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Memory Care vs. Assisted Living

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Navigating the different aspects of senior care can be complicated and oftentimes confusing for anyone. One crucial—if basic—decision is the kind of care that an older loved one should receive once they can no longer live on their own. Should they enter assisted living? Or would memory care be the more appropriate choice? What is the difference between these two kinds of care?

All-in-all, the answer is fairly simple. Memory care offers in-depth aid to people with specific cognitive issues, while assisted living provides help with a variety of daily living activities. In broader terms, assisted living focuses on helping a person with daily tasks while allowing them to maintain their independence, while memory care prioritizes preserving a person’s mental functioning in a safe and structured environment. Each service is thus appropriate for seniors in different circumstances and situations.

All American Assisted Living at Tinton Falls supports and cares for people who might require both assisted living and/or memory care. For more information, see our Assisted Living page and our Memory Care page.

What Do Assisted Living & Memory Care Have In Common?

Both assisted living and memory care are intended to help enhance and maintain a person’s quality of life. They’re also both designed to preserve as much of a person’s independence as possible. Here are a few specifics that assisted living and memory care have in common.

  • Safety and security: Assisted living and memory care facilities are safe and secure communities for all of their residents.
  • Trained staff: Assisted living and memory care both use qualified nurses and nurse assistants. Staff at memory care facilities have extra training in caring for people with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other cognitive issues.
  • Activities: Both assisted living and memory care facilities offer a wide variety of activities designed to keep your loved one happy and engaged. These can include games rooms, fitness centers, swimming pools, crafts areas, music, gardens, and even outdoor excursions. Memory care facilities offer activities that provide extra emphasis on building and retaining cognitive function.
  • Transportation: Assisted living and memory care facilities both provide transportation to and from events like medical appointments, errands, and social outings.

What Is Assisted Living?

Assisted living is when people receive help with the activities of daily living while otherwise retaining their independence. People who use assisted living generally don’t need around-the-clock supervision or intensive medical care, but may need support with some of their day-to-day tasks.

Assisted living services can include:

  • Meal preparation and dining
  • Personal care (bathing, dressing, and medication management)
  • Housekeeping and laundry
  • Transportation and social activities, with many opportunities to come and go from their assisted living community

When Should I Consider Assisted Living?

Assisted living might be the right choice if your loved one experiences any of the following:

  • A change in driving abilities
  • Difficulty keeping up the house or yard
  • Difficulty preparing meals
  • Chronic health problems requiring regular care
  • Lack of mobility, especially if there’s an increased risk of falls
  • Isolation and depression
Two women doing a crossword puzzle.

What Is Memory Care?

Memory care helps individuals living with cognitive issues like memory loss, Alzheimer’s, and other forms of dementia to manage their daily lives. Memory care can be seen as a specific type of assisted living. Normally, people who qualify for memory care have a medical diagnosis of memory loss that presents significant challenges to daily living.

Because our memories affect so many areas of our lives, memory care can be much more involved than other forms of assisted living. Some of the services that fall under the “memory care” label are:

  • 24-hour supervised care, with extra attention on safety to prevent wandering
  • Structured programs designed to reduce confusion and agitation
  • Activities that preserve cognitive health and promote socialization
  • Staff who are specially trained in dementia care

When Should I Consider Memory Care?

Memory care might be the right choice if your loved one experiences any of the following:

  • Lapses in memory, especially combined with confusion, repetitive questions, and/or changes in their mood
  • Increasing agitation, including abusive, aggressive, or violent behavior
  • Isolating themselves and withdrawing from others
  • Loss of direction or sense of time
  • Increased risk of injury, like forgetting to turn off stove burners
  • Forgetting day-to-day tasks like paying bills
  • Forgetting self-care tasks like taking medication and/or personal hygiene

How All American Assisted Living Can Help

All American Assisted Living at Tinton Falls can provide the information you need to help you make the appropriate care arrangements for your loved one. To learn more about assisted living and memory care, contact us today.

Written by kaplan

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