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The Differences And Similarities Between Assisted Living And Memory Care

Choosing the proper living facilities to take your senior loved one can be challenging. When the right time comes to determine between settling for an assisted living facility or nursing home, it’s essential to be adequately prepared with the right information.

You will be searching for the best alternatives to ensure your elderly loved one transitions with no challenges. However, sometimes the type of facility you choose to take your loved one will be determined by their specific needs.

Depending on their needs, you may be looking for facilities to help deal with health conditions such as dementia or Alzheimer’s.

Therefore you need to ensure that the staff at the specific facility you select are sufficiently trained to cater after them or that they have the appropriate facilities available to cater to any special needs your senior may have adequately.

You will find assisted living and memory care in your search for living communities.

Although they may seem similar, you need to understand the appropriate situations to choose each of them and the different factors to consider before selecting any of them.

You may also come across facilities such as, which offer both, but understanding the differences is essential.

The differences and similarities between assisted living and memory care

The services offered by assisted living and memory care are pretty comparable.

They provide accommodation meals and help their residents with typical daily tasks such as going to the bathroom, dressing, medication management, etc.

These are just some of the standard care you should expect from both facilities.

However, assisted living caters to residents with special conditions such as dementia so long as it is not severe and the care needed is not intensive.

This is in addition to catering to activities of daily living (ADLs).

On the other hand, memory care is perfect for catering to seniors with memory-related conditions.

Such seniors usually need closer attention sufficient to help them with memory loss. The programs in this facility are set up at a personal level.

The staff in these facilities also require special training to handle and adequately cater to seniors with memory loss.

The difference in cost

How much you will be required to pay in both facilities will depend on various factors. They include the facility’s location, the infrastructure, and the services they provide.

Memory care is set up to provide more specialized services; they will probably ask for more, maybe up to 30% more.

The safety level

Th care in both facilities may take different forms, and they usually have standards and procedures to facilitate care needed for seniors. Some have specialized equipment to monitor residents.

The staff is also available 24/7 to check in on residents regularly. They also have automatic warning alarms in case of emergencies.

However, the security level is taken up a notch when dealing with residents that have dementia. The environment is usually controlled with limited freedom.

This is because seniors with memory loss need closer monitoring so they don’t wander, become aggressive or agitated and even injure themselves.

Therefore, beyond the typical safety and security measures, homes with care for seniors with dementia include more restrictions such as staff catering to the residents round the clock and infrastructure that ensures the safety of the seniors.

Specialized trained staff

Both facilities have trained caregivers equipped with the right knowledge to provide essential senior care.

However, in facilities that deal with seniors with memory loss, the staff have additional skills and understand the best practices to help seniors with different levels of dementia or any other cognitive decline health conditions.

Apart from having skills to deal with special cases, the number of staff in memory care is significantly higher than assisted living because they need to provide personalized attention to individual residents.

Recreational activities

To provide the required care for seniors, facilities need to ensure their residents are sufficiently occupied with activities. Being active is essential for the physical and mental well-being of seniors. 

Some of these activities available in both facilities include playing games, exercises such as walking, jogging, aerobics, cycling, etc. they also have common clubs centered around shared interests such as book clubs and the like.

Specialized services

Various homes will provide multiple services and different facilities to support those activities. The goal is to keep people active all of the time, keep them busy, and ensure that their physical and mental health is as good as possible.

As a result, homes will encourage their inhabitants to play games, read intriguing literature, or engage in gym or fitness activities.

Spas or beauty salons may be available to assist them in improving their self-image. Barbers and hairdressers may be available for males.

Nursing facilities specializing in dementia care provide comparable services, but the overriding goal is to help patients with dementia-related issues.

There will be stress-relieving zones to help folks rest and unwind. Residents may also have personal significance features added to offer them some familiarity and minimize fear.

Additionally, sessions focusing on mental exercise will be available. Residents will be encouraged to keep or increase their mental acuity without being stressed.

As a result, the institution will strive to develop and maintain a calm and pleasant environment.

Assisted living or memory care?

The decision on where to live is a personal one.

Keep in mind that while deciding between assisted living and memory care, you may initially choose the former but later require the latter’s services.

Assisted living facilities provide an apartment, three meals a day, and help in ADLs.

 On the other hand, if your loved one needs more personalized care because of dementia or other cognitive decline health issues, you may opt for memory care.

However, suppose your loved one has symptoms of cognitive decline.

In that case, it is better to get them settled into memory care from the onset other than changing them from one facility to another later on after they’ve already settled in.

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