Senior Citizen and Medical Professional having tea

Assisted Living vs. Memory Care: Which One Is Best for Your Loved One?

Does your loved one need help with activities of daily living (ADLs)? They’re not alone. Research shows that a fifth of people ages 65 to 74 require assistance with ADLs, like eating or bathing. However, this figure jumps to 53% for women and 40% for men over 85. Which type of senior living care would work best for your loved one: assisted living vs. memory care? Here’s a rundown of the differences between these two senior living options.

What Is Assisted Living?

Assisted living facilities provide care to seniors who wish to remain independent. These individuals may receive some help with their daily tasks. These tasks may range from toileting to bathing and taking medicine. These facilities usually provide small apartments, housekeeping, and activities. Residents of these facilities can enjoy socializing with individuals their age. This can be particularly helpful for those who feel isolated after losing friends or spouses. Individuals living in assisted living facilities can usually communicate their needs.

What Is Memory Care?

A memory care facility is a secure facility that caters to people with dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease. A memory care facility usually has smaller bedrooms than an assisted living facility. However, it also typically has inviting, open, and available common spaces. These facilities often feature clear signage and soft colors as well. They also tend to be clutter-free. This helps to ease the transition from independent living to memory care center living. People with Alzheimer’s disease have more care needs. Therefore, the ratio of staff members to patients in the memory care setting is usually smaller than that in the assisted living setting.

Senior Living Activities

When exploring assisted living vs. memory care, consider each facility’s activities. Then, determine what may work best for your loved one’s needs. An assisted living community will likely concentrate on entertaining its residents. Of course, a memory care center will do this as well. However, their primary focus is providing activities tailored to dementia patients’ cognitive needs. For instance, both types of settings may feature music areas. This is particularly valuable in the memory care setting. That’s because music therapy can help individuals with Alzheimer’s disease access various parts of the brain. Residents in both types of communities can additionally engage in craft activities. Likewise, they can play in game rooms.

People with dementia are particularly likely to express distress when facing challenging situations. However, the right interventions can prevent them from being worried. They stay involved and busy in their environments.

Senior Living Environment

The environments of memory care vs. assisted living facilities are tailored. They focus on the safety concerns and needs of people with judgment and memory issues. Alzheimer’s disease doesn’t just affect cognition and memory, however. It changes all of a person’s five senses. For this reason, a memory care community uses safety precautions like door alarms. It may also use single-touch sinks or motion-sensor lighting. These precautions provide residents with safer living experiences and also allow them to live a bit more independently.

Memory care communities may also set up remote cameras. This can help with monitoring activity. Assisted living centers may not offer the above-listed types of extra measures. As a result, they may not be safe environments for people with dementia.

Senior Living Dining

An assisted living facility usually offers three meals daily in a social setting. A memory care community typically does the same. However, Alzheimer’s disease may complicate nutrition. So, this facility can provide specialized diets and dining support.

Residents are provided with several food options to feel a sense of control over what they eat. In addition, they are usually placed in less distracting environments. They may also be given adaptive utensils or plates. This helps ensure that residents consume the calories their bodies require. At the same time, they can satisfy their taste preferences and meet their nutritional needs.

Senior Living Employee Training

Finally, a memory care community and an assisted living community both feature nursing assistants and nurses. However, a memory care community’s staff usually have different experiences and training involving working with people with dementia.

For instance, memory care community staff are well equipped to help patients who struggle with swallowing. Likewise, they understand how to work with people who have anxiety and wandering issues.

Note that the staff in these facilities include nursing staff, housekeepers, and administrators. All of them are usually required to complete continuing education courses. These classes teach them about how Alzheimer’s disease sufferers’ brains work. They may also learn how to mitigate stress and effectively support residents.

Given the above, if your family member has problem behaviors or seems anxious, memory care will likely suit them best. Your family member can receive reassurance and support through this type of care setting. This may provide relief, as you might struggle to give them this support at home.

How We Can Help Individuals Who Need Senior Living Care

Assisted living is the best senior living option for a loved one who can mostly live independently but needs a little help with daily tasks. Meanwhile, memory care centers are ideal for individuals who have dementia and therefore need more support.

At Inspired Living, we take pride in offering both assisting living and memory care settings. Our compassionate caregivers are ready to help your loved one. We’ll give them the engaging and dignified environment they need.

Get in touch with us to learn more about our services, and schedule a tour today!