The Memory Center Atlanta Staff

dr amar mohan atlanta

Dr. Amar Mohan, Medical Director

Dr. Amar Mohan grew up in Georgia and is a 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 Hartlage, 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 Hartlage

 
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.

 
Karen Crossen

Karen Crossen, Activity Director

Karen was born in Cape Cod Massachusetts and slowly moved down the east coast to Georgia. She and her husband settled in the Johns Creek area 17 years ago and have three daughters.

Karen is a graduate of Virginia Tech with a MAEd specializing in Curriculum and Instruction. After teaching and tutoring for many years, Karen found her passion working with seniors and hopes to bring as many moments of joy to them as they bring to her every day. She loves to play tennis, read, travel and spend as much time with her family as possible!

Karen And Dog Happy

Karen Crossen and her dog Happy

Karen Crossen, Activities Director and her dog “Happy.” Happy enjoys visiting the residents at The Memory Center Atlanta and providing hours of unconditional love inspiring the feelings of purpose, happiness and joy with each visit. Animal therapy is often used to help lessen anxiety, depression, loneliness and other common mood/behavioral disorders found in assisted living and long term care settings. The Memory Center Atlanta is thrilled to have Karen and Happy on our team bringing laughter and smiles to our residents.

 

Julie and Karen

 

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.

 

Katherine Evers, Admissions and Marketing Director

Katherine began her career in the healthcare industry as a Certified Nursing Assistant. She worked in an assisted living community, specifically in the memory care unit, for 4 years in Radford, VA. During that time, she attended Radford University and graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Interdisciplinary studies, Nursing and Psychology. After college, she moved back to her home town of Richmond, VA to work as a Business Office Manager in an assisted living community. Katherine transitioned into a Marketing Director position and has been successfully in that role for over two years. Memory Care has always been her passion and she is grateful to be working in Richmond’s premier Memory Care Community!

Contact Katherine Evers

 

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.

 

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.

Tour One of Our Memory Centers Today

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

The Memory Center Virginia Beach Pricing

Exterior view of the Alzheimer's and dementia care facility in Virginia Beach, VA

At The Memory Center Virginia Beach, our responsibility is to provide care for our residents not to calculate the time it takes to assist them with their activities of daily living (ADL’s).

We understand that an individual’s needs can change daily, but that doesn’t mean your bill should too. To us an individuals well-being always comes first. Our all inclusive pricing provides peace of mind to families related to the expenses and allows them to focus on other things. Below you will find exactly what is and is not included in the pricing model for our Virginia Beach facility.

We charge a set monthly fee which includes:

  • Private or semi-private suite based on families request
  • Bathrooms in each suite with showers
  • Three nutritious meals daily
  • Daily snacks and ice cream socials
  • Memory boxes available to help stimulate meaningful memories of their life
  • Utilities to include: Cable, Telephone & Wi-Fi
  • Housekeeping and laundry services
  • Maintenance of building and gardens
  • Scheduled Outings with the Activities Department
  • Items acquired while visiting the General Store

Personal Assistance

  • Professional staff to assist with daily activities (ADL’s) (bathing, dressing, eating, and toileting)
  • Medication management by our certified medication technician
  • Health monitoring by a Registered Nurse
  • Medical oversight by a physician trained in geriatric care
  • Full schedule of activities including our Memories in Motion program
  • Physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy with a physician prescription as needed
  • Hospice/End of Life Care provided by local Hospice agencies when needed
Items which incur an additional charge are:
  • Incontinence supplies
  • Long distance telephone services
  • Salon services
  • Transportation to individual appointments

The fees at The Memory Center Virginia Beach are re-evaluated yearly. They increase based on growing costs for staff, fuel, food and other related items. You will receive notice at least 30 days in advance before any increases.

Tax Deductions

Below are two common clauses for tax deductions of Assisted Living and Alzheimer’s care expenses:

  • According to (HIPAA), “long-term care services” may be tax deductible. Long Term care services as defined as “personal care services” provided to Assisted Living Residents. These can include bathing, dressing, continence care, and eating. They could also include services like transferring, meal prep, and household cleaning.
  • For some Assisted Living residents, the entire monthly rental fee might be deductible.  For others, only the specific personal care services would qualify for a deduction.

Staff at The Memory Center Virginia Beach cannot offer specific tax advice. Power of Attorney’s should consult a tax advisor for more information. Personal circumstance an differ that is why it is important to direct any questions to your personal tax advisor.

Learn More

If you are interested in learning more about our Virginia Beach facility and our pricing, we encourage you to contact us. We’ll be happy to answer all of your questions.

Contact Us

If you don’t have time to make it out for a tour or you live out of town we recommend taking a virtual tour.

Take a Virtual Tour of the Memory Center Button

The Memory Center Richmond Pricing

Interior view of the Alzheimer's and dementia care facility in Richmond, VA

At The Memory Center Richmond, our responsibility is to provide care for our residents not to calculate the time it takes to assist them with their activities of daily living (ADL’s).

We understand that an individual’s needs can change daily, but that doesn’t mean your bill should too. To us, an individuals well-being always comes first. Our all inclusive pricing provides peace of mind to families related to the expenses and allows them to focus on other things. Below you will find exactly what is and is not included in the pricing model for our Richmond facility.

We charge a set monthly fee which includes:

  • Private or semi-private suite based on families request
  • Bathrooms in each suite with showers
  • Three nutritious meals daily
  • Daily snacks and ice cream socials
  • Memory boxes available to help stimulate meaningful memories of their life
  • Utilities to include: Cable, Telephone & Wi-Fi
  • Housekeeping and laundry services
  • Maintenance of building and gardens
  • Scheduled Outings with the Activities Department
  • Items acquired while visiting the General Store

Personal Assistance

  • Professional staff to assist with daily activities (ADL’s) (bathing, dressing, eating, and toileting)
  • Medication management by our certified medication technician
  • Health monitoring by a Registered Nurse
  • Medical oversight by a physician trained in geriatric care
  • Full schedule of activities including our Memories in Motion program
  • Physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy with a physician prescription as needed
  • Hospice/End of Life Care provided by local Hospice agencies when needed

Items which incur an additional charge are:

  • Incontinence supplies
  • Long distance telephone services
  • Salon services
  • Transportation to individual appointments

The fees at The Memory Center Richmond are re-evaluated yearly. They increase based on growing costs for staff, fuel, food and other related items. You will receive notice at least 30 days in advance before any increases.

Tax Deductions

Below are two common clauses for tax deductions of Assisted Living and Alzheimer’s care expenses:

  • According to (HIPAA), “long-term care services” may be tax deductible. Long Term care services as defined as “personal care services” provided to Assisted Living Residents. These can include bathing, dressing, continence care, and eating. They could also include services like transferring, meal prep, and household cleaning.
  • For some Assisted Living residents, the entire monthly rental fee might be deductible.  For others, only the specific personal care services would qualify for a deduction.

Staff at The Memory Center Richmond cannot offer specific tax advice. Resident Power of Attorney’s should consult a tax advisor for more information. Personal circumstance can differ, that is why it is important to direct any questions to your personal tax advisor.

Learn More

If you are interested in learning more about our Richmond facility and our pricing, we encourage you to contact us. We’ll be happy to answer all of your questions.

Contact Us

If you don’t have time to make it out for a tour or you live out of town we recommend taking a virtual tour.

Take a Virtual Tour of the Memory Center Button

Alzheimer’s In-Home Care vs. Memory Care Facilities

“There’s no place like home…” is certainly true. This can feel especially poignant for those with Alzheimer’s, who are reluctant to leave a beloved spouse, pets, and the familiar comforts of home.

It’s also true that as Alzheimer’s and dementia-related conditions progress, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep a loved one well cared for, even with full-time home care in place.

Differences in Alzheimer’s In-Home Care and Memory Care Facility

There is no single answer to this question because every situation is different. However, we can shed some light on the differences between the two.

Patients with mid- to late-stage Alzheimer’s typically do best in a memory care facility. This is the case unless the family has taken great strides to provide a long-term care plan, to include 24/7 coverage of the following:

  • Regular in-home care
  • Skilled home health care
  • Specific nutrition guidelines
  • Ideal memory care-themed activities

Because most families are unable to accommodate that level of care, many Alzheimer’s patients end up in-home care settings that unknowingly hinder, rather than promote, their well-being.

Eventually, they’re transitioned into a memory care facility in crisis, creating a more traumatic experience for everyone involved.

Care Models for Alzheimer’s In-Home Care and Memory Care Facilities

Consider the different levels of care offered in Alzheimer’s in-home care and memory care facilities.

You can be best informed on these differences if you have a clear understanding of the following:

  • Fact-based understandings of Alzheimer’s disease and how it progresses.
  • A realistic awareness of the quantity and quality of care required, which exponentially increases over time.
  • An assessment of current health conditions (if any) and those likely to develop with age, personal/family medical history, and/or in response to dementia-related side effects.
  • The big financial picture
  • Awareness that home-based care plans require some form of respite care from caregivers who are trained in memory care.
  • Transitions significantly diminish the well-being of those with mid- to later stages of Alzheimer’s, including big moves and even the ins-and-outs of getting to/from various medical appointments, etc.

In almost all cases, the ideal memory care model is one that provides the required level of support and care in the home, if desired, during the early stages of the disease.

Transitions from Alzheimer’s in-home care to memory care facility should take place while your loved one has some level of authority regarding decisions and timelines.

Considerations When Researching Alzheimer’s In-Home Care and Memory Care Facilities  

Just this year, the Alzheimer’s Association posted an incredible document titled, Alzheimer’s Association Dementia Care Practice Recommendations, published as a supplemental issue of The Gerontologist.

This includes some of the most up-to-date research findings, which support the following comparisons and recommendations about Alzheimer’s in-home care and memory care facilities, and at what point a transition is best.

When considering your options of Alzheimer’s in-home care and memory care facilities, it’s important to have a solid understanding of several factors, including:

  • Importance of pre-planning care decisions
  • Challenges posed by different care options
  • Activity and social-based needs of your loved one
  • Medical support needs of your loved one
  • Difficulty in waiting to transition from home care to memory facility

at home alzheimer's care atlantaEarly decisions about long-term memory care are ideal

After the shock of the Alzheimer’s diagnosis wears off, it’s no time to pretend “business as usual.” It’s time to rally the troops, ensuring everyone understands what this diagnosis means in a relevant timeline specific to the age/medical condition of your loved one.  

The earlier the diagnosis the better because an early diagnosis allows the individual to have more autonomy and empowerment in expressing ideas, opinions, and desires.

A family meeting about Alzheimer’s care should address:

  • The collective feelings, fears, anger, grief, etc. about the situation.
  • Appreciation for the reality that we’re better informed and better equipped than ever to provide healthy, active and as-independent-as-possible lifestyles for those with Alzheimer’s or dementia.
  • The importance of being proactive about researching all long-term care options.
  • Dementia is a progressive disease, almost without exception; some changes happen unpredictably and seemingly overnight, so preparation is everything.
  • Prospective timelines for the transition from Alzheimer’s in-home care to memory care facility.
  • Researching respite care options, knowing respite caregivers need to be well-versed in memory care in the more challenging stages, times of day, etc.

Feeling nervous about the conversation? Read, our Guide for Talking For Talking to a Loved One About Memory Care.

Understand the Challenges Around the Perks of Home Care

While home care does have it’s perks, particularly around the initial diagnosis phase, there are serious challenges when it comes to providing exceptional memory care for your loved one as well as providing the medical care s/he requires now and in the future.

All this must be done while simultaneously creating a “new reality” around the following:

  • Social interactions
  • Relationship adjustments
  • Providing well-rounded activity opportunities
  • Taking time for thoughtful outings that are not too taxing
  • Nighttime/full-time care requirements

It is critical to consider the challenges inherent in a long-term Alzheimer’s in-home care plan.

Consider the social and activity-based needs

If your loved one lives alone, there is almost no circumstance where home care trumps memory care.

The research is very clear that personalized, social engagements are not only good for those with Alzheimer’s, they actually slow down the disease’s progression.

The social sphere of someone with dementia shrinks considerably as the disease progresses; if that person lives alone, interactions with a handful of rotating caregivers, is simply not enough.

Even an individual who lives with a spouse or family members nearby cannot derive the same level of social interactions – let alone art classes, music exposure, gardening, etc. that takes place via direction or facilitation of a memory care expert.

Available on-site medical support

Any medical change, emergency, illness, medication reaction etc. requires transport from home to the doctor, hospital, urgent care, etc., and these disruptions to the norm are very disturbing to the Alzheimer’s patient.

The more memory and medical care are provided via long-term continuums, the better the overall outcome is for Alzheimer’s patients.

High-quality memory care facilities have nurses on-site, available around the clock, and the large majority of residents’ medical conditions and pharmacy needs are managed onsite. This enables a more relaxing, consistent routine for residents, all provided by familiar faces.

Inevitable transitions become increasingly difficult over time

If you decide to care for a loved one at home until you can no longer manage, you’re in a precarious position.

Waiting until later-stage Alzheimer’s has set in puts you and your loved one at risk for the following scenarios:

  • The inevitable transition from your home into memory care may be extremely difficult for the one with Alzheimer’s and much more traumatic for you.
  • You may put yourself and key family members at risk for burnout, continually avoiding the transition until your/their health and well-being are compromised.
  • Your loved one’s Alzheimer’s may, ironically, become “worse” or more progressed by not having skilled memory care in place earlier on.

Read, When to Move to a Memory Care Facility, and learn about the signs indicating when moving to a memory care facility is the right move.

Research Memory Care Facilities Now

It’s never too early to explore memory care facility options. In fact, touring them early is not only helpful for narrowing down prospects, it’s a tremendous resource during your overall adjustment phase.

Through these tours and interviews with memory care experts you and loved ones have access to expert information, education, recommendations, etc., to help you acclimate to your new situation.

Instead of thinking of memory care facility tours as a, “we always said we’d never…” scenario, think of them as an empowering way to learn all you can about memory care and your options without any obligation.

This checklist, Questions to Ask When Visiting Memory Care Communities, provides a helpful framework for your conversations with memory care administrators and staff.

Contact The Memory Center to learn more about your options.

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