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When is it time to consider “memory support?”

Cambridge artist and visionary, Clara Wainwright, worked with Youville residents to create a “Memory Quilt” as a gift for the new memory Support Unit located in Lexington. Residents shared their own memories and expressed the many ways that Alzheimer’s disease had touched their lives and families with one another.

Cambridge artist and visionary, Clara Wainwright, worked with Youville residents to create a “Memory Quilt” as a gift for the new Memory Support Community located in Lexington. Residents shared their own memories and expressed the many ways that Alzheimer’s disease had touched their lives and families.

Even simple daily tasks can be confusing and frustrating for individuals with progressive forms of dementia.  Feeling anxious and overwhelmed can lead to depression, isolation, and difficult behaviors.  Because of this, caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease often leads to exhaustion and frustration.  Caregivers may need help understanding how to meet the changing needs and behaviors of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease.   Over time, safety and security become major concerns.

Although it can be difficult to accept, individuals with moderate to advanced Alzheimer’s disease may require a secure environment, specifically designed to meet their special needs. The Courtyard at Youville Place offers families this resource when a loved one is no longer able to manage safely at home.  The Wellness staff at The Courtyard assess each prospective resident, determining their level of safety awareness, their ability to manage daily tasks such as dressing and personal care, and evaluating their judgment and decision making.  This assessment is designed to identify the level of support each prospective resident needs to ensure safety, well-being, and success.

To learn more about the indicators that help identify individuals who will benefit from a formal memory support program, download the Courtyard Assessment Checklist.  The Courtyard at Youville Place focuses on helping each resident continue to be successful and independent, reducing the frustration of trying and failing to accomplish tasks they can no longer manage.

Download The Courtyard at Youville Place brochure

The Courtyard at Youville Place is the only faith-based, nonprofit special care program in this part of Massachusetts. We welcome individuals of all faiths and endeavor to provide a safe, supportive environment celebrating each individual as a unique person, with special emphasis put on their spiritual well being.

Read our Philosophy and Mission here.

To learn more about Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, click here.

Contact us for more information about The Courtyard at Youville Place or to set up confidential, individualized memory support assessment.


What are the differences between a Memory Support program and traditional assisted living?

A memory support program is specifically for individuals with moderate to advanced Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia.  The physical areas where residents live are alarmed and secured to assure residents do not wander into unsafe areas. In traditional assisted living, residents freely come and go. Residents in memory support programs generally have a greater need for redirection and assistance with personal care, managing at mealtimes and in staying occupied with meaningful activities.  The Executive Office of Elder Affairs provides a special certification for memory support programs, and state regulations require that staff be specially trained to work with individuals with dementia.  Memory support programs are also required to have a higher ratio of staff to residents, and a specified number of activities throughout the day.

Is financial assistance available for residents in the memory support program?

The Courtyard at Youville Place will accommodate up to twenty-eight residents with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.  Subsidy will be offered to four of those individuals.  Youville Place will continue to subsidize sixteen additional residents in the traditional assisted living.  Each application for subsidy will be reviewed on an individual basis. Subsidy in the traditional assisted living does not automatically qualify an individual for subsidy in The Courtyard.

Is the cost the same for traditional assisted living and memory care?

Memory support programs require a higher staff to resident ratio and a greater number of activities through the day.  The cost of the extra services increases the monthly fee.

Will Youville residents be considered for available openings before  candidates from outside the Youville communities?

Each application will be considered in the order it is received.

How will I know if my parent living at Youville needs a memory support program?

Youville is developing an assessment specifically to determine if an individual is appropriate for a memory support program. Generally, residents who are at risk for wandering, who require behavior management or frequent redirection are candidates for a special memory support program.

What if my parent lives at Youville and needs memory support but there are no available spots?

In most instances, residents with early to moderate dementia can manage well in traditional assisted living.  We will work with each individual to provide support in traditional assisted living until an apartment is available in The Courtyard.  The safety of the resident will be our main concern.

Will residents in The Courtyard still be able to attend Mass?


Can we visit our loved one and take them out with us as we always have?


Can residents in the traditional assisted living at Youville Place visit friends who have moved to The Courtyard?


Are residents in The Courtyard able to bring in extra help in the same way that residents in traditional assisted living can?


Will my parent be sent out alone, 911 in an emergency?

Whenever possible, a staff person will accompany a resident from The Courtyard during an emergency trip to a hospital.  Families will, of course, be notified immediately.

Will my parent continue to have outside appointments with doctors and other health care providers?


What comes next for a resident in The Courtyard?

Just as in traditional assisted living, residents can stay in their apartments for as long as their needs can be met by Youville staff and/or outside, private staff.  Skilled services of a nurse, physical or occupational therapist can be met by a private care agency, such as a VNA.  Residents and families may contract with a hospice for end of life care.

Where can I find support for the emotional strain of caring for a parent with increasing dementia?

Youville Place will offer Chaplain services to residents of The Courtyard, and support for individuals caring for a loved one with dementia.  We will offer support groups on a regular basis for loved ones and families.