necessary resources for a high quality of life today but one that can adapt to who they are tomorrow.

Learn more about memory care in Atlanta

[Checklist] – Questions to Ask When Visiting Memory Care Communities

Evaluating Memory Care FacilitiesSometimes you have to turn the tables, shift your perspective and look at things from a different angle in order to find the right answer. This is certainly the case when it’s time to search for the right type of memory care for yourself – or a loved one.

Life takes on a rather drastic shift indeed when it’s time to plan for memory care, and the key is to remember that while this move may feel like a sacrifice of autonomy, freedom and “life as you know it,” choosing the right memory care community means reclaiming all of those things in a slightly different way.

Asking the Right Questions Leads to the Right Memory Care Community

Taking a gently assertive role as you interview (yes, interview!) prospective memory care communities via their director(s) and staff, you will know when you find “the one” for you.

You are the one who controls the final decision regarding where – and by whom – loved ones will be cared for as their Alzheimer’s or dementia progresses, and that requires consistent “interviewing skills” as you learn which memory care communities or centers meet the attentive criteria you require of them.

The following questions are in alignment with The Joint Commission’s Memory Care Requirements, and are organized by:

  • Staffing
  • Policies & Fees
  • Amenities

They serve as a comprehensive guideline for the types of information you should have on-hand as you move forward in the decision-making process – and you are encouraged to add your own questions to the mix.

With the director’s/staff permission, it is a good idea to record these “interview/introductory” meetings so you can be present in the moment, knowing you can play the recording back to jot down the answers later on.

Ultimately, after visiting the centers on your list, you’ll be able to compare “apples-to-apples” via their answers – eliminating some and bumping others to the top of the list – as you narrow in on your final choice.

Questions Regarding Memory Care Staffing

Do you have a Medical Director on staff?

Memory Care StaffWho’s at the helm, so to speak, when it comes to steering the physical and emotional well-being of the residents in the right direction?

Having a Medical Director on staff indicates the community is dedicated to serving both the physical, as well as the mental/emotional, health of their residents – and has the leadership in place to do so.

Are there RNs or LPNs on staff? If so, how many? Are they on-site 24/7?

Most high-quality memory care centers have RNs and/or LPNs on staff to oversee any physical and/or medical needs that may arise in the course of a day. Nursing staff report directly to the community’s lead physicians as needed.

Consistent staff assignments (the same caregivers caring for the same patients) builds meaningful connections that foster personalized care. Ideally, trained medical staff are available 24/7.

What is the staffing ratio for each shift?

Those with dementia and dementia-related conditions are not as inherently regulated by the circadian rhythm. Thus, unlike other assisted living communities, memory care centers should maintain a consistent staff:patient ratio, around the clock.

What medical services are available?

The bulk of the residents’ medical needs can be diagnosed/treated with some basic, on-site medical services, including:

  • Labs
  • X-Rays
  • PT/OT/SP Therapy
  • Home Health
  • Hospice
  • Podiatry
  • Pharmacy

Not only does this expedite care, it eliminates confusion associated with resident location changes and non-routine appointments.

What types of training does the staff have? What are staffing ratios for each shift?

All members of of the caregiving staff should maintain ongoing, annual training in alignment with current best-practices for memory care. Participation in professional education/training should be documented.

The higher the ratio of staff:resident, the better a memory care facility typically comes to promoting resident safety and well-being. Optimally, you’re looking for a 1:6 resident/staff ratio or better.

However, according to payingforseniorcare.com, “…time and time again, relevant research has shown that assisted living communities with full-time RNs and direct care with in-house nursing staff have a direct impact on resident outcomes.”

Questions Regarding Memory Care Policies & Fees

For this section, we’ll simply list the set of questions because your interest in the answers may vary depending on your situation, and the questions’ intent is relatively straight-forward:

  • Can my loved one stay here through the end of life or do they have to move if their care becomes too extensive?
  • What types of care can your community NOT provide?
  • What is the policy for a medical emergency/ER visit?
  • Does a staff member go with the resident on ER visits?
  • What is the policy for notifying family members?
  • What is the discharge policy?
  • Is the community all-inclusive or are there additional costs?
  • What are the additional costs i.e., cable TV, phone, medication fees, care level fees, activities/outings, transportation?
  • Can my loved one come back if they have to go to rehab?
  • What happens if my loved one is no longer ambulatory?

Questions Regarding Amenities and Outings

One of the defining features of great memory care communities is they are not out-of-the way places where residents go to deflate or wither on the vine. Rather, they are vibrant communities where those with dementia and related forms of cognitive decline go to receive top-notch care while being able to create a new, colorful and creative version of their life.

Outings for Memory Care Patients This requires beautiful grounds, community gardens, recreational and creative opportunities as well as safely organized outside trips into the community.

Questions worth asking include:

  • What are the daily activities like? How many days per week?
  • Do you charge for outside activities? i.e. Lunch Outings, Museums, etc.
  • Do you have Semi-Private and Private rooms? If cost is of concern, semi-private rooms can save residents thousands of dollars per year.

Ultimately, memory care communities should provide a rich spectrum of daily activities – offered in the morning, afternoon and evening. This ensures your loved one has access to fun, interesting and stimulating activities regardless of when his/her “best hours of the day” may be.

Potential activities should cross the spectrum of the residents’ potential interests, hobbies and preferred modalities, including art, poetry, music (both played and performed), dancing, games, hobby activities, supervised cooking, sports and physical activities as well as social engagements.

All of these types of activities have been proven to slow the progression of dementia and Alzheimer’s and enhance the mood of those who suffer from cognitive decline.

But don’t forget the most important question of all…

Which memory care community makes you feel the most safe, comfortable and secure?

Your gut instincts matter. While answers to these questions are important, the feelings and intuition you receive as you tour prospective communities are every bit as valuable as the black-and-white answers you review.

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Atlanta Resource Guide for Alzheimer’s Care & Support

An Alzheimer’s or dementia diagnosis is life changing, and it is also a call-to-action.

The sooner you can breathe through the initial shock and adjustment period, the better able you’ll be to create a long-term care plan that involves the input, opinions, and preferences of your loved one.

Quick action also optimizes the time available to research and learn more about the Alzheimer’s journey before it progresses to mid- or later-stages.

This gives you a more spacious ability to explore local options for the following:

  • Adult day care
  • Home care
  • Memory care

It also enables you to thoughtfully develop and assemble a financial plan that supports your loved one’s long-term care goals.

Top Online Resources to Learn About Alzheimer’s and Alzheimer’s Care

There is only so much you can take in at a doctor’s appointment, especially in the wake of a confirmed Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

The odds are that in addition to visiting your general practitioner, you’ll be referred to a neurologist.

Hopefully, your healthcare team will provide plenty of information about Alzheimer’s via pamphlets, and allow ample time for your questions and answers. We recommend recording appointments (with the doctor’s permission), so you can listen back afterward.

There are a wide range of reputable, online resources for learning about Alzheimer’s disease, keeping up on the latest research regarding medications and/or lifestyle changes that slow its progression, as well as information about the type of long-term care that’s most successful for those with mid- to late-stages of Alzheimer’s and dementia.

The following are the most well-respected and current websites available.

The National Institute of Aging Alzheimer’s Page

The US Department of Health and Human Services underwrites an organization called the National Institute of Health (NIH). Under this umbrella also lives the National Institute on Aging (NIA), which hosts an Alzheimer’s Disease page.

This is a solid place to start when you want to learn everything you can about Alzheimer’s, including general descriptions of the disease, information about caregiving needs and options as well as up-to-date facts about current Alzheimer’s research.

Another exciting thing about the NIA’s page is that it provides information about upcoming and existing clinical trials in which consenting adults can participate.

Additionally, there is a wealth of educational resources about diet and lifestyle changes that help to prevent Alzheimer’s, slow down its progression and to improve the outcome for those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

The Alzheimer’s Association

The Alzheimer’s Association is a leading voluntary health association dedicated to supporting Alzheimer’s research, providing information about Alzheimer’s and memory care, and connecting others with Alzheimer’s support in the Atlanta area and online.

The Alzheimer’s Association was founded more than 30 years ago when a group of families and caregivers joined together to create an organization that would unite caregivers, provide support to those facing Alzheimer’s and advance research into the disease.

Today, the AA has connected with and provided support to millions of people affected by an Alzheimer’s diagnosis and their website continues to be a premier resource for all aspects of Alzheimer’s information.

Alzheimer’s Foundation of America

Similar to the Alzheimer’s Association, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) was founded by individuals who are personally affected by Alzheimer’s.

One of their most helpful resources is a national toll-free hotline, (866-232-8484), that is staffed entirely by licensed clinical social workers specializing in Alzheimer’s care, treatment and support.

Like other non-profits, the AFA funds research and does everything possible to provide caregiver support and educate the public about Alzheimer’s, including information about confidential memory screening services available in Atlanta and elsewhere. Memory screenings are funded by generous donors and grantors and have been used to screen more than four million people nationwide.

Alzheimer’s Support From Family & Friends

An Alzheimer’s diagnosis spreads ripples far beyond the lives of the patient, most powerfully impacting their spouse, immediate family and the next ring of family members and close friends.

Having conversations with these individuals early establishes your first rungs of support. Often, individuals are reticent to share this information and may want to keep it a secret out of fear, feelings of embarrassment and shame, etc.

While a short period of private adjustment is understandable, the sooner you feel comfortable having deep conversations with family and close friends, the better you’ll navigate a long-term care plan that makes sense for you and loved ones.

Read, Guide for Talking to a Loved One About Memory Care, which also outlines how to bring close friends and family into the conversation.

Learn About Memory Care Options

One of the first items of business is creating a memory care plan; again, this is one of the reasons early action is so critical.

While it’s true people with early stages of Alzheimer’s can do fine for a bit by implementing in-home caregiving support, it’s also true that caregiving becomes quickly overwhelming for spouse caregivers. Thus, it makes sense to learn all you can about the full spectrum of options to add to your Alzheimer’s support and care kit.

In almost all cases, those with Alzheimer’s fare best when they move to memory care communities earlier, rather than later, so individuals have time to feel at home and adjust to their new environment while they are still able to make decisions and be more fully present in their day-to-day lives.

Once mid- to late-stage Alzheimer’s sets in, significant transitions are highly stressful for both patient and spouse. And, sadly, in the attempt to “preserve the status-quo” for as long as possible, the resulting stress and strain of the move can exacerbate their symptoms.

Respite Care

In the beginning, while your loved one lives at home, you’ll need respite care. This invaluable service provides a break for primary caregivers.

While respite care can be brought in, or offered by a local senior center, we recommend using respite care options offered by the assisted living or memory care centers you’re currently researching. It’s an opportunity to familiarize yourself with their grounds, services, programs, and staff and ask important questions to learn more about the community.

Assisted Living Options

Until recently, those with later-stage Alzheimer’s moved into assisted living and/or nursing home facilities. These are still options, but we recommend only considering facilities offering dedicated memory care services since the needs and care required for those with Alzheimer’s are different from that of the general assisted living population.

Read, How to Compare Assisted Living Facilities, for more information.

Memory Care Centers

Dedicated Memory Care Centers are the best way to ensure patients live in supportive, stimulating and caring environments specifically designed and dedicated to those with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

In addition to exemplary, round-the-clock care, high-quality memory care centers have on-site doctors, nurses, dental care, pharmacies, etc., to ease the transition for residents who are ill or require routine, managed care for existing medical conditions.

Similarly, things like Town Center models, art and music facilities, classes and other amenities provide a sense of “normal life” and make it a pleasure for spouses, friends and family members to visit.

Ultimately, memory care centers adhere to the Alzheimer Association Dementia Care Practice Recommendations, focused on tenets like person-centered care, on-site medical staff and supportive and therapeutic environments. All are proven to improve the quality of life for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Alzheimer’s Care And Support in Atlanta

Challenging conditions of an aging brain should be met with a supportive well-rounded community carefully planned for the individual.

This not only includes access to all of the necessary resources for a high quality of life today but one that can adapt to who they are tomorrow.

Learn more about memory care in Atlanta

Here is an additional list of resources is designed to answer your questions, provide tips and help your family throughout the process of finding the right Memory Care.

The Alzheimer’s Association

The Alzheimer’s Association Georgia Chapter

Caregiver Advice on Managing Symptoms and Handling Situations

Dementia and Alzheimer’s Caregiver Center, from the Alzheimer’s Association

A Place for Mom, How to Recognize Signs It May Be Time for Assisted Living

Oak Tree Family Medicine  

Emory Johns Creek Hospital 

Autrey Mill Nature Preserve and Heritage Center 

Southeastern Railway Museum

Georgia Aquarium

Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area

Suggested Reading

Creating Moments of Joy, by Joy-Jolene, A Brackey, 1999

Activity Planning at Your Fingertips by Marge Knoth

Failure Free Activities for the Alzheimer’s Patient, by Carmel Sheridan

Activity Planning for Persons with Dementia: A sourcebook available through the Alzheimer’s Association

Wandering: Common Problems with the Elderly Confused by Graham Stokes

Please check back often as we continually add to our resource list.

Have a question that isn’t answered here?  Feel free to contact us.

Can You Spot Someone With Alzheimer’s?

When you think of someone living with Alzheimer’s or dementia do you picture them looking a certain way?

Perhaps you think of an older person who is confused, repeating the same questions over and over or wearing mis-matched clothes.  While someone with Alzheimer’s may exhibit these behaviors at some point, the disease affects people in different ways, and it can strike people in their 50’s or even earlier.  Assuming everyone living in cognitive decline will look or act a certain way simply isn’t true and can perpetuate stigma and fear often surrounding Alzheimer’s.

Learning more about the disease and how it impacts the brain can give you a better understanding of what it is like to live in cognitive decline or potentially spot early warning signs.

Alzheimer’s Can Progress Slowly

alz care midlothian va
Don’t assume everyone with Alzheimer’s looks the same.

Alzheimer’s and dementia are progressive. Barring a sudden injury to the brain, such as massive stroke for example, someone doesn’t just wake up one day with multiple symptoms of the disease.  It progresses slowly and can go unrecognized for years. Research suggests by the time most people show noticeable signs of dementia, the disease has been present and causing damage to their brain for many years.

The first sign is usually memory loss which can easily be passed off as normal forgetfulness.  However, as the disease progresses many people in the early stages know something is wrong, which can be very scary.  It isn’t uncommon for someone to try and hide symptoms or explain them away as a senior moment.

So yes, it is very possible for mom, dad or Uncle Joe to live with the disease for a long time without family or friends knowing or observing behaviors often associated with Alzheimer’s.

People Suffering From Alzheimer’s Can Look Like You

Cynthia Guzman had been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s.  She didn’t deny or hide the disease but did recognize there were times she had trouble understanding or needed someone to slow down and explain something again.

In a touching article she details her experience during a trip to the ER for a respiratory health issue.  As she went over her health history with medical staff she was told by many providers – but you don’t look like you have Alzheimer’s.  In her article she notes:

The fact that even health professionals – who should know more about this disease process than the average person – were surprised by seeing someone with Alzheimer’s who is vibrant, energetic and articulate speaks volumes.

Learn More About Early Warning Signs

It is important to recognize the early signs of Alzheimer’s in yourself or your family members so you can talk to your doctor as early as possible. If diagnosed and treated early a doctor may be able to prescribe medications to help slow the disease’s effects. Download your copy of the top 10 warning signs from alz.com or read more about recognizing the signs so you can stay educated.


About The Memory Centers

memory care va beach
Town Center, Virginia Beach

The Memory Center communities in Midlothian/Richmond, Virginia Beach and Johns Creek provide dedicated care for those living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.  Our Virginia Beach location was founded as the first assisted living facility devoted specifically to memory care.  Our unique design and programs meet the challenging conditions of an aging brain with a caring, interactive community.

Utilizing the latest in science, nutrition and interactive therapies, our daily structured activities provide meaningful purpose to those with memory loss.

All Memory Center communities are built around our original Town Center and Neighborhood layout and feature focused programming and daily activities available across all levels of dementia.  We get to know each resident for who they are today – not who they used to be.get in touch

Why Is There A Deposit For Memory Care?

There is no mystery around the fact that covering costs associated with assisted living and memory care facilities requires astute financial planning. The sooner you begin planning for these costs, the better.

Read, How To Find Affordable Memory Care & Assisted Living, for more information on assessing the total costs (first-time and long-term) of your prospective location(s).

Understanding Deposits For Memory Care

One of the most immediate payments you’ll make is the deposit fee for the memory care center you’ve selected. These fees exist for a variety of reasons. First, and foremost, they indicate an expression of more serious intention and your commitment to a chosen facility.

As with any business, especially a residential facility, a fair amount of time goes into hosting tours, meeting with prospective families, preparing rooms, etc.

That also includes communicating with and maintaining relationships with individuals, couples or families who are intent on becoming future residents there or who are helping to transition loved ones into assisted living.

Your deposit not only indicates your level of commitment, but it also protects waiting lists from becoming overly burdened by names and contacts who are only vaguely interested and helps navigate the flow of a waiting list.

Early planning minimizes the amount you’ll spend on deposits

We can’t emphasize enough how important it is to begin touring prospective memory care and assisted living options as early as possible.

By doing so, you won’t feel under pressure to make a rushed or lesser-informed decision. Your proactive selection and decision-making process also prevent you from finding yourself in crisis mode, needing to find something immediately and having to pass up ideal locations for facilities that are not up to par.

In terms of paying deposits, your early touring, interviewing and selection of one desired location means you’ll only have to pay a single deposit. This is optimal compared with individuals or couples forced to make rushed and desperate decisions, and wind up investing substantial sums in multiple deposits so they can jump at the first place that opens up.

Don’t assume all deposits are refundable

There are no boilerplate protocols for how assisted living and memory care centers handle deposits. It’s imperative that you ask for all of the large and small print information pertaining to your deposit(s), particularly if you’re making multiple deposits to hold spots in various facilities.

Also, understand that “refundable” may not mean “100% refundable no matter what.” Here at the Memory Center, we require deposits from future clients securing a spot on our waiting list to optimize efficiency on our end. However, our deposits are fully refundable if you choose to get off the list, regardless of the reason why.

Varying deposit/refund policies at other facilities include:

  • Deposit is non-refundable. Period.
  • Deposits are only partially refundable
  • Deposits are only refunded if there is proven, medical or health-related reason you’re removing someone from the list
  • Deposits are (fully or partially) refunded after the person passes away or must go into a more acute healthcare facility
  • The deposit may or may not hold a specific room or floor plan for you, so ask if this is important and find out what you need to do to hold a specific room/plan.

The bottom line is you should never hand over or sign anything regarding a financial commitment or deposit until you fully understand the policies.

Deposits typically hold steady if you need to wait for the next available space

Again, this fact should be verified with the desired facility.

The large majority of the time, deposits remain intact if you are contacted for an available space but aren’t quite ready to move in. This isn’t uncommon, especially if you were told the wait was about 90-days and you get a call two weeks later.

At The Memory Center, we simply move to the next name on the list and you retain your Number 1 spot on the list until the next availability opens up. This sequence continues until the timing is finally right for you.

Ask about incentives or specials

Sometimes memory care centers offer incentives or specials that waive or reduce a deposit or certain move-in fees. Occasionally they are advertised but often they are not, so it’s worth asking just in case.

Similarly, many higher-end facilities hold a limited number of rooms available for Medicaid patients. While the waiting lists for these rooms tend to be much longer, your pre-planning could pay off, allowing you or a loved one to move into a desirable location with substantially reduced payments.

A poor fit still forfeits the deposit

Unfortunately, deciding that the new place isn’t a good fit, doesn’t have the services your loved one requires or you’ve received a call from your first choice and want to move in there almost always means forfeiting a deposit.

Understand the community’s exit options

In other words, if your loved one passes away, which (if any) fees or deposits are paid back to the estate. There are a variety of ways assisted living and memory care centers handle this delicate subject, and it’s critical that you understand their policy clearly before committing.

The best way to handle it is to have this topic at the ready with your other list of questions that you ask while touring facilities and meeting with various management and staff. While verbal assurances are lovely, always get any information pertaining to finances or policies in writing so you have something to fall back on.

Evaluating Memory Care Deposits

The world of finance seems cold and calculated when you’re diligently trying to seek the best, heartfelt and personalized care for your loved one.

However, making the time to complete your due diligence and understand all of the fine print provides peace of mind when you select the memory care center that’s best and move your loved one into their new home.

Learn More About Memory Care Pricing

How Many Assisted Living Facilities Or Memory Care Facilities Should You Tour?

Visiting assisted living facilities or memory care facilities is a must as you determine where your loved one feels comfortable and offers what s/he wants and needs. Even if the first one you visit feels like “The One,” having other facilities to weigh it against is extremely important.

Plus, we guarantee your experiences at each community will teach you something, or shed light on an unfamiliar idea you didn’t know before. This well-rounded base of information will be fruitful as your loved one begins the transition into their new community.

 Should We Visit Several Facilities?

touring memory care assisted livingIdeally, you would visit around three different communities before making a final decision.

Touring about three allows you to make some important comparisons between different facilities so you and your loved ones can compare and contrast them and should give you a good idea of what you are looking for.

Many people assume touring as many as possible is the best option, but trying to tour four, five, six or more is virtually impossible for most people, and can make the experience overwhelming. 

Even the best note taker finds it difficult to recall things from four or five visits ago especially if you are trying to visit as many as you can in one day. 

If you really want to tour a large number, we recommend you schedule them on different days and give yourself time in between tours so you aren’t rushing from one tour to the next.  Leaving a few hours, or even a day, between tours provides the time needed for you to think about the tour, what you liked or didn’t like, and even get in touch with the director to ask follow up questions.  This information will also help you as you move to tour the next facility.

However, do note that there is a difference between assisted living facilities and memory care centers. While the former may have a memory care wing or department, the latter is entirely focused on dementia and Alzheimer’s care.

If you’re deciding between the two options, you may need to visit a few in each category since you’re making two separate decisions: 1) which type of care is the best one for my loved one, assisted living or memory care, and 2) when that decision is made, which assisted living/memory care facility do we like the best.

Preparing For Memory Care Center Visits & Tours

The better prepared you are before scheduling visits and tours, the better able you’ll be to take it all in with a discerning and expert eye. You’ll know what questions to ask, which areas you want to observe or check into, which activities you’d like to watch or participate in and so on.

Otherwise, it can go by so fast and you may become so overwhelmed that it all seems like a blur.

If the following recommendations are put into play ahead of time, you’ll find your visits feel more calm, intentional, and productive.

Make a short list of must-haves, wants and basic questions

This may be a bittersweet reminder of what it was like to search for a home, and that’s because it is just like that. The facility or community you choose will become home, neighborhood, community, and more for the resident who moves in.

For that reason, a list of “must-haves” and “wants” becomes helpful as it gives you a solid foundation to start as you determine where to tour. A quick list of general questions is also helpful if you’re narrowing the field between multiple options.

Your list and questions also ensure you’re comparing apples-to-apples when you sit down to discuss your observations, feelings, and findings with your spouse, family, and friends.

Establishing this list at the outset also saves time and energy. A quick conversation and run-down of the list with facility staff ahead of time may automatically rule some prospective assisted living or memory care facilities out before you tour them, allowing others to rise to the top.

Some of these align with specific questions you’ll ask while you’re visiting various communities (more on that below). Things to consider as you make your “must-haves” and “wants” list include:

  • Current health and present diagnoses
  • Level of medical care required
  • Type of care provided or not able to be provided
  • Type of supervision required
  • Activity offerings
  • Size and scope of the grounds
  • Security measures
  • Public transportation needs
  • Religious/spiritual service offerings
  • The living arrangements (apartments, studios, rooms, cottages)
  • Preferences regarding onsite and/or offsite activities and outings
  • Size and occupancy of rooms
  • Any other specific needs/wants to pertain to your loved one

Many of these items can be determined by visiting websites and reading promotional or marketing materials that can be downloaded or mailed to your home. Detailed reviews ahead of time save you from touring or visiting a place you wouldn’t have if you’d had more information beforehand.

Download a voice recording app or bring a mini-recorder

Ask ahead and verify if the entirety of your tour (or at the very least, the Q&A session) can be recorded by you. Hopefully, the answer is, “yes,” and this gives you the opportunity to relax that busy brain so you can soak it all up. You’ll leave knowing it can all be played back at home to catch anything you missed or review their answers to your questions.

Practice recording ahead of time, and check the recording frequently during the tour to make sure it started and that it isn’t accidentally turned off before you’re finished.

Consider this your opportunity to host an interview

Ultimately, these tours and visits are your opportunity to interview prospective communities, and this is done by asking questions about their administration, staff, and medical personnel. Don’t forget that your eyes, ears, nose, and intuition are also conducting an interview all the while…

Since it’s easy to go off on tangents and asides, we recommend printing a separate copy of your list of questions for each tour you attend so you can check each question/answer off as you go.

Take notes if you like, but your voice recording will be there for you to fall back on when you return home. The goal is to make sure each question is answered in full so you feel clear about your final decision.

Always trust your instincts

Most importantly, as you visit your three to six prospective assisted living or memory care centers, trust your instincts.

Sometimes, the place that looks the best on paper or that sounds the best via radio commercials or personal referrals doesn’t feel the best to you and the future resident. Honor these feelings. It means it’s not the right fit for you, and by crossing that prospect off your list you are one step closer to finding the right memory care center to call Home.

Choosing Memory Care For Your Loved One

While all the preparation in the world can give you a great deal of insight, going with your senses and intuition during tours it critical, and just as valuable as the best, most clear-cut answers you receive to your questions.

And, always keep in mind that the most important factor in this decision is which facility makes you and your loved one feel the safest, most comfortable, and secure.

Prepare For Your Memory Care Facility Tour

 

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