According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, almost 70% of persons over the age of 65 will require long-term care at some point in their lives. Many people who need senior care are experiencing cognitive decline or memory loss. According to the World Health Organization, about 50 million people worldwide have dementia, with about 10 million new cases diagnosed each year.
You’re faced with difficult choices if you’re seeking for long-term care for an ageing loved one. In terms of levels of care, amenities, staff training, and expense, senior living differs widely.
What is the difference between assisted living and memory care facilities, two popular and rapidly rising types of senior living? Before choosing between assisted living and memory care, it’s crucial to understand the differences between the two types of care.
Understanding the Difference Between Assisted Living and Memory Care
Memory care and assisted living Many of the same services are available in senior living facilities, including housing, meals, and assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as bathing, grooming, and toileting. Memory care, on the other hand, caters to elders suffering from memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease, and other forms of dementia.
To make the greatest decision for your ageing loved one, learn more about the distinctions between assisted living and memory care.
Safety elements such as in-room emergency alarm systems and daily check-ins may be available in assisted living settings. However, enhanced safety is a big worry for elders with memory loss, as wandering, violence, and falls are all frequent but harmful dementia behaviors.
Memory care institutions have a strong focus on environmental security. This includes keypad entry, obscured exits, and doorbells that signal entering and exiting, as well as other wandering-prevention technologies like keypad entries, obscured exits, and doorbells that signal entering and exiting. Facility layouts incorporate design aspects that minimize confusion to prevent injuries from falls. Furthermore, memory care homes provide calming therapies in relaxing environments to help residents cope with irritation and disorientation, which can lead to aggressiveness or self-injury.
Staff education and care
Both assisted living and memory care staff members have prior experience assisting residents with day-to-day duties. Memory care personnel, on the other hand, are well-equipped and trained to provide 24-hour, person-centered care, allowing seniors with dementia to preserve their cognitive skills, sense of self, and quality of life for as long as possible.
Memory care professionals know how to prevent and manage problematic dementia behaviours like wandering and aggressiveness in a caring and effective manner. They also know how to strike a balance between encouraging residents to be as self-sufficient as possible while yet providing the assistance they require. Furthermore, because memory care has a larger staff-to-resident ratio than assisted living and other types of elder care, residents receive more one-on-one attention throughout the day.
Many assisted living homes offer the following amenities:
- Beauty salons and barber shops
- Outdoor spaces, such as gardens or courtyards
- Pet-friendly lodgings
- Transportation services
- Library and gaming room
- Arts and crafts studio
- Spas or relaxation rooms
Many of these amenities are common in memory care settings, but the most significant characteristic is that you’ll find unique layouts and design features to help orient individuals and prevent confusion. In memory care communities, design aspects may include:
- Color-coded walls to help persons with memory loss find their way around
- Clearly defined common areas
- Increased chances for personalization, such as memory boxes outside residents’ doors to guide them and make them feel at home
- Increased opportunities for personalization, such as memory boxes outside residents’ doors to lead them and make them feel at home
Therapies and activities
Assisted living homes are built around active seniors who may require assistance with daily duties. Assisted living, with this population in mind, provides a plethora of social options. Even better, a variety of organized activities — such as exercise classes, book groups, games, bingo, karaoke, trips, and more — are frequently offered to cater to a variety of interests.
Memory care includes both group and individual activities and therapies tailored to the needs of seniors suffering from memory loss. Staff plan programs to help people preserve cognitive skills and meticulously manage calendars to offer a sense of familiarity and routine.
Personalized care, activities customized to residents’ interests, and programs that often cover all elements of health: physical, mental, and spiritual, are all common features of many memory care facilities.
- Music therapy, which promotes relaxation and reduces agitation in seniors with Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia
- Art therapy, which may help slow cognitive decline
- Reminiscence therapy, which uses senses such as smell, taste, touch, and sight to help seniors remember people, events, and places
- Pet therapy for companionship
Location, room size, whether a place is shared, and what services are provided are all factors that influence the cost of assisted living and memory care. Aside from that, expenses are determined individually for each type of care.
- Most assisted living communities offer a monthly base rate that includes room and board, three meals per day, most activities (outings may be extra), weekly housekeeping, and transportation to and from medical appointments. ADL aid is frequently an extra payment, depending on how much assistance is required. A one-bedroom apartment in assisted living costs $4,300 per month on average. Pricing varies depending on the neighbourhood and location, and can range from $3,000 to $6,500 per month.
- Memory care communities or units provide specialised care and nursing services that are often not available in assisted living communities. As a result, memory care is more expensive, with a monthly median price of $5,250. However, prices vary depending on the community and location, and can range from $3,800 to $7,395 per month or more.
Who is eligible for assisted living?
Assisted living can benefit older persons who are active but require healthy meals and assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as showering, dressing, or using the toilet. Seniors who want a comfortable, maintenance-free existence with opportunities to stay engaged and connected with a community of like-minded peers can benefit from an assisted living community’s lifestyle.
Who is a candidate for memory care?
While some seniors with early- to mid-stage dementia may benefit from assisted living, as the disease develops and symptoms deteriorate, many families choose memory care. Memory care facilities are designed to create a pleasant, comfortable, and easy-to-navigate atmosphere, which helps to lessen confusion and agitation.
Memory-enhancing therapy and specialized care provided by these communities enable seniors with memory loss keep their cognitive abilities for as long as feasible. To avoid straying, seniors with memory loss benefit from round-the-clock care and supervision, strengthened security measures, and secured entrances and exits.
Memory care and assisted living are combined in this facility.
Memory care is also available within assisted living facilities. For patients with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, several assisted living complexes feature specialist care units.
In a separate wing or floor of a residential community, these apartments normally provide 24-hour supervised care, as well as all the therapies and facilities associated with memory care. As a result, a senior with early-stage dementia may be able to transfer to an assisted living facility initially, then to memory care later if necessary. This option may make the transition to memory care easier for seniors by allowing them to keep their existing assisted living friendships and staff interactions.
What should you do if you can’t decide between assisted living and memory care?
If memory loss is not an immediate issue for your loved one, assisted living may be an excellent choice. It’s a terrific option for seniors who are social and independent but may need some assistance throughout the day.
However, if cognitive decline is a worry, consider the following questions to find the greatest suit for your ageing relative:
- Is my loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or another kind of dementia prone to wandering?
- Do they engage in confrontational conduct like yelling or hitting?
- Does my relative require a great deal of guidance throughout the day?
- Do they take items that aren’t theirs?
- Does my loved one require round-the-clock supervision?
- Is my elderly relative suffering from sundown syndrome?
- Does my family member require a great deal of assistance with mobility? Do they walk on their own or do they need a walker or wheelchair that they can’t use?
- Do they get lost in places they’ve been before?
- Does my significant other forget to lock or close doors?
- Do they leave things on stoves or cause other types of fires?
- Has their judgement deteriorated to the extent where they dress, speak, or behave inappropriately?
- Has my loved one gotten estranged from me?
- Do they frequently lose things or must retrace their steps?
If you responded “yes” to any of these questions and are concerned about the safety of your loved one, memory care may be the best solution.
Contact one of our specialists if you’re not sure which care option is best for you. They’re senior living experts who will listen to your family’s requirements and concerns to assist you in finding the best senior care option for your loved one.