How Memory Care for Alzheimer’s Differs From Assisted Living

For 6.2 million Americans over the age of 65, Alzheimer’s dementia is a serious problem. It can have a profound impact on their daily lives, which is why many of those affected are opting for a safe and structured living space.

Recent reports show that around 85% of people with probable dementia lived in a supportive care setting (like personal care home or assisted living), while 15% opted for a nursing facility. Most prefer a traditional community setting where they can maintain their independence.

But, when you have to choose to alter your current surroundings, that’s where things get complicated. Many families are choosing either assisted living or memory care. Although they both have something to offer, weighing your options may seem overwhelming.

This guide can help. We selected all the important aspects of spotting the distinction between memory care and assisted living. So that you can make that choice, take a look at the facts below.

Memory Care Vs. Assisted Living – How to Make An Adequate Choice?

In the United States, there are about 28,900 assisted living communities. A major portion (56%) are chain-affiliated, meaning that an organization with multiple communities is running it. The rest (42%) are independently owned, offering a plethora of services that are similar to one another.

When it came to cozy senior living, both memory care and assisted living to have their own role to play. For countless individuals, they’ve helped them manage their health conditions and enjoy their daily lives. But, to understand the differences, you need to take a look at them individually.

Memory Care – Covering the Basics

Memory care ensures a properly structured and safe living environment for individuals with dementia or Alzheimer’s. Residents get routines meant to mitigate their stress. They also get meals and aid with peculiar undertakings.

The staff is here to take care of their residents, suggest activities and programs that would stimulate their memory. They engage people so that they can feel at ease. Overall, memory care services typically feature:

  • Structured layouts
  • Dietary and social support
  • Reduced staff-to-residence ratio
  • Peer support groups
  • Cognitive therapies and treatments

The main difference is the living environment. Memory care units don’t have a kitchenette or a kitchen. This is for safety reasons.

Assisted Living – Laying Out the Details

Although individuals living in an assisted living facility might obtain little help with their daily routines, they still keep their independence. These are a go-to choice for those in the early stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s. Only if that resident doesn’t need intensive medical treatment or support for serious health issues, this option features assistance with:

  • Mobility and transportation
  • Dressing and bathing
  • Medicine administration, handling, and monitoring
  • Meal preparation

Because assisted living doesn’t involve additional supervision and care, the fees are relatively lower than memory care. But, their rates will still vary based on the type of living space you selected with memory care (i.e., shared or private) and the location of the facility.

What Do They Have in Common?

Overall, both options provide basic medical monitoring, supervised care, and assistance with regular activities. That includes maintaining hygiene, mobility and helping the patients dress. Other services that come with both of these options are:

  • 24h security and supervision
  • Call system for emergencies
  • Access to medical care
  • Laundry and housekeeping
  • Fun programs and activities
  • Exercising and health-focused programs
  • Transportation
  • Three meals a day with snacks

When a person wants to make the most of these services, they usually have to pay extra for some of them. That means adding more to the base monthly rate. Furthermore, memory care typically incorporates structured and well-designed programs. They help residents who are struggling with dementia or Alzheimer’s. The programs create a practical environment where seniors can thrive.

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Manda Ayoub

Manda is a nurse and a licensed nursing home Administrator in the state of Michigan. She has worked through all aspects of the post-acute healthcare industry, holding various positions including Infection Control Nurse, In-service Director, Quality Assurance Director, Risk Manager and a Licensed Nursing Home Administrator.