Friday, 30 September 2022 17:52

What’s the Difference Between Assisted Living and Memory Care?  

This is a common question for many families with aging loved ones. Simply put, assisted living facilities offer services to support aging seniors with daily activities including housing chores, meal preparation, and assistance with ADLs like bathing, grooming, toileting, etc. Memory care communities also specialize in those areas, but mainly serve people who suffer from Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia. Here we will cover five main areas where we see the most difference between assisted living and memory care.

If you’re still unclear, feel free to contact our senior living specialists for more information.

Breaking Down the Difference Between Assisted Living and Memory Care

1. Staff Training and Safety

Both memory care communities and assisted livings share similar staff, including registered nurses (RN) and licensed practical nurses (LPN). However, memory care facilities feature staff members who have additional training and expertise in dealing with memory-related conditions and issues. Those care providers likely have experience dealing with dementia symptoms such as eating difficulties, wandering, and agitation.

Staff who work in memory care facilities must take courses designed to teach them about the brain health of people living with dementia. They're also taught ways to mitigate stress and support their residents. If your loved ones seem anxious or behaved problem, or if you struggle to support and reassure them at home, then memory care may be the better choice for your loved one.

Assisted living facilities often include many safety features like in-room emergency alert systems and daily check-ins. Many memory care communities offer similar security features. Seniors who suffer from memory loss often worry about their safety, as they may wander off, become aggressive, or may experience a sudden fall.

2. Focused Activities

Did you know that some activities, such as music therapies, can be used to stimulate different parts of the brain for people who suffer from memory loss diseases?

Assisted living communities tend to be focused on entertainment for their residents and guests. However, memory care community-based facilities often provide specialized programs designed specifically for people who suffer from memory loss diseases and related dementias. People who suffer from dementia often display challenging behaviors, but timely and appropriate action can help keep seniors engaged and occupied with their surroundings.

3. Meal and Diet Structure

Assisted living facilities and memory care communities both provide three meals per day, usually in a wonderful social environment. There is not a significant difference between assisted living and memory care when it comes to food. However, residents who live in memory-friendly environments benefit from having access to nutritious foods, socializing at the dining room table, and receiving assistance with activities of daily living. Specialized diets for memory-impaired seniors are designed to ensure that they're consuming enough calories and daily vitamins to meet their nutritional requirements.

4. Specialized Environments

Memory-impaired residents often need special attention from caregivers who understand their unique challenges. As mentioned earlier, individuals with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease are prone to wandering behaviors, which can be unsafe for many residents. That’s why memory care communities are specially designed for individuals with memory-related issues. Assisted living facilities don't provide many additional safety measures, which can lead to an otherwise unsafe environment for people with Alzheimer's disease.

Dementia affects all five senses – not just memories and cognitive functions. To keep residents safe in memory care environments, many communities will be single-floor plans and rely on circular layouts to minimize risk and resident irritation or confusion. These communities will additionally utilize safety measures like door alarms, motion sensors, or one-tap sinks to help keep residents safe. These additional touches not only help ensure that people feel safe in their rooms, but also allow them to live independently.

5. Cost Difference Between Assisted Living and Memory Care

Memory care services and assisted living facilities typically have different pricing structures. Memory care is generally considered to be more costly than assisted living because it requires more resources, especially in terms of staffing. As a general rule of thumb, keep in mind that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for memory care facilities. What works well at one facility might not work well at another. In addition, the cost of providing memory care varies widely depending on the state, region, and even city within a given area.

The most important factor in determining whether memory care is more affordable than assisted living is how much you want to pay for it. If you choose a smaller facility where residents receive fewer intensive levels of care, you could end up paying less per month than those who live in larger homes. However, remember that the price tag doesn’t include taxes and fees, which can vary greatly based on where you live and what type of facility you select. Read up on some additional tips on how to pay for assisted living.

Are You Ready to Make the Decision Between Assisted Living and Memory Care?

Now that the difference between assisted living and memory care is clear, you should have an easier time deciding where to place your loved one. At The Creeks, we offer multiple innovative assisted living communities that specialize solely in memory care. We have locations in Troy and Decatur, Illinois, along with Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Contact us today to schedule your tour of one of our memory care facilities.