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What Is the Difference Between Assisted Living & Memory Care? 

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A female caregiver smiling while assisting an older woman who is laying down in bed

When it comes to senior care, there are various options available depending on an individual’s specific needs. 2 common types of senior communities include assisted living and memory care. 

Assisted living is a type of long-term residential care for seniors who need some help with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, eating, and medication management. This type of care is ideal for seniors who are still fairly independent but require assistance with certain tasks. 

Memory care, on the other hand, is a specialized type of assisted living that caters to individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. This type of care focuses on providing a safe and supportive environment for those experiencing cognitive decline, as well as offering specialized programs and activities designed to improve cognitive function and quality of life. 

But what exactly sets assisted living apart from memory care? Here are some key differences between the 2:

  • Level of care
  • Caregiver training
  • Community design
  • Specialized activities and programs
  • Eligibility requirements

Level of Care 

The main difference between assisted living and memory care is the level of care provided. Assisted living communities typically offer a less involved level of care compared to memory care. This means that assisted living residents are generally more independent and require less assistance with daily activities. Memory care communities provide round-the-clock care and supervision for residents.

Caregiver Training

Due to the different needs of their residents, staff members at assisted living communities and memory care communities receive different levels of training. Assisted living staff typically include licensed nurses trained to assist with daily tasks, while memory care staff undergo extensive training on how to provide specialized care for individuals with dementia, including managing challenging situations.

Community Design

Assisted living communities and memory care communities also differ in terms of their physical layout and design. Assisted living communities are designed to promote independence and have a more homelike atmosphere, with individual apartments or rooms for residents. Memory care communities, on the other hand, are designed with safety and security in mind, with easy-to-navigate and secure spaces that promote comfort and ease.

A  female caregiver patiently assists the senior woman in solving a jigsaw puzzle, fostering a delightful and engaging activity that brings joy and mental stimulation to their shared time.

Specialized Activities & Programs

While both assisted living and memory care communities offer activities and programs for their residents, memory care communities often have specialized activities geared toward individuals with Alzheimer’s and dementia. These may include cognitive exercises and sensory stimulation to help maintain cognitive function and reduce anxiety. Memory care communities may also offer supportive therapy sessions for families of residents to better understand the disease and how to support their loved ones.

Eligibility Requirements

While assisted living communities generally have minimal eligibility requirements, memory care communities may have stricter criteria for admission. This is because individuals with dementia often require a higher level of care, making them more likely to be in need of specialized memory care services.

Transitioning from Assisted Living to Memory Care

As cognitive decline progresses, a person may need to transition from assisted living to memory care. Some assisted living communities may have a designated memory care program or work closely with nearby memory care communities, making this transition smoother for residents.

Personalized & Compassionate Care at Bellevue Village at Woodstock

While assisted living and memory care both provide support and assistance for older adults, there are significant differences between the 2. Understanding these differences can help families make an informed decision about which option will best meet the needs of their loved ones. Bellevue Village at Woodstock offers both assisted living and memory care options, providing a variety of care options for seniors with changing needs. We understand the challenges families face when caring for a loved one with health concerns and are committed to providing exceptional care that elevates your loved ones’ quality of life. Contact us today to learn more about assisted living and memory care. 

Written by Angela Clark

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