If you’re the primary caregiver for an elderly parent or loved one and have been struggling to keep up with their increasing needs, it may be time to consider assisted living. However, if assisted living isn’t providing the level of care that your loved one needs, it may be time to consider memory care or a nursing home. In this blog, we’ll discuss the differences between these three levels of care and help you determine which is the best option for your loved one.
Assisted Living vs. Nursing Homes vs. Memory Care: Which One Is Right For My Loved One?
Choosing the right type of care for your senior loved one can be a difficult decision. You want to make sure that they’re getting the best possible care while also respecting their wishes and maintaining their independence as much as possible. To help you make this decision, let’s take a look at the three most common types of care available for elderly adults: assisted living, nursing homes, and memory care.
As we age, we all hope to maintain our independence for as long as possible. But there may come a time when we need some assistance with the activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, and eating. That’s where assisted living comes in.
Assisted living is a type of senior housing that provides personal care services to residents who need help with activities of daily living. Assisted living facilities are regulated by state law, and each state has its own definition of assisted living.
In general, assisted living residents live in their own private apartments or rooms and have access to a wide range of services and amenities, including:
- 24-hour security
- Social and recreational activities
However, assisted living is not for everyone. Some residents may require more care than assisted living can provide. When this happens, it’s time to consider memory care or a nursing home.
Memory care is a type of care that is specifically designed for people with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other memory impairments. Memory care facilities are staffed with trained professionals who provide assistance with activities of daily living and also offer specialized programs and services to help residents maintain their cognitive abilities.
For instance, specialized programs such as reminiscence therapy use sensory stimulation to help residents recall memories from the past. This can be done through the use of photos, music, and other objects that are familiar to the resident. This type of program is only offered in memory care facilities and not in assisted living communities.
Other services that are offered in memory care include around-the-clock supervision, medication management, and nursing care. These services are important for people with memory impairments because they require more assistance than what is typically available in assisted living.
A nursing home is a long-term care facility that provides 24-hour nursing care for people who cannot be cared for at home or in an assisted living facility. Nursing homes are also sometimes called skilled nursing facilities or SNFs.
Nursing homes provide a higher level of care than assisted living communities because they have on-site staff who are trained to provide medical and nursing care. Residents in nursing homes typically require more hands-on assistance with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, and eating. They also usually require more medical care than assisted living residents.
If you’re not sure whether your loved one needs assisted living or memory care, nursing homes are always an option. Nursing homes provide the highest level of care for people who need constant supervision and medical attention. If you think a nursing home might be the right choice, talk to your loved one’s doctor or a geriatrician for more information.
What Are The Signs That Indicate That Assisted Living Is Not Enough For Your Loved One?
You will be able to tell if assisted living is not enough for your loved one if they are:
Losing weight or becoming malnourished
One of the main indicators that assisted living is not enough for your loved one is if they are losing weight or becoming malnourished.
Some of the reasons why your loved one may not be eating enough even if they are in an assisted living facility include:
- They are not able to feed themselves
- They have difficulty swallowing
- They are depressed
If you notice that your loved one is not eating or losing weight, it’s important to talk to their doctor to see if there is a medical reason for it. If there is no medical reason, then assisted living may not be the right fit and it may be time to consider a facility that can better meet their needs, such as memory care or a nursing home.
Suffering from depression
Another sign that assisted living is not enough is if your loved one is suffering from depression. This can be manifested in many ways, such as:
- They withdraw from activities they used to enjoy
- They isolate themselves
- They have a change in sleep patterns
- They lose interest in their appearance
If you notice any of these changes, it’s important to talk to their doctor and see if there is a medical reason for the depression. If not, then assisted living may not be the right fit and it’s time to consider other options.
After all, assisted living facilities do not have the same level of care as nursing homes or memory care facilities. So, if your loved one needs more individualized care, it’s time to look into other options.
Not taking their medications as prescribed
Assisted living facilities provide a certain level of care, but they are not equipped to handle patients who need more 24/7 supervision.
If you notice that your loved one is not taking their medications as prescribed or if they are forgetting to take their medications altogether, it’s time to consider a nursing home or memory care facility.
Both of these types of facilities will have staff on hand to make sure that residents are taking their medications as prescribed. They are also more equipped to handle any medical emergencies that may arise.
If your loved one is falling frequently, assisted living is probably not the right fit. Falls can be serious, especially for older adults, and assisted living staff may not be able to provide the level of care your loved one needs.
Memory care or a nursing home will be a better option, as these facilities have staff trained to deal with falls and other medical emergencies.
Changes in mood or behavior
If you notice your loved one is acting out of character, it could be a sign that they are not getting the care they need. Memory care or a nursing home will be a better option, as these facilities have staff trained to deal with changes in mood or behavior.
If you’re not sure whether assisted living, memory care, or nursing home is right for your loved one, talk to their doctor. They will be able to assess your loved one’s needs and make a recommendation.
How Can You Make The Transition Smoother For Your Loved One?
If ever you have already determined that it’s time for memory care or a nursing home, there are ways to make the transition smoother for your loved one:
Talk to your loved one about the decision and involve them in the process as much as possible.
It’s important to communicate with your loved one about the change and why it’s happening. Try to visit the facility together before moving day so that your loved one can get familiar with their new surroundings.
On moving day, help them settle into their new room and introduce them to the staff. Making sure your loved one is comfortable in their new home is crucial for a smooth transition.
Make sure that your loved one has enough things to keep them occupied in their new environment.
This could include bringing along favorite items from home, such as pictures or books. You could also bring their favorite food or snacks to make them feel more at ease.
It’s also important to keep in mind that your loved one may not adjust to their new surroundings immediately. It may take some time for them to get used to their new home and routine. Be patient and understanding during this transition period.
Do not forget to visit your loved one
Of course, you have to make time to visit your loved one in their new assisted living facility, nursing home, or memory care unit.
It’s important to stay involved in their life and to keep up with how they’re doing. This can be a difficult adjustment for both you and your loved one, but through your efforts, your loved one will soon feel more comfortable and at home.
If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to the staff of the assisted living facility, nursing home, or memory care unit. They are there to help you and your loved one through this challenging time.
The decision to move your loved one into an assisted living facility, nursing home, or memory care unit is not an easy one. But with the proper research and support, you can make sure that your loved one receives the best possible care.
Make sure to be attentive to the signs that indicate that assisted living is no longer the best option for your loved one. With your help, they can receive the care they need to live a happy and healthy life.