Assisted Living vs. Memory Care – What’s The Difference?

There are major differences between assisted living and memory care. Read on to discover what the differences are, so you can make a better choice between the two types of care for your aging parent, spouse, or partner.

Assisted living is a lifestyle option for seniors who need some help with daily living activities. In such a facility, your loved one could receive help with getting dressed, cleaning house, laundry, reminders about taking medication, and some hygiene. Residents of assisted living facilities might have the option of preparing their own meals in a private residence, or joining other residents in a dining hall, where they can get access to nutritionally planned and prepared dishes. In an assisted living facility, it’s common for some residents to require more help than others. These facilities are arranged to provide a wide range of services depending on individual levels of independence.

While it’s not true for everyone, many seniors who live at an assisted living facility are often quite active, engaging in things like card games, social dances, gardening, painting, pottery, yarn craft, and more. They may travel to nearby shops off-site via group transportation, or go shopping with fellow residents.

If your older loved one is still fairly able to take care of themselves, but not quite able to do everything all alone, an assisted living facility might make sense.

Memory care facilities provide additional assistance for people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or general dementia. In a memory care facility, you can expect that the staff is specially trained to handle the unique issues that arise with patients who struggle with memory loss. Since memory loss is progressive and sporadic, patients need varying levels of care to ensure their safety.

Memory care facilities typically provide full meal preparation, as well as extensive housekeeping and personal hygiene services. Residents aren’t generally permitted to travel off-site unless chaperoned. Special programs are often available to assist with memory, including activities that may help slow the memory loss or make it more bearable.

Memory care facilities are usually more costly than assisted living facilities, but both are usually covered by Medicare and private insurance companies.

Deciding whether your loved one needs memory care or assisted living should include the advice of their primary care physician. Consult with them about your loved one’s needs, both now and in the future.

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