Choosing: Assisted Living vs Memory Care

Are you caring for an aging parent or an older loved one? Do you sometimes experience caregiver burnout?

If so, you’re not alone. Experts estimate that 52% of elderly Americans need some type of long-term care. In-home care may suffice for now, but what happens when you need more support than in-home services can provide?

Rest assured that a nursing home is not your only option. An assisted living and memory care facility could offer the perfect balance between independence and personalized attention.

We understand that you want your loved one to have the best possible care, so we’re here to help. In this post, we’ll help you understand the differences between assisted living vs memory care, as well as the advantages of each service.

Keep reading so you can make an informed decision about your loved one’s future.

What Is Assisted Living?

Assisted living facilities combine housing, health care, and support services to those who need long-term care. They’re designed for seniors who are still active and but can no longer take care of themselves independently.

There’s no federal regulation for assisted living facilities, so there is some variation in what they offer. Typically, though, you can expect some or all of these services:

  • Private or shared apartment with bathroom and kitchenette
  • Housekeeping and laundry services
  • Three meals per day
  • Daily wellness checks
  • Help with daily activities such as dressing, bathing, grooming, and eating
  • Help with moving between the bed, chair, and toilet
  • Medication management
  • Transportation to medical appointments
  • Intermittent nursing services
  • Social calendar with organized group activities
  • Communal areas such as a library, gym, gardens, salon, sunroom, etc.

You’ll work with the assisted living facility to analyze your loved one’s needs and create a custom care plan based on their health and mobility.

Some things they may be able to do on their own, while they’ll need assistance with other tasks. The staff will be happy to provide any needed support while enabling residents to live as independently as possible.

What Is a Memory Care Facility?

Memory care services offer many of the same options as assisted living. However, they have extra features to ensure a safe and comfortable environment for those with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Memory care facilities are staffed 24 hours a day with nurses and caregivers who are specially trained in dementia care. They’re more secure than assisted living facilities to ensure the residents don’t wander off-premises. They’re also designed to be easy to navigate, helping residents to feel safe and calm.

In addition to the services listed above, memory care facilities usually also offer:

  • Round-the-clock care
  • Increased supervision
  • Assistance with walking
  • Redirection
  • Reminders

Activities offered at memory care facilities are designed to keep residents happy, calm, and engaged with their environment. The staff will arrange for music, games, and arts and crafts that stimulate memory and may help to slow cognitive decline.

Assisted Living vs Memory Care: What Are the Differences?

As you can see, assisted living and memory care facilities share many similarities. Let’s now consider a few differences between them to increase your understanding of each option.

Specialized Staff

Both assisted living and memory care facilities are staffed with compassionate, well-trained nurses and nursing assistants. Depending on the state, there’s a minimum staff-to-patient ratio to ensure each patient gets the personalized care they need.

Memory care services go one step further, however, by hiring staff that is specially trained in caring for those with impaired memory. Everyone from the director to the housekeepers has received training in how to safely and sympathetically care for those with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Calendar of Activities

Assisted living facilities are sure to offer a wide range of activities to keep residents entertained and active. These include events on the premises as well as organized outings to nearby attractions.

Memory care facilities design their activities with the special needs of their patients in mind. This involves careful scheduling to provide a comforting routine for seniors with memory problems. All programs and activities are tailored to cheer, calm, and engage the residents without creating anxiety.

Dining Options

Both types of facilities offer three nutritious meals a day to their residents, often in a restaurant-style setting to encourage socialization. Residents will typically have several menu options to choose from, allowing them to eat the foods they enjoy.

Memory care facilities go one step further. They may offer adaptive utensils and plates or serve finger foods to make eating easier. They also ensure that each resident gets the daily calories they need in a way that best suits their preferences.

Safety Concerns

Assisted living facilities will include basic safety features, such as wide walkways, chairs with armrests, and handrails in the bathrooms.

Memory care facilities include these features as well as enhanced security measures to keep residents safe. Door alarms, motion sensor lights, and one-touch sinks create a secure environment for those with impaired memory. Outdoor areas will be properly secured and monitored to ensure residents don’t wander off or get lost.

Memory Care vs Assisted Living: Which Will You Choose?

When it comes to assisted living vs memory care, it really depends on the needs of your loved one.

Assisted living is a wonderful option for seniors who need some assistance with daily activities but are otherwise able to care for themselves. The best memory care services go one step further to help those with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

At Baxter Senior Living, we proudly offer both types of care facilities for aging Alaskans. Our goal is to help your loved one live as full and rich a life as possible while getting the care and attention they deserve.

Would you like to learn more about our facilities and services? Give us a call at 907-891-9696 or use our online contact form to get in touch.