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

Seeking long-term care for a loved one is no easy feat. According to the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living, more than 800,000 Americans reside in assisted living communities. Many of these residents are living with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. 

Assisted living and memory care offer similar services. However, it’s important to note that they are not the same. Let’s take a closer look at the difference between assisted living vs memory care—and what the best option is for your aging loved one.

What Is Assisted Living?

Assisted living communities provide seniors with personal care and support in a residential setting. Many older adults need help with activities of daily living (ADLs), such as bathing and using the bathroom, which they can get through assisted living.

What Is Memory Care Assisted Living?

There are many overlapping similarities between assisted living and memory care. The differentiating factor is specialized care and safety measures. Seniors with memory loss can experience wandering, falls, or even aggression. Memory care facilities take extra precautions to manage behaviors and prevent elopement with keypad entries and locked entrances and exits. 

Who Can Benefit from Memory Care?

Seniors suffering from progressive memory loss, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia, can benefit from memory care. Memory-enhancing activities and therapies can help boost and stimulate their cognitive skills.

Read More: When is the Right Time to Move Your Loved One Into Memory Care?

Key Differences Between Assisted Living and Memory Care

Specialized Staff Training

Assisted living and memory care members are both experienced in supporting seniors with ADLs. 

However, staff members at memory care facilities are trained to provide 24-hour personalized care to seniors with memory disorders. These caregivers are experts in preventing dangerous situations such as wandering or aggression.

Activities & Amenities

Many assisted living communities are like small cities. They often have a wide variety of amenities like gyms, beauty salons, libraries, transportation services, and more. 

Memory care facilities offer similar amenities, but the areas must be designed specifically for residents with memory loss or confusion. You can typically find color-coded walls and defined common areas.

Services Offered

Assisted living facilities offer:

  • Help with daily activities
  • Meal services
  • Care coordination
  • Medication management 
  • Exercise classes
  • Housekeeping and laundry
  • Transportation

Memory care facilities offer the same services in addition to:

  • 24-hour supervision
  • Memory-enhanced activities
  • Specialized care for Alzheimer’s and dementia
  • Secured entrances, exits, and unique layouts

Choosing Between Assisted Living and Memory Care

Seniors who do not suffer from memory loss will do fine in an assisted living facility. Some seniors in the early stages of cognitive decline can also do well in an assisted living facility, but keep in mind that memory loss is progressive. 

If your aging loved one is becoming increasingly forgetful, aggressive, wandering, or dependent on supervision, a memory care facility will be in their favor.

Read More: A Complete Checklist for Moving Into a Dementia Assisted Living Community

Compassionate Memory Care at Terra Vista of Oakbrook Terrace

Let your aging loved ones live without barriers. Terra Vista is a barrier-free, 24-hour Alzheimer’s and dementia care community dedicated to enriching the lives of the elderly. Residents of Terra Vista can engage with their surroundings in a safe, secure, and liberating way. 

Do you have an aging loved one who can benefit from memory care? Get in touch with an expert today.

Schedule a Consultation