Senior Guidance

Memory Care Facilities in Maine

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Maine is often passed by in the discussion for best memory care in the United States and maybe that’s exactly how its residents want it. Located in the farthest northeast part of the country, Maine dementia care homes are far cheaper than the rest of the extremely pricey New England states, and also not very crowded. With just over one million residents, Maine ranks within the Top 10 for least populated states in America and has a very quiet, slower style of pace living.

Memory Care in Maine - Cheapest & Most Expensive Places

New England has a reputation for having some of the highest housing costs in the nation, regardless of the purpose. Senior care is no different, if not even a little costlier, as many seniors seek to live near the scenic north Atlantic where healthcare is also extraordinarily reputable. Maine is much cheaper than the nearby states of Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New York and Connecticut based on monthly average costs.

The Top 5 Most Affordable Cities for Memory Care in Maine based on Monthly Average Rent:

  1. Bangor, ME - $4,735         
  2. Orono, ME - $4,765
  3. Auburn, ME - $4,935         
  4. Westbrook, ME - $5,110
  5. Wells, ME - $5,420

The Top 5 Most Expensive Cities for Dementia Care in Maine:

  1. York, ME - $5,825
  2. Scarborough, ME - $5,790
  3. Yarmouth, ME - $5,760
  4. Kennebunk, ME - $5,675
  5. Topsham, ME - $5,430

The Cost of Memory Care in Maine Counties for Alzheimer’s Care based on Monthly Average Median (Highest to Lowest):

  1. York County - $5,635
  2. Cumberland County - $5,530
  3. Sagadahoc County - $5,410
  4. Androscoggin County - $4,930
  5. Penobscot County - $4,750

Maine Dementia & Alzheimer’s Care - Services

While the services offered at dementia care homes in Maine are outstanding, the biggest drawback is the lack in variety. In a state that is not very populated, and with no major cities, the selection of Alzheimer’s care homes is more limited than other parts of New England. But if you can find a room, expect to have a family member treated with a well-rounded approach. The treatment for Alzheimer’s and dementia often includes:

  • Engagement for positive cognitive support in one-on-one and group environments.
  • Meaningful activities designed to stimulate brain functions and improve quality of life for a loved one.
  • Personal and group exercise designed to strengthen the individual’s sense of balance and walking.

While the more old-school method of treating dementia was to heavily medicate and, in an effect, sedate the individual struggling with cognitive disabilities, more modern approaches are taking a much more active and engaging form of treatment. Many memory care centers stand by the mentality of reducing the dependency on pharmaceutical medication to properly treat Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

Due to a high staff ratio in relation to number of residents they serve, memory care communities in Maine are notoriously getting smaller so these hands-on methods can be applied. When researching various memory care homes in Maine it is a good idea to ask questions like what is the staff to resident ratio, can they outline the exact philosophy and treatment methods for Alzheimer’s, and are there any surprises or hidden fees or all services are included with the monthly rent.

Maine Memory Care Regulations

In Maine, memory care is provided in a separate unit within a larger assisted living facility. Because there are different types of assisted living facilities with their own standards, this overview will mention regulations for specific types of facilities when there is a difference.

Licensing

Every facility that offers memory care must be licensed. However, there are different types of licenses available to different types of facilities. These facilities can be licensed as:

  • Assisted Living Programs
  • Residential Care Facilities (Level 1-4)
  • Private Non-Medical Institutions (Levels 1-4)

No matter the facility type, all licenses are issued by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. The licensing process involves unannounced inspections of the facility to ensure compliance. Every year before license renewal, the facility must be inspected again.

General Regulations

All memory care facilities must create and make available a packet of information about the facility. Disclosures must be publicly accessible. This packet must include:

  • Facility type
  • License status
  • Staff qualifications and training
  • Admission, discharge, and transfer processes
  • Contacts for the Maine Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program and toll-free numbers for the Adult Protective Services, facility licensing authority, Office of Advocacy of the Department of Behavioral Developmental Services (if applicable)
  • Written statement on the philosophy of care
  • Resident assessment process
  • Details on physical environment in relation to use by those with memory impairments
  • Type and frequency of activities at the facility
  • Role of family and friends in care of residents
  • Facility security features

In all facilities offering memory care, residents must be given a resident agreement that will be signed by both the resident (or their representative) and the facility. This agreement will include information about:

  • Basic services offered at the facility
  • Costs of basic services
  • Additional services that can be arranged, and their costs
  • Accommodation to be provided
  • Payment policies
  • Complaint processes
  • Resident rights and responsibilities
  • Admission and discharge policies

Different facility types can offer varying levels of service to their residents. They all must offer some level of personal care, housekeeping, and other basic living services. Residential care facilities and private non-medical institutions tend to offer a higher level of service than assisted living programs, giving residents more options for nursing care and community programs. Facilities with level 1-3 licensing must offer transport coordination for medical appointments, with nursing care from professional nursing staff as needed.

Level 4 facilities offer the highest level of care, with more services focusing on the induvial needs of residents. Community programs and managed activities give residents a wide range of options for practicing life skills and encouraging physical and mental health. Memory care facilities are required to provide activities that focus on gross motor skills, self-care, social interaction, and more.

Any services a resident is receiving or participating in at the facility will be detailed in their individual service plan. After admission into any facility, a resident will be assessed to determine the level of service needed to meet their needs. The service plan will detail how the facility will meet the needs of the resident, as well as dictating the responsibilities of resident, the facility, and the resident’s representative in their care. Plans should be updated regularly or when a resident’s condition changes significantly.

Facility Regulations

Assisted living programs must provide separate apartments for residents. Each apartment should have a bedroom, full bathroom, and kitchen with equipment and space to prepare and store food. All units can be adjusted to be made accessible to those with disabilities, at the resident’s expense.

Residential care facilities and private non-medical institutions can provide either private apartments or private bedrooms with shared common spaces. No more than 2 residents are allowed to stay in each unit, with married couples having the right to cohabitate. Level 1-3 facilities licensed after 2004 should provide at least 1 bathroom with a toilet and sink for every 6 users (including both residents and staff).

Level 4 facilities must follow all the standards for other levels, as well as providing at least 1 bathing facility for every 10 users and 1 bathroom with a toilet and sink on every floor with bedrooms, if licensed after 2002. If licensed after 1998, at least 1 bathing facility should be provided on every floor with bedrooms.

Memory care facilities have additional requirements, including:

  • Environmental design to ensure safety of people with memory impairments
  • Large enough common spaces for residents, including dining rooms, group activity rooms, visiting rooms, and other common areas for resident use

Memory care facilities licensed after 1998 must also offer:

  • Secure outdoor spaces for walking
  • High contrast doorways, walls, and floors
  • Non-reflective surfaces around the environment
  • Lighting with minimal glare
  • Emergency-safe doors with locking mechanisms

All resident rooms should be individually recognizable in some way. Residents must be able to personalize their living space in an effort to improve memory function and daily living

Staffing Regulations

For assisted living programs, there are no staffing ratio minimums and facilities are only required to employ a licensed administrator.

Residential care facilities and private non-medical institutions share a higher level of requirements for staffing. Facilities with level 1-3 licensing do not need to follow specific staffing ratios, but they must always ensure enough staff are on duty to care for the needs of residents.

Level 4 facilities with 10 or fewer beds must always keep a minimum of 1 qualified person awake and on site.

Level 4 facilities with more than 10 beds should have at least 2 qualified staff members awake and on site at all times. These facilities should also follow specific staffing ratios, which are as follows:

  • 7am – 3pm: At least 1 direct care staff per 12 residents
  • 3pm – 11pm: At least 1 direct care staff per 18 residents
  • 11pm – 7am: At least 1 direct care staff per 30 residents

Licensees for assisted living programs must attend department-mandated classes to obtain their licensing and renew it annually. For residential care facilities and private non-medical institutions with levels 1-3 licensing, staff members must attend training determined by the state.

Level 4 facilities who regularly provide direct care to residents must complete Personal Support Specialist certification. Other staff must receive on the job training upon hiring as well as annual training courses. Administrators for these facilities should have a minimum of 12 hours of continuing education annually.

Any staff who will work in the memory care unit must undergo specific training for care of individuals with dementia, Alzheimer’s, or other memory impairments. This includes a minimum of 16 hours of training.

Maine Medicaid Memory Care Programs

Medicaid in Maine, called MaineCare, offers some waiver programs that can be applied toward memory care services. They do not cover room and board, but will pay for services such as personal care, clinical consultations, housekeeping, laundry, qualified nursing services, social worker service, and more.

In order to be eligible for any waiver programs under Medicaid in Maine, applicants must be eligible for Medicaid, even if they are not currently recipients.

Elderly and Adults with Disabilities Medicaid Waiver

The Elderly and Adults with Disabilities waiver program is part of the Home and Community Based waivers offered in the state. Those who need nursing home level of care and are seeking memory care may qualify for this waiver program.

Consumer Directed Attendant Services

The Consumer Directed Attendant Services program provides support for those who are Medicaid eligible with memory impairments and other disabilities. It mainly focuses on payment for caregiver services and in-home support.

Eligibility for Medicaid in Maine

To qualify for MaineCare, applicants must be residents of Maine, legal US residents, and must be at least 65 years of age. Some waiver programs offered to adults with disabilities may allow applicants younger than 65 to apply if the require nursing home levels of care.

Applicants must also meet income standards that vary from year to year. These are the income requirements for Medicaid waiver program applicants:

  • Individuals cannot earn more than $2,742 per month with countable assets not exceeding $10,000
  • Married couples both receiving Medicaid coverage may not earn more than $2,742 per month each with a combined total of $15,000 in countable assets
  • Married applicants who are applying without their spouse cannot earn more than $2,742 per month with countable assets not exceeding $10,000. However, their non-applicant spouse can have assets of up to $148,620

Admissions Requirements for Memory Care in Maine

Memory care facilities are allowed to admit residents with a wide variety of needs. However, they cannot admit individuals who need a higher level of care than they’re able to provide. Facilities are restricted from admitting or retaining any residents who require continuous, skilled nursing or medical care that the facility staff cannot provide, or the resident cannot arrange.

Individuals cannot be admitted who pose a risk to themselves or others around them, or who have behaviors that result in significant property damage.

For entry into a memory care unit specifically, residents must have a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, dementia, or another memory impairment disorder. Legal representatives for the resident must provide proof of authority to admit the resident into the unit.

Food and Dining in Maine Memory Care Facilities

Nutritious food is part of living a healthy life. This is why memory care facilities in Maine are required to provide nourishing meals that are dietician approved. These facilities must provide at least 3 nutritious meals per day, with snacks available in between meals as needed.

If any residents in a memory care unit have special dietary requirements, facilities must work with those dietary needs to provide meals the resident can safely eat. This is especially important when residents have allergies or food sensitivities that they may forget about or overlook. Staff members must ensure these residents are provided with safe meals on a daily basis if the resident is not preparing their own meals.

Residents in memory care may eat in their own private dining rooms, but they are often encouraged to eat in common dining areas within the community space. This promotes a healthy and lively atmosphere around meal times, turning food and dining into a social activity, not just a necessity.

Common Questions About Memory Care in Maine

1. What is memory care?

Memory care is a specialized form of assisted living designed for individuals with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. It provides tailored care, support, and security for residents with memory-related challenges. In Maine, cities like Portland and Bangor offer memory care facilities with trained staff and programs.

2. How do I know if my loved one needs memory care?

Signs include difficulty with daily tasks, confusion, wandering, and memory loss. If your loved one's safety and quality of life are at risk due to their cognitive decline, memory care might be a suitable option. In towns like Lewiston and Augusta, there are resources to help you assess your loved one's needs.

3. What services are typically offered in Maine memory care facilities?

Memory care facilities in Maine offer personalized care plans, assistance with daily activities, medication management, memory-enhancing activities, and 24/7 supervision. They also provide secure environments to prevent wandering and ensure residents' safety. Cities such as Portland and Bangor have memory care facilities with diverse service offerings.

4. How do I choose the right memory care facility in Maine?

When choosing a memory care facility in Maine, consider factors such as staff expertise in dementia care, safety features, activities tailored to residents' needs, and the facility's reputation. Reading reviews, visiting facilities, and seeking recommendations from medical professionals in cities like Portland and Augusta can help you make an informed decision.

5. What is the cost of memory care in Maine?

The cost of memory care in Maine varies depending on factors such as location, level of care needed, and facility amenities. On average, memory care costs more than traditional assisted living. In cities like Portland and Lewiston, you can expect to find a range of options with different pricing structures to fit your budget and preferences.

6. Are there financial assistance options for memory care in Maine?

Yes, there are financial assistance options for memory care in Maine. Medicaid, veterans' benefits, long-term care insurance, and state-specific programs can help cover some of the costs. Researching available resources in cities like Bangor and Augusta and consulting financial advisors can help you explore the financial support options that may be available to you.

7. What is the difference between assisted living and memory care?

Assisted living provides support with daily activities and basic healthcare needs for seniors, while memory care is specifically designed for individuals with dementia-related conditions. Memory care facilities offer specialized care, security measures, and tailored activities to meet the unique needs of residents with memory loss. In towns like Lewiston and Portland, both types of facilities may be available with distinct features.

8. Can residents personalize their living spaces in Maine memory care facilities?

Yes, many Maine memory care facilities allow residents to personalize their living spaces within certain guidelines. Personal belongings, familiar furniture, and decorations can help residents feel more at home and reduce anxiety. Facilities in cities like Bangor and Augusta often work with residents and families to create comfortable and personalized living environments.

9. What types of activities are offered in memory care facilities?

Memory care facilities in Maine offer a range of activities that promote cognitive engagement, social interaction, and emotional well-being. These may include reminiscence therapy, art and music therapy, exercise programs, gardening, and sensory activities. Facilities in cities such as Portland and Bangor often create activity calendars that cater to residents' interests and abilities.

10. How do memory care facilities handle medical needs in Maine?

Memory care facilities in Maine have trained staff who can assist with medication management, regular health check-ups, and coordination of medical services. Many facilities work closely with healthcare providers and offer transportation to medical appointments. In towns like Lewiston and Augusta, memory care facilities prioritize residents' health and well-being by addressing their medical needs effectively.

11. Are there specialized memory care programs for specific forms of dementia?

Yes, some memory care facilities in Maine offer specialized programs tailored to specific forms of dementia, such as Alzheimer's disease or vascular dementia. These programs may involve targeted therapies, interventions, and activities designed to address the unique challenges of each condition. Facilities in cities like Portland and Bangor may have expertise in providing care for various forms of dementia.

12. Can residents in memory care facilities maintain social connections?

Yes, memory care facilities in Maine prioritize social connections among residents. They offer group activities, social events, and communal dining to encourage interactions and foster a sense of community. Additionally, some facilities provide family visitation spaces to maintain relationships with loved ones. In cities like Augusta and Lewiston, memory care facilities aim to create a supportive and connected environment.

13. How do Maine memory care facilities ensure residents' safety and security?

Maine memory care facilities prioritize residents' safety through trained staff, secure entrances, surveillance systems, and wander prevention measures. They often have emergency response systems and protocols in place. Regular checks on residents and controlled access to common areas contribute to their security. Cities like Portland and Bangor emphasize residents' safety within memory care facilities.

14. How do memory care facilities support residents' cognitive abilities in Maine?

Memory care facilities in Maine provide cognitive stimulation through memory-enhancing activities, puzzles, games, and reminiscence therapy. These activities help maintain cognitive function, stimulate memory recall, and enhance residents' overall mental well-being. Facilities in cities such as Lewiston and Augusta tailor their programs to residents' cognitive needs and abilities.

15. Is respite care available in Maine memory care facilities?

Yes, many memory care facilities in Maine offer respite care, which provides short-term stays for individuals with dementia. This allows caregivers to take a break while ensuring their loved ones receive proper care and support. Respite care services are available in towns like Portland and Bangor, offering caregivers temporary relief and peace of mind.

16. How can family members stay involved in their loved ones' care?

Maine memory care facilities encourage family involvement through regular communication, family meetings, and scheduled visits. Families can participate in care planning, share preferences, and provide comfort to their loved ones. Facilities in cities like Augusta and Lewiston create a collaborative approach that values family input and maintains strong connections.

17. Do memory care facilities offer specialized diets for residents with dietary restrictions?

Yes, Maine memory care facilities accommodate residents with dietary restrictions by offering specialized meal plans. They work with nutritionists to create menus that cater to specific needs, such as low-sodium or diabetic diets. Facilities in towns like Bangor and Portland prioritize residents' nutritional well-being while considering their individual dietary requirements.

18. What training do staff members receive in Maine memory care facilities?

Staff members in Maine memory care facilities undergo specialized training in dementia care, communication techniques, behavior management, and safety protocols. They learn to provide person-centered care and understand the unique needs of residents with memory loss. Facilities in cities like Portland and Lewiston prioritize staff education to ensure high-quality care.

19. What role does music therapy play in Maine memory care facilities?

Music therapy is an integral part of Maine memory care facilities. It has shown to improve mood, reduce anxiety, and stimulate memories in individuals with dementia. Music therapists design personalized sessions that engage residents through familiar tunes and songs from their past. Facilities in towns like Augusta and Portland integrate music therapy to enhance residents' emotional well-being.

20. How do memory care facilities involve residents in recreational activities in Maine?

Maine memory care facilities engage residents in recreational activities by tailoring programs to individual interests and abilities. These activities may include arts and crafts, gardening, gentle exercises, and outings to local attractions. Facilities in cities such as Bangor and Lewiston create diverse activity calendars that promote active participation and social interaction among residents.

SeniorGuidance.org provides comprehensive resources on various senior living options, including: assisted living facilities, senior living communities, nursing homes, independent living communities, continuing care retirement communities (CCRC) and all other long term senior care options, including memory care such as Alzheimer's or Dementia.

Additional senior living options in Maine:

Assisted Living in Maine Senior Apartments in Maine Nursing Homes in Maine

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