It is normal for different aspects of life to change as we age. Some situations can be much more challenging to complete whereas others may remain the same. Most older adults over a certain age need assistance with daily living activities due to restrictions in mobility and worsening health. They may also feel more isolated and distance from loved ones as family members start to move or pass away. If you are still undecided which senior living option is a better choice for yourself of a loved one, find out the differences between assisted living and memory care to help you make a well-informed decision.
An assisted living community is generally designed to provide assistance with day-to-day tasks. Residents of assisted living usually do not need extensive nursing care and can mostly live self-sufficiently in their residence. They however require a health aide for bathing, toileting, grooming, dressing, and other daily living activities. This group of older adults enjoys the amenities provided within the campus such as restaurant-style dining, health and wellness programs, social activities, and more. For individuals with mild to moderate memory impairment, specialized memory care is often not required. This is when assisted living is an ideal choice. It provides an environment whereby residents get to live independently but still offers the necessary support. An assisted living community is often designed with the needs of a mild dementia patient in mind. It offers greater supervision and security than an independent living community. There are also professional healthcare staff who is well-trained to deliver expert care for mild memory loss.
While individuals experiencing an early onset of Alzheimer’s disease and other memory-related conditions may not face many medical problems, they still require support for daily activities. This need will further intensify as their illness progresses. The main difference between assisted living and memory care is the specialized care offered to the residents. Staff in a memory care program are specially-trained to equip them with proper skills and knowledge on how to support residents with the illness. Memory care residents also get to participate in stimulating activities such as art, music, reading, and games to help slow down the progression of the disease.
Quick Facts on Assisted Living Vs. Memory Care
- Cost – Due to specialized care being offered in memory care, its costs are generally higher than assisted living.
- Size – Assisted living communities are usually more expansive in size and can accommodate residents up to the hundreds. Memory care communities on the other hand, are usually able to house less than 100 residents.
- Setting – Assisted living communities are regarded as private residences with a wide array of amenities. Memory care communities are designed specifically for residents with memory-related conditions with higher security control.
- Medication Management – Only some assisted living residents require medication management whereas memory care residents all receive full support with medication administration.
- Staffing Ratio – The staff-to-resident staffing ratio for a memory care community is typically higher to facilitate more frequent checks on residents.
- Programs – Assisted living provides residents with 24/7 assistance for daily living activities whereas memory care residents receive additional care for their memory-related conditions.