Think Carefully About Your Needs

Finding the right care for a loved one is not as easy as you might think.


Our advice is to carefully consider your loved one’s needs first — before you shop for a home for them.

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Mixed Blessing

It’s a mixed blessing that North Texas has so many options for residential care. The advantage is that the perfect solution may be available in your neighborhood. The disadvantage is that competition leads sales professionals to engage in “amenity wars” while steering you away from the real question:

How much care does your loved one need, and who is going to be providing that care?

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The Differences Between Assisted-living and Memory Care and Alzheimer’s-certified Care

“Memory care” and other assisted-living centers can be good options, especially in the early stages of dementia. But many families quickly find that their loved ones need more physical care than the facilities are allowed to provide under an assisted-living license.

They may also find that the general staff in assisted-living memory-care centers are not sufficient in either training or numbers to meet the needs of all the residents.

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The Importance of Licensure and Alzheimer’s Certification

In Texas, any senior-care housing that provides care for more than four residents is required to have a license. Ask to see it when you visit, and make note of the “type of facility.”

The two main types of license are:

Assisted Living & Nursing Facility

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“Memory care”

“Memory care” is a marketing term, not a license. Providers who use the term “memory care” are generally licensed as assisted-living facilities.

Under Texas law, Alzheimer’s certification is required for any facility — assisted-living or nursing facility — that uses the word “Alzheimer’s” in its name.


It’s also important to know that facilities that use the term “memory care” are not required to carry any additional certification or meet any requirements related to special care for persons with dementia.

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Beyond a Social Model of Care

Assisted-living facilities are a social model of care and provide a lovely home environment. Nursing care may be available at them, for a fee. But an assisted-living facility is not required to offer nursing care. Regulators measure compliance on the provision of social services, and on safety and staffing requirements. For details, look here.

James L. West elects to meet the higher nursing-facility level of licensure, and also the requirements for Alzheimer’s certification. Nursing facilities are required to provide 24-hour nursing care as well as activities, social services, and many other required services. In addition, regulatory requirements and scrutiny are much more comprehensive than for assisted living.

This higher level of licensure allows us to provide the level of care that your loved one deserves, and that you are seeking.

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