Memory Care vs Assisted Living – Differences and Similarities

Assisted Care

The decision to move into one of the senior assisted living facilities can be both stressful and overwhelming. So many decisions have to be made which can be challenging; especially if this is something you have never done before. 

If the senior in your family is battling with some kind of condition like Alzheimer’s then the options you’re weighing will look a little different than they would under normal circumstances. In that case, you will need to weigh in different factors and look at specialized facilities like memory care facilities for seniors.

If the elder in your family is showing signs of memory loss or is recently diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s, it may make more sense to move into a memory care home. But, you may also be tempted to move into an assisted living facility if the person is still relatively able to function on their own. Both choices carry their advantages and disadvantages.

You should know that assisted living and memory care facilities are not the same things. So, what similarities and differences do they share? And, when does it make sense to move into them? Let’s see…

What Is Assisted Living?

Assisted living provides for a lifestyle to the seniors wherein they can function rather independently while receiving a certain level of help such as that with medication, dressing, transportation, bathing, etc. 

This kind of arrangement is great for people who feel it’s getting difficult for them to go up and downstairs and navigate their homes. It’s also good for individuals who don’t want the trouble of managing a household and enjoy the help that makes their lives a little easier.

Assisted living facilities range from residential neighborhoods to apartment-style buildings. The residents live in their individual home space and also enjoy some common community areas like fitness centers, dining rooms, etc. Some communities also offer added services like laundry and housekeeping, as well as luxury assisted living services.

What Is Memory Care?

Memory care communities are designed specifically to meet the unique needs of elders diagnosed with neurocognitive conditions like Alzheimer’s and dementia. If the person is in the early stages of the condition, the care they need may not be much. However, since most neurological conditions are progressive, they may need more and more assistance with changing needs which is what these memory care facilities are equipped to offer. 

The facilities help you transition into a different living space safely and securely while also reducing stress. Secure entrances and hallways are designed to encourage interaction. Professional help is also available 24/7 to care for dementia patients.

Similarities Between Memory Care and Assisted Living

Both memory care and assisted living communities offer help and care to the residents so they can live safely and freely as much as possible. Most memory care facilities will have assisted living as part of their services but not all assisted living are equipped to offer services specific to memory care.

There may be some facilities that offer both kinds of services as separate housing communities on common ground.

Differences Between Memory Care and Assisted Living

The goal of assisted living is to offer help that allows residents freedom to live as they want in a safe environment. Providing individual assistance is the main philosophy on which these communities are built. The help given is not necessarily consistent and may vary as per the individual’s changing preferences. 

With memory care, however, safety is the biggest priority. These facilities are for people who need constant care and supervision so they can live safely. The focus on independence is less although there may be room for some autonomy and making a few independent choices.

Memory Care or Assisted Living – Which One is Right For You?

If you think that the elderly in your family can live safely on their own with little help, then assisted living might be the best option. But, if the individual has been diagnosed with some memory issue like dementia or is in the initial stages of the condition, then you should contemplate moving them to a memory care community.

Some people – even though they are diagnosed with dementia – choose to move to assisted living simply because they don’t think they need the help yet. But, as the disease progresses – many wish that they had moved to a memory care sooner. 

By living in one such community long before you even need the care, the person is better able to transition into a comfortable and safe place more readily. In this way, they enjoy comfort and peace while also having a sense of communal support. Dementia care communities are better at providing for the ever-changing needs of the elderly.

However, if you think that you don’t need the help, then assisted living is not a bad option either. In the end, you need to weigh your situation.

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