The Difference between Memory Care and Assisted Living

There are many types of senior care options on the market including independent living, assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing care (just to name a few).

Each type of senior care community is designed to provide different levels of care based on a resident’s individual needs.

For instance, your father might need a community where he can live independently, while also having his meals prepared for him each day.

On the flip side, your mother might be dealing with memory loss issues and need the assistance of skilled medical providers.

So, what type of senior living care makes sense for your loved one’s individual needs, and what’s the difference between the various levels of senior care offered?

Today, we’re answering that question regarding two communities that we often get questions about: our assisted living and memory care communities.

Let’s get right to it…

What Is an Assisted Living Community?

An assisted living community is a community that’s designed for residents who can live independently, but might need help with specific tasks.

For example, residents in our community often need assistance with…

  • Taking showers.
  • Getting dressed.
  • Getting from one place to another (mobility issues).
  • Medication reminders.
  • Making meals.

The amount of assistance needed varies on a resident-by-resident basis. Some need little to no help, while others need daily assistance to accomplish everyday tasks.

Generally, a resident will be moved to an assisted living community because…

  • It’s not safe for him to live alone (risk of falling, forgetting to turn an oven off).
  • He needs help with basic hygiene-related tasks (bathing, brushing hair).
  • He is no longer able to keep up with making meals, doing laundry, or cleaning.
  • He is isolated in his home due to not being able to drive or get around.

What Is a Memory Care Community?

Memory care communities are designed specifically for residents who are suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Residents in memory care communities often need help with…

  • Navigating from place to place in a community.
  • Remembering to eat meals and take medications.
  • Basic hygiene including changing clothes, showering, or brushing hair.

Memory care residents may move into a community at different stages during the progression of Alzheimer’s or dementia. For that reason, the amount of assistance needed by each resident may vary.

Generally, a resident will be moved to a memory care community because…

  • Her alzheimer’s or dementia has progressed past the point of her family being able to care for her.
  • It is dangerous for her to live unattended.
  • She is not able to take proper care of herself, which is affecting her health and quality of living.

Commonalities between Assisted Living and Memory Care

While the care provided in assisted living communities can greatly vary from the care provided in memory care communities, the style of living does have many commonalities.

First and foremost, memory care and assisted living communities are often provided at a single location. Once a resident moves in, he or she can expect to live out the golden years in place.

Second, both assisted living and memory communities often provide the same types of services and amenities.

At The Claiborne at West Lake, both our assisted living and memory care residents have access to…

  • Housekeeping
  • Laundry services
  • Meal plans and dining services
  • In-house movie theatre, card room, activity rooms, salon, bistro, and library
  • Cable and internet
  • Travel and entertainment opportunities outside of the community
  • Concierge services including scheduled resident transportation
  • Professional medical care with on-site RN and/or LPN
  • Spacious courtyards for outdoor activities
  • In-house physical therapy
  • Speech therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Respite care

Last, but certainly not least, both memory care and assisted living residents have the ability to participate in community activities and events that provide mental, physical, and social stimulation.

At The Claiborne at West Lake, our kind, compassionate staff do their best to ensure all residents are able to participate in activities that are fun, exciting, and engaging.

Differences between Assisted Living and Memory Care

There are two major differences between assisted living and memory care communities.

First of all, only residents with dementia or Alzheimer’s are permitted in memory care communities.

Memory care communities provide specialized medical care that is specifically for patients with memory care needs. The situations in which staff and medical care providers need to be trained for a memory care community are very different than an assisted living community.

On top of medical care, there are also additional memory care programs offered in memory care communities that are designed to help residents strengthen and preserve their memory as best as possible.

The second major difference is that memory care communities often have secured spaces for residents to ensure no one wanders off and gets lost or injured.

Both types of communities will give access for residents to enjoy common areas, game rooms, dining halls, courtyards, etc. But, memory communities have to be careful about monitoring where their residents are at all times.

If you’re in need of more information about assisted living or memory care communities, we’re happy to help.

Our Claiborne at West Lake community offers both senior living options and can give you any information you might need concerning both types of care.

Give us a call at 706-955-4549 or fill out a form here, and we’ll get you everything you need to make a confident, educated decision on behalf of your loved one.