How to Decide Between Assisted Living and Memory Care


If you are the primary care provider for a spouse or a parent with dementia, there typically comes a time when you will ask yourself how to decide between assisted living and memory care. When and how this realization occurs varies greatly depending on the diagnosis and your unique family situation. In many cases, however, there comes a time when in-home care provided by a family member, friend, or professional becomes too complex and potentially unsafe for your senior loved one.

What Is Dementia?

Dementia comes in many different forms. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type that people are the most familiar with. Knowing and understanding the type of dementia your family member or loved one has may help determine how the disease will progress. Regardless of the type of dementia, changes occurring in the brain impact vital functioning skills such as language, memory, judgment, decision-making, and orientation.

If your elderly loved one has Alzheimer’s, they may have trouble speaking and walking. As the disease progresses, they may also develop difficulties with swallowing. Dementia is an irreversible disease process, and therefore it will get worse with time. Depending on the individual, this decline may be gradual or sudden. Still, an important thing to remember is that help is available outside of in-home care.

What Is Memory Care?

Memory Care at a specialized senior living community caters services to individuals with dementia. Staff in memory care assist your loved one with medications and provide meals. Also, services such as housekeeping, transportation, and activities are provided. These services are part of care and may be included in the cost of their stay.

How Do Memory Care Communities Work?

Alaska memory care communities specialize in taking care of people with dementia. Most memory care communities are attached to assisted living communities, which can sometimes make the transition from one type of care to a more advanced level of care more manageable. Although there may be people with memory difficulties living in the assisted living community, their current cognitive state does not affect their day-to-day functioning.

Memory care communities typically have a higher staff to resident ratio than assisted living, and they should also have staff trained specially in how to care for residents with dementia. Also, to help manage to wander and some of the other common symptoms of dementia and related illnesses, many memory care units are locked and are accessible with a code.

How Does 24-Hour Care Work?

If you provide in-home care to a loved one with dementia, you have likely realized this is a full-time job. As their disease progresses, they are more likely to wander, struggle with memory and orientation, and in some cases, become aggressive. Many families who choose to care for their loved ones at home find initial care requirements are only a few hours a day. But before long, they progress to 24-hour care. 24-hour care means a caregiver at home every hour of the day, including the overnight hours.

At a memory care community, 24-hour care is provided by caring, compassionate, and highly trained staff who understand the needs of your senior loved one. While deciding to place your loved one in a memory care unit may be difficult, knowing that your loved one receives such high-level care can often help lessen the stress of knowing you are obligated to provide day-to-day care. In addition, as cognitive abilities change and memories fade, it may become more emotionally challenging to provide one-on-one in-home care to your loved one. When you have reached this point, it may be time to consider memory care.

When to Consider Memory Care in Anchorage

It is not uncommon for families to wait too long to seek help. Understandably, we want to care for those we love on our own for as long as possible. But inevitably, there comes a time for everyone when the stress of being a solo in-home care provider is too much to bear. The time to consider help will be different for everyone, but the best place to start is when you realize that there are Safety or daily care concerns. In addition, there may be limits to what you, as a caregiver, can continue to do, and you may want to consider outside care if any of the following occur.

When Safety Becomes an Issue, it may be Time to Decide Between Assisted Living and Memory Care

If your loved one begins to wander or cannot safely get in and out of bed without assistance, you may want to consider additional care to help them meet their daily needs. Difficulty navigating the stairs or requiring assistance with bathing, dressing, housekeeping, and other activities of daily living may also indicate that in-home care provided by a loved one may no longer be appropriate.

Medications and medical appointments are a pervasive aspect of aging, and your senior loved one with dementia will need to be able to make it to these appointments. If they fail to take their medications correctly (or at all), this could severely impact their overall health. Also, if they cannot drive or get to medical appointments, lack of medical attention could compromise their health.

At a memory care community like Baxter Senior Living, our highly trained staff will assist your loved ones with their daily living activities. We understand that each patient is different and has different care needs. Accordingly, we create individual care plans for our residents.

The decision between memory care and 24-hour in-home care is very personal. It is difficult to accept that your family members’ current situation will inevitably change. In conjunction with these changes, your needs and capabilities as a caregiver will also change. Contact Baxter Senior Living today if you have reached the stage where you need help to care for your loved one.


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