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

As someone caring for a senior, you might not be surprised to learn that those who are not at the age of 65 or older have a 70% likelihood of needing some form of long-term or specialized care in their senior years.

As a loved one or caregiver, you might be wondering what kind of care your loved one needs. How much extra help do they need with those activities of daily living?

What’s the difference, for example, between assisted living and memory care? Read on to learn more about these two types of care and when you’re likely to need memory care instead of just assisted living.

What Is Assisted Living?

Assisted living is a type of senior living arrangement. The seniors need some help with the activities of daily living but can still also live independently. In assisted living, they might get help with things like:

  • Assistance with meals
  • Medication management
  • Help bathing and dressing
  • Mobility
  • Special transportation

Most assisted living locations have seniors living in their own apartment settings. Then trained staff comes in to offer assistance as needed.

What Is Memory Care?

Memory care is a type of assisted living. It provides all of the same services as assisted living environments. But a memory care location specializes in the care for patients who have memory issues.

Often patients suffering from one form of dementia have some additional unique needs related to their memory problems. A senior suffering from memory problems needs additional safety measures because of their condition. They’re at a higher risk for wandering, aggression, and falls and need to have measures in place to keep them safe.

How Are Assisted Living and Memory Care Alike?

Memory care offers all of the same kinds of care and services that assisted living does. They help seniors do those care things that are hard to handle on their own.

Many assisted living locations will have seniors who are in the early stages of memory problems related to dementia. They still have the ability to do some things on their own and don’t need the additional support that comes from a memory care unit.

How Are Assisted Living and Memory Care Different?

Assisted living locations and a memory care facility both have trained staff who specialize in the unique needs of senior citizens. Yet, in memory care, the staff often has additional training and specializes in the unique needs of dementia patients.

For example, in assisted living, there are often activities and events held with the intention of entertaining and engaging their residents. For memory care, there are activities specialized for patients struggling with memory. One example might include music therapy which helps memory patients access different parts of the brain.

Another example might involve food. While both types of care offer meals, the memory care facility understands that often dementia patients have trouble swallowing and will cater their meals to meet those unique needs.

Assisted Living and Memory Care for Your Senior Loved Ones

The reality is that many seniors, including one of your loved ones, might need additional care. Assisted living and memory care are designed to meet the unique needs of those seniors they serve.

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