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What is the difference between assisted living and memory care?

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As your loved ones and those close to you continue to age, it is recommended that you begin looking for options that can provide care and comfort to your elderly when they cannot. There are many options for seniors to live such as assisted living, geriatric home care, etc. However, the two most prominent life options, and most of the time the most viable, are considered assisted living or memory care.

The fact is, though, there is often underlying confusion about the nature of these senior homes. What exactly separates an assisted living facility from a memory home? Both facilities offer various amenities and options for the life of the elderly, such as extensive staff attention, regular meals, and medical care for those suffering from mental or physical illnesses. However, memory care focuses more on patients with mental disabilities by providing all the essential care that is required for someone with Alzheimer’s and all other forms of dementia.

According to Assisted living insured, there are currently 5.7 million adults living with Alzheimer’s in the US alone Dementia is a very serious mental illness that needs special care for people to live properly. This care can only be provided by specially trained and medically equipped staff who are in the service of memory care homes rather than assisted living facilities that only offer rudimentary cognitive care.

Aside from these, there are several notable factors that establish assisted living differently than memory care and we recommend that you write them down so that you can make an informed decision for your older loved one. These differences are:

Protection and security

Source: harbourchase

All nursing home facilities have basic security personnel assigned to their facilities. Mental health homes provide more security in the way of their facility layout, professionally trained staff and caregivers, as well as improved visual designs to help all seniors with Alzheimer’s. Assisted living facilities, on the other hand, are great for the convenience and ease of life, but they don’t take into account the various mental conditions suffered by an elderly patient.

People with dementia are often anxious, can wander aimlessly, and have a high probability of falling. Memory care homes ensure the safety of dementia patients by assigning more staff to fewer residents to keep the staff-to-resident ratio low, designing facilities so that dementia patients do not fall over, and maintain care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Monitor patients to ensure they do not roam the facility.

Training and staff training

Assisted living home staff are trained to be polite and watch over the entire community. Often times, a staff member is assigned to have the whole group monitor and take action should something happen. This makes assisted living homes a viable option if your older loved one is not mentally ill and only needs basic care.

However, if they have dementia, keep them in memory care it will be the smartest choice – it will deliver them to professionally trained hands who know exactly how to care for dementia patients. The staff of memory care centers undergo extensive and thorough training from which they emerge as a professional capable of treating any type of elderly patient with dementia. These professional staff can calm your elderly loved ones in times of anxiety, be with them most of the time, and help them with any daily life tasks that they are struggling with.

Environmental design and distribution

Source: aplaceformom

Assisted living homes are often designed to be as original as possible for real life communities with the addition of staff and other specialized amenities. This ensures that they can still feel as if they are living in their own home, giving them a sense of comfort and security. The assisted living houses also have various amenities such as swimming pools, gyms, libraries, etc.

Memory care has all these conveniences and more, but it foregoes convenience and remains original in real-life societies. For the safety of elderly dementia patients, doors and windows are often locked at night so that they do not roam the premises. All the elderly in memory care institutions are regularly and strictly supervised. As stated above, the design is also designed to reduce the risks of stumbling and falling dementia patients. Many memory care residences are also known to use color-coded walls and rooms so that dementia patients can better remember which room they are in.

Nature of activities

Source: livingupstatesc

People with dementia can benefit greatly from therapies and activities designed for them. Memory homes have many activities like these to support the life of an older person with dementia. Various therapies such as music therapy, which can calm anxiety and worry, and art therapy, where people with dementia can paint and draw as they wish so that their mental abilities do not deteriorate, are incorporated for the elderly in care homes of the memory. They are also motivated to join any hobby classes they like to keep them busy and safe.

Assisted living facilities do not provide such therapies or activities because they are not specifically designed to meet the needs and wants of a person with dementia. What they are designed to do is to make sure that senior citizens feel at home, provide basic cognitive support when needed, and help them with their daily living tasks should problems arise. Assisted living home residents are encouraged to enjoy the many amenities that the assisted living home facility offers within the confines of safety and supervision.


By now, you should be aware that memory care is simply the best option for anyone who is older with dementia. However, you should know that all the professional services and care that are provided to care for dementia patients also cost a little more, about $ 1000 different, than assisted living homes.

Therefore, assisted living homes are cheaper, while at the same time providing many great comforts and supervision for your elderly loved ones, but they are not equipped to handle severely affected dementia patients. It is vital that you consider your monthly budget, understand the needs of your older loved one, and choose the necessary facility.


Source: americanorchardsaz

All seniors need a new home that can take care of them at some point in their life, but which home exactly is your decision. We hope that by providing the differences between assisted living and memory care, we have helped you make an informed decision and if we did, please consider following our website for regular updates as it will help us tremendously.

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