It can be hard to know when the right time is to move your loved one to move into assisted living or memory care. You may feel like you’re making the wrong decision if you choose assisted living instead of memory care, or vice versa. Oftentimes, people feel like they’re being rushed into a decision.

We’ve created this blog to help you compare assisted living and memory care so that you can make the best decision for your loved one. After all, it’s important to choose the right level of care so that your loved one can age comfortably and receive the best possible care.

What Are the Differences Between Assisted Living and Memory Care?

Assisted living is a type of senior housing that provides assisted living services to residents. These services can include help with activities of daily living (ADLs), such as bathing, dressing, and eating. The main focus of assisted living is to help residents maintain their independence as much as possible.

In assisted living, residents do not receive extensive medical care. Memory care, on the other hand, is a type of assisted living that is specifically designed for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. Memory care facilities provide comprehensive medical care and assistance with ADLs. They also offer specialized activities and therapies to help residents maintain their cognitive function.

Memory care facilities were established with the needs of Alzheimer’s and dementia patients in mind. This means that these facilities are typically better equipped to deal with the unique challenges that these residents face.

When deciding between assisted living and memory care, it is important to consider the level of care your loved one needs. If your loved one requires extensive medical care and assistance with ADLs at the same time, memory care may be the best option. However, if your loved one is still relatively independent and only needs help with a few ADLs, assisted living may be a better fit.

Staff and Amenities

The staff at assisted living and memory care facilities are also trained differently. The staff at assisted living facilities are typically trained in first aid and CPR so that they can provide basic medical care.

The staff at memory care facilities, on the other hand, are specifically trained in dementia and Alzheimer’s care. They know how to deal with changes in behavior and how to provide the best possible care for residents with these conditions.

In terms of amenities, assisted living facilities typically offer more social and recreational activities than memory care facilities. This is because the residents of assisted living facilities are usually more independent and mobile than those in memory care.

Memory care facilities, on the other hand, often have special features like secured outdoor areas and wander guards to prevent residents from leaving the premises. However, memory care facilities are not without their own amenities. Some of the features you might find in a memory care facility include:

  • Specialized activities and programs designed to stimulate the mind such as music therapy, art therapy, and pet therapy
  • A safe and secure environment with around-the-clock supervision
  • Access to medical care and assistance with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, and eating
  • Nursing staff on site 24/hours a day
  • Medication management
  • Individualized care plans

Benefits Of Assisted Living Facilities

As mentioned above, assisted living facilities are designed to provide seniors with the assistance they need to live independently. Some of the benefits of assisted living include:

  • A home-like environment
  • A sense of community and social interaction
  • Access to amenities and activities
  • Assistance with activities of daily living
  • Safety and security features
  • Nutritious meals
  • Housekeeping and laundry services

These are just some of the benefits that assisted living facilities offer. When choosing an assisted living facility, it’s important to tour the facility and ask plenty of questions to make sure it’s the right fit for your loved one.

Despite the benefits of assisted living facilities, they are not made to care for people with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. For people with these conditions, a memory care facility is a better option. A patient with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia will not be able to thrive in an assisted living facility because they require more specialized care.

Benefits of Memory Care Facilities

As mentioned above, memory care facilities are intended to care for people with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other forms of memory loss. Some of the benefits of memory care facilities include:

  • A safe and secure environment
  • A structured routine
  • One-on-one attention from caregivers
  • Activities designed to stimulate the mind
  • Nutritious meals and snacks
  • A supportive community of peers and staff

These benefits make it apparent that memory care facilities are a much better option for those suffering from memory loss than assisted living facilities. If you have a loved one who is struggling with memory loss, be sure to research your options and find the best possible solution for their needs.

How Much Does Each Type Of Facility Cost?

Memory care facilities are more expensive compared to assisted living, but the price tag is worth it when you consider the quality of care and services that are provided. On average, assisted living costs $4,000 per month while memory care facilities cost around $5,000 per month. However, the cost of memory care can go higher depending on factors like location and additional amenities and services.

Memory care facilities cost more because they provide a higher level of care and services. These facilities are designed specifically for those with memory loss, which means they offer around-the-clock supervision, engaging activities, and personalized care plans.

Plus, the amenities and equipment in memory care facilities are top-of-the-line to ensure the safety and well-being of residents. However, the cost of living in a memory care facility is worth it since it provides peace of mind for both the resident and their family.

In assisted living facilities, residents have more freedom and independence. They can come and go as they please and don’t require as much supervision. Assisted living facilities also provide social activities and outings, but they don’t typically offer the same level of care or services as memory care facilities.

The bottom line is that each type of facility offers different levels of care and services. It’s important to do your research to figure out which one is the best fit for your loved one’s needs. We also recommend you reach out to your specific facility to get a closer estimate for your loved one’s stay. 

How Do I Determine Which Facility Is Right For My Loved One?

An elderly woman sorting out a jigsaw puzzle

Activity can improve brain function. Elderly woman sitting at table and sorting jigsaw puzzle pieces, free space game.

At first, it can be confusing trying to decide which type of facility is right for your loved one. Here are a few questions to ask yourself that can help you make the decision:

  • What level of care does my loved one need?
  • What kind of budget do I have to work with?
  • What kind of amenities and activities is my loved one interested in?

The clearest indicator that your loved one needs to stay in a memory care facility is if he or she has been diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. If your loved one only needs help with things like bathing, dressing, and eating, then an assisted living facility will suffice.

However, it’s important to note that there are instances when residents in an assisted living facility would have to move to a memory care facility, especially if their condition deteriorates and they need more constant supervision.

When it comes to budget, assisted living is typically cheaper than memory care but the monthly price tag will still depend on the location, type of facility, and level of care required.

Conclusion

In general, assisted living facilities are designed for people who don’t need 24/7 medical care but do need some assistance with their daily activities.

On the other hand, memory care facilities provide 24/7 supervision and specialized care for people with dementia or Alzheimer’s. These facilities are equipped with security features to prevent residents from wandering off. Memory care facilities also have staff trained to deal with cognitive issues and behavioral changes.

It’s important to understand the differences between assisted living and memory care before making a decision about which type of facility is right for your loved one. Both have their pros and cons, and the best choice for your family will ultimately depend on your loved one’s specific needs and situation.