Alzheimer’s Care – Signs That Memory Care Is Needed

As we age, our memory often changes. Our ability to recall information or remember life events may be increasingly difficult at times. The difference in age-related memory changes and the beginning signs of dementia may be difficult for a lay-person to distinguish. Alzheimer’s is a medical condition worsening over time. The progression of the disease is generally a slow decline in memory, thinking, and reasoning skills. In this article, we will discuss the signs of Alzheimer’s, memory care facilities, and when Alzheimer’s care or memory care may be recommended by experts.

*This blog is for educational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. The use of the Paths Law Firm website does not constitute a client-lawyer relationship.

In the United States, more than 5 million people, of all ages, are living with Alzheimer’s. This number is projected to almost triple by 2050. For more Facts and Figures about Alzheimer’s visit the Alzheimer’s Association website.

What Is Memory Care?

Memory care is specialized care for individuals having Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, memory or cognitive decline. Facilities or communities with Alzheimer’s or memory care units provide safe, secure, and structured environments where staff can more closely monitor residents. They also provide activities, programs, and events designed to help strengthen or slow the decline of a resident’s cognitive abilities.

Care Provided at a Memory Care Facility

Memory care facilities are designed specifically for individuals who suffer from progressive conditions such as Alzheimer’s or dementia. Even though the family of the senior may provide compassionate and loving care at home, Alzheimer’s and dementia require specialized care from highly trained and experienced caregivers. A memory care facility will provide the necessary care for your senior to enjoy his/her life as well as personal care assistance to help your loved one stay on track. The staff of a memory care facility is specially trained to provide the necessary care needed for seniors suffering from memory loss. We should also remember the toll care takes on the family members when not taking advantage of memory care facilities.

medicaid lawyer alzheimers care

Here are a few features an Alzheimer’s care or memory care facility may provide.

A Welcoming Atmosphere – Many care facilities will have private rooms, bathrooms, and plenty of natural light to help the residents feel more comfortable and at home. Easy-to-navigate floor plans will let a senior enjoy his/her stay at the facility. They may participate in enjoyable everyday activities helping to improve their cognitive functions.

Secure Settings – Memory care facilities provide secure settings to keep the residents safe 24 hours a day. Many of these facilities include enclosed courtyards so seniors can explore the outdoors safely.

Person-Centered Care – All residents are not the same. They have unique needs which should be addressed. The facility will provide quality care catering to each resident ensuring their nutritional needs, medication needs, and hygiene needs are met. As well as any other unique care required or recommended.

Enriching Activities – Seniors will have a full social calendar in a memory care facility. Planned activities keep seniors engaged to use their skills. A senior can enjoy his/her day by engaging in brain games, art classes, dancing, and music programs.

memory care alzheimers

The Difference Between Alzheimer’s And Dementia

Alzheimer’s and dementia are similar in nature, but not the same disease. The terms may confuse many people because they are used interchangeably. Dementia is the umbrella term used to describe a group of symptoms revolving around the loss of memory. Alzheimer’s is considered a specific form of dementia responsible for more than 70% of dementia cases. Alzheimer’s cannot be reversed since it’s a degenerative disease. But dementia can be treated in some cases to accommodate or slow the cognitive decline. It is important to know the difference between these two terms to distinguish between seniors with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.

What is Dementia?


What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is the most well-known form of dementia. It is a progressive disease often starting with mild loss of memory. This degenerative disease impacts the portion of the brain controlling language, memory, and thought. A common sign of Alzheimer’s is trouble remembering new information. When the condition advances, symptoms become worse and may include disorientation, behavior changes, and confusion. Eventually, the patient may find it difficult to walk, speak, and swallow.

Signs That Alzheimer’s Care Is Needed

Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia are progressive conditions. And, even though your parents or grandparents may be independent in the early stages of the condition, they may require full-time Alzheimer’s care as the condition worsens. Because additional care is needed for people with this debilitating disease, if there isn’t a full-time caregiver to attend your loved one, assisted living in a memory care facility may be needed.

Here are some of the most common signs your loved one needs to be moved to a memory care facility:

symptoms of alzheimers

Changes in Behavior

Seniors with Alzheimer’s may start acting in strange ways. For example, an independent person may suddenly become fearful of driving, begin to withdraw from society, and decline social invitations. A person who dressed well may suddenly neglect daily hygiene practices. They may forget how to perform daily tasks such as bathing and combing the hair.

Forgetting to bathe, wash, pay bills, or miss appointments are clear symptoms of a decline or onset of Alzheimer’s. Unwashed and wrinkled clothing, unkempt hair, body odor, and other personal hygiene issues are all signs home care or memory care will be helpful.

Confusion That Impairs Physical Safety

Alzheimer’s usually causes confusion and disorientation. Such symptoms can lead to numerous physical safety issues like injuries due to accidents. A person with Alzheimer’s may forget a red light means they need to stop. This will likely lead to auto accidents. Some individuals may wander from home and forget their address or how to get back home. They may also end up someplace they do not recognize. If your parent or grandparent is continuously putting his or her safety at risk, it is time to at least consider a memory care facility.

A Decline in Health

Physical changes are the first symptoms to recognize in a person suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia. If your parent or grandparent suddenly becomes thin and frail, he or she might be forgetting to shop for groceries or take medications as directed. But many other conditions could make your parents or grandparents thin and frail. Hence, you should be cautious when distinguishing between a person suffering from dementia or any other condition. If your senior doesn’t take his or her prescription medications as they were doing in the past, they may be suffering from memory loss or dementia. Sometimes, the senior may forget whether he or she has taken the medication and take more than the required dosage.

alzheimers care

The Death of a Caregiver

Many people suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia are cared for by a spouse or family member. When the caregiver or family member suffers from health issues or dies, it often means the senior suffering from the disease needs a higher level of attention such as a memory care facility.


Even though a family member or caregiver can handle most of the needs of a senior suffering from Alzheimer’s, incontinence can become a big issue. When incontinence sets in, the caregiver may become overwhelmed and feel it’s more than they can handle. This can affect both professional and non-professional caregivers who take care of the needs of a parent or grandparent in a home setting.

Wanders Off and Gets Lost

If your parent or grandparent gets up in the middle of the night and becomes confused, he or she may wander. Wandering is extremely dangerous for a person who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. They may wander and not realize where they are or how to get back home. It can leave them exposed to harsh elements in the winter and summer seasons and put them in dangerous situations. This is a clear sign memory care may be needed.

Finances Are Being Neglected

If your parent or grandparent has been living alone, it is important to take note of his/her mail. Do you see unpaid bills or late notices? Do you see collection and creditor notices? Neglecting finances is one of the most common signs additional care is needed. Be sure to communicate with your loved one about their finances as they may become at risk or vulnerable to financial scams.

signs of alzheimers

Your Loved One Is Lonely and Isolated

Feelings of isolation and loneliness can increase the risk of depression in people who are suffering from Alzheimer’s. Getting out with a parent or grandparent suffering from Alzheimer’s can be quite difficult. A memory care facility has active and engaging activities for your loved one that can help relieve depression and anxiety, as well as to mitigate anxiety and agitation often accompanying Alzheimer’s.

Living Conditions Become Subpar

If you notice your loved one is no longer caring for his or her home, food is spoiling in the refrigerator, too many household messes or dishes are left out, it may be time to move them to a memory care facility. Memory care facilities have linen services and housekeeping to help your loved one stay clean and organized.

Elder Law and Alzheimer’s Care

Alzheimer’s is an emotionally traumatizing disease for both the patient and family members. Besides the considerations for medical care, quality-of-life holds the biggest concern for most individuals. Fortunately, planning with an experienced elder law attorney provides many advantages for people with Alzheimer’s disease and their families. An experienced elder law attorney will provide you with a variety of strategies to cover the cost of Alzheimer’s care and obtaining Medicaid benefits for covered services.

This can be critical as the cost of medical and health care expenses for this type of disease are exceedingly high. On average the cost of memory care in the state of Missouri is $4760 per month. Because this type of disease can go on for many years the cost can greatly impact any savings or retirement accounts originally set aside for your golden years.

If you or a loved one is suffering from a form of dementia or Alzheimer’s and need assistance, call Russell A. Fracassa (Rusty) at 816-524-7999. Paths Law Firm has been helping seniors and their families for over 25 years with elder law and eldercare issues. We will help plan and apply for the most benefits available to you to assist with your care. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.

Educational Seminar at Paths Law Firm

Paths Law Firm provides a Free Educational Elder Law Seminar every month to help you plan for your future.

Administrative Assistant

Ryan D. Foley

Ryan Foley at Paths Law

Administrative Assistant

Ryan D. Foley

Ryan graduated from the UMKC School of Law in 2018 and passed the Missouri Bar that year. Prior to law school, Ryan attended the University of Missouri – Columbia where he attained a degree in Business. He is a Kansas City native, growing up in the Northland where he achieved his Eagle Scout rank by doing a project for his high school. During his time in law school, Ryan was introduced to the practice area of Elder Law by one of his professors and has been

Ryan enjoys working with and educating clients to provide advocacy and support during the unfamiliar and often overwhelming probate process. Ryan understands the challenges faced by individuals when faced by the uncertainty and complexity of government systems or even handling a Trust during a time of grief, and he strives to make the process as easy as possible.

Administrative Assistant

Makaylee A. Morelli

administrative assistant at Paths Law

Administrative Assistant

Makaylee A. Morelli

Makaylee is currently working on her bachelor’s in political science and hopes to soon start law school as an aspiring attorney. In her free time, she loves to spend time with her friends and family but most importantly her dogs Taffyta, Tallulah Belle, and Harry. Their favorite thing to do is go on coffee dates and get pup cups.


Kathleen E. Overton

Kathleen Overton, attorney at Paths Law


Kathleen E. Overton

After starting her career as a disability attorney, Kathleen transitioned into estate planning at a mid-sized regional law firm. Kathleen joined Paths Law Firm in 2021 when she decided to return to a boutique law firm that provides excellent service and quality to clients. Because of her background as a disability attorney, she brings a thorough understanding of public benefits to each client meeting. At Paths Law FIrm, Kathleen focuses on traditional estate planning and business entity formation, providing tailored advice unique to each client’s situation.

Public Benefits Assistant

Tena K. Dooley

Public Benefits Assistant

Amanda D. Martin

I have my Associates in Applied Science and have over 20 years of office management experience. I have two daughters and one grandson.

During my time away from the office I enjoy spending time with my family.  I enjoy almost everything outdoors and my hobbies include fishing and gardening.


Sydney R. Morris

Paths Law elder law in Kansas City



Sydney is currently enrolled at the University of Missouri-Kansas City pursuing an accounting degree and plans to later attend law school.

In her free time, Sydney enjoys spending time with her nephews and volunteering at her local church.



Christy L. Phillips

client service manager at Paths Law


Christy L. Phillips

Phone: 816-640-8635
Email: [email protected]

Christy has 3 years of experience in Elder Law working for seniors and their families as a Benefits Coordinator processing Medicaid and VA applications. Prior to joining Paths Law Firm Christy worked in the finance industry for over 10 years.


Christy’s experience in the finance industry has been extremely beneficial to her role as Benefits Coordinator. There have been many influences that went into her decision to select the field of Elder Law. Christy has a special place in her heart for the elderly and attributes this to her relationship with her grandparents.

When asked why she loves what she does, Christy said that at Paths Elder law, she gets the opportunity to help clients in more ways than one. Her favorite part of her job is getting clients approved for Medicaid or VA benefits as it is a huge relief for them and their loved ones.

Christy was raised in Ogden, Utah, and moved to Independence, MO, when she was ten years old. She has two children that keep her busy and fill her life with joy! Christy’s daughter cheers for Avila University, and her son plays competitive baseball for the Bucks and races BMX locally for the Motorcycle Closeout Team.

When Christy is not working, she enjoys crafting and making homemade gifts for her loved ones and raising her kids to be healthy, happy, and positive humans.


Practice Areas

  • Medicaid Benefits
  • VA Benefits


Professionalc Memberships and Affiliations

  • Missouri Notary


René A. Fracassa

Rene A. Fracassa, Paths Law



René has worked along side Rusty for 35 years. Not only is she part of the Paths team, she is also his wife. René spends her time working with the accountant to keep all of the finances in order, as well as general office management.

In addition to helping run the office, she helps manage the family and grandkids, tries to keep everyone fed, and has a passion to teach Bible Studies. Her former career in Event Planning trained her to juggle all the activity. She understands Rusty’s passion to serve people from the first mention of law school. It is a great pleasure for her to be an important part of every area of his life.



Hilary R. Tichota

Hillary at Paths Law



Hilary plays a vital role in the daily operations of the office. In addition to her regular office duties, Hilary has a heart of gold.

For more than 5 years, Hilary has operated the front desk at Paths, running the office and catering to clients. Hilary recently moved into the role of Community Relations Coordinator. She has a passion for people and a focus to share our business practices with the community’s seniors, businesses, and clients. She especially has a heart for seniors, showing they are loved through her visits, treats, the “Pen to Pal” program, and volunteering services at various senior living communities. She is a wonderful wife and mother of two. Most activities with seniors involve her great talent for any type of craft.



Jennifer A. Bronson

Jennifer, senior paralegal



Jennifer has been in the legal field for over 25 years and considers Paths her second home.

When she’s not running the office or working for our clients, she’s spending time with her first passion – her children.


Russell A. Fracassa (Rusty)

attorney at Paths Law elder law


Russell A. Fracassa (Rusty)

Phone: 816-640-8635

When asked what he wants to do, his reply was “I just want to sit at the kitchen table and work directly with people.” Rusty enjoys working with clients providing experienced advocacy and supporting them through their unfamiliar and overwhelming situations. Due to all the challenges faced by seniors, it is essential to work with an experienced elder law attorney who has expertise in the law, issues, and concerns affecting seniors and their families.

Rusty brings nearly 30 years legal experience and expertise working for seniors and their families as an elder law attorney in Kansas City and surrounding. Prior to law school, Rusty was a practicing accountant. This provides invaluable experience in his current practice of law. Rusty decided to put his focus on helping the elderly, vulnerable adults, and their families navigate challenging life, end of life, and death events.

Rusty understands the challenges faced by individuals whose capacity is declining and how upsetting the loss of a loved one can be. He understands he may not be able to eliminate his client’s grief from loss, but he strives to provide clients with peace of mind. Rusty works directly with client’s long term care issues, including Medicaid, Veteran’s Benefits, Estate Planning, Asset Protection, and Special Needs Planning.

In 2010, Rusty’s faith and love led him and part of his family to China as Christian missionaries. He and his wife, went permanently, but ended up dedicating 3 years to that ministry. They returned to Missouri to help with grandchildren after a family tragedy and later began anew with Paths Elder Law. The goal is providing compassionate care through legal advocacy.

When Rusty is not practicing law, he enjoys spending time with his family, grandchildren, and excessive eating at local restaurants.


Practice Areas


  • Wills and Trusts
  • Estate Planning
  • Asset Protection
  • Medicaid Benefits
  • VA Benefits
  • Probate
  • Guardianship and Conservatorships
  • Education


BSBA and Master’s in Accounting, Master’s in Inter-Cultural Studies, and Doctorate in Juris Prudence

  • Rockhurst University
  • Liberty University
  • University of Missouri – Kansas City

Admissions to Practice

  • Missouri

Professional Memberships and Affiliations

  • State Bar of Missouri
  • National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (long-time Member)
  • Elder Counsel (Charter and Ongoing Member)
  • Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys (Past Member)
  • Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association
  • Missouri State Bar Committees – Elder Law, Estate Planning, Probate