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Memory Care vs. Assisted Living: What's the Difference?

Memory Care vs. Assisted Living: What's the Difference?

When it comes to caring for elderly loved ones, many families are unsure of what the best option is: Memory Care or Assisted Living? Both options have their own set of pros and cons, and it can be difficult to decide which route is right for your family.

According to the World Health Organization, informal carers (family members, friends) who provide care for a person living with dementia spend an average of 5 hours / day doing so. Without external help and assistance, this can become very demanding on a physical and emotional level for the caregiver.

In this blog post, we will discuss the differences between Memory Care and Assisted Living, so that you can make an informed decision about what is best for your loved one.


What Exactly is Memory Care ?

Memory Care is a type of senior living that is specifically designed to meet the needs of those with Alzheimer's disease, dementia, and other memory disorders. Memory Care facilities are staffed with trained professionals who are able to provide the necessary level of care and assistance for residents.

Some Memory Care facilities offer on-site nursing care, while others may provide transportation to and from doctor's appointments. memory care facilities also typically offer a higher level of security than assisted living, in order to prevent residents from wandering off the property.


What Exactly is Assisted Living?

Assisted living, on the other hand, is a type of senior living that is designed for those who need help with  activities of daily living (ADLs), such as bathing, dressing, and eating. Assisted living facilities typically do not provide the same level of memory care and support that is offered in a memory care facility.

However, assisted living facilities can be a good option for those who are still relatively independent but need some help with day-to-day tasks.


What Are the Main Differences Between Memory Care and Assisted Living?

In many cases, Memory Care and Assisted Living facilities will offer a lot of similar services to their guests. Both provide a wide range of options for housing, meal services and caregiving assistance. However, since Memory Care is more targeted towards people living with memory disorders and dementia, Assisted Living and Memory Care differ on some important levels.

The level of care

The main difference between memory care and assisted living is the level of care and support that is offered. Memory care facilities are specifically designed to meet the needs of those with memory disorders, while assisted living is for those who need help with activities of daily living.

Safety

Another difference between memory care and assisted living is the level of safety and security that is offered. Memory care facilities typically have more robust security measures in place, such as locked gates and 24-hour surveillance, to prevent residents from wandering off the property and eventual falls.

Activities and socialization

Memory care facilities also offer a wide range of activities and socialization opportunities for residents. These activities are designed to help stimulate the mind and keep residents engaged. Those activities can include:

  • Supervised games
  • Art therapy sessions
  • Walks in groups

Assisted living facilities typically offer a smaller selection of organized activities and social events. However, they usually have a much larger offer in terms of amenities, such as :

  • Hairdressers
  • Gyms and pools
  • Restaurants
  • Libraries

Who is Memory Care Best For?

Memory care is best for those who are living with memory disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease or dementia. It is staffed with trained professionals who can provide the necessary level of care and assistance. Memory Care facilities are also designed to offer an easier life to seniors, in an environment that is easy to navigate and that is focused on safety. 

Who is Assisted Living Best For?

Assisted living is best for those who are relatively independent but who need some help, or will need some help in the near future, with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing or eating. Any seniors who would enjoy a pleasant environment with easy access to people, amenities and activities can benefit from Assisted Living.


Memory Care vs Assisted Living : How Much Does it Costs?

The cost of memory care is typically higher than the cost of assisted living, since it offers a higher level of care. Specialized activities, dementia-specific nursing services and interior design all contribute to the raising the cost. However, the cost will vary depending on the location and type of facility you choose.

As for Assisted Living facilities, the costs are more likely to vary based on the services and accommodations that the senior choses or requires. Assisted living facilities usually charge on a monthly basis.


Memory Care vs Assisted Living : How to Make The Right Choice

Whether is it for you or for a loved one, making a decision regarding senior housing is never easy. When trying to decide between Memory Care and Assisted Living, it's important to consider your individual needs and preferences. If you need  more help and assistance, memory care is the better option. If you are more independent but would appreciate social activities and easy access to amenities, assisted living might be a better fit.

You might also want to get the opinion of a professional. Book an appointment with your doctor and discuss with them the pros and cons of Memory Care and Assisted Living to find what's right for you or your loved one.

 

In summary

Memory Care

  • offers a higher level of care
  • has specially trained staff
  • designed to be easy to navigate
  • focuses on safety

Assisted Living

  • independent seniors who need some help with activities of daily living
  • want access to people, amenities, and activities.
  • monthly basis charges

Conclusion

Memory care and assisted living are both great options for seniors, but they do have some key differences. It’s important to understand what those differences are before you make a decision about which type of care is best for your loved one.

We hope that this article helped you in your process of choosing between Memory Care and Assisted Living!