Assisted Living vs. Memory Care: Differences Explained

Nurse and elderly woman

Deciding among the various senior living care choices can be a daunting task, particularly when prompt care is needed for you or your loved one—but you must be sure that you are never sacrificing quality. Two senior living care options that are frequently mixed up are assisted living and memory care.

Although both provide long-term care services, they differ in certain important ways. Continue reading to learn about the differences between these senior living communities, depending on the type of facility you choose.

The Differences in Residents

Assisted living communities are designed for individuals who require personal care assistance with instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) such as money management, cooking, housekeeping, socialization, and medication management. Some residents may also require support with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as transportation and mobility assistance.

In contrast, memory care communities cater to residents who have been diagnosed with memory-related illnesses such as Alzheimer's disease. These communities are specifically designed to provide a range of care services, including healthcare, while helping residents maintain their independence and quality of life despite their condition.

The Difference in Living Spaces

Assisted living facilities generally provide individual living spaces, which could be a private room or a shared apartment.

In contrast, memory care facilities are tailored to meet the specific needs of individuals with Alzheimer's disease or dementia. These facilities are designed to prevent residents from wandering off the premises and to promote a stress-free environment for relaxation and socialization. Patients in need of dementia care may share a room or have access to a private room with around-the-clock supervision. Today.

The Different Services Offered

Both assisted living and memory care communities offer the same basic services to help residents. These include:

  • Supervised residential care
  • Medication management
  • Assistance with activities of daily living, including showering, hygiene, dressing, and eating
  • Skilled nursing care
  • Access to higher level medical care
  • Social activities with other residents
  • Three meals a day, often in a group dining room
  • Physical therapy
  • Housekeeping
  • Laundry services
  • Transportation services
  • 24-hour security

These features are common to both assisted living communities and memory care units.

Nevertheless, memory care demands a higher degree of care to ensure the safety of residents. Personnel are trained to provide specialized care for patients with memory-related conditions. For example, a structured routine of daily activities is typically implemented to assist these patients.

The Difference in Pricing

The expenses associated with assisted living and memory care communities can vary significantly based on various factors such as the level of care needed, the amenities and activities offered, the size of the residence, and the location.

It's essential to note that assisted living is typically more expensive than independent living since it provides a higher level of care.

Memory care communities generally have the highest care costs due to the need for constant supervision and security.

It's worth considering that both assisted living and memory care options may be less costly and less stressful than in-home care. There are various ways to cover these care expenses, including private pay, Medicare or Medicaid, long-term care insurance, and other resources.

How to Choose Which One: Assisted Living or Memory Care?

Seniors who can live independently may opt for independent living or home care, which provides them with the freedom they desire.

However, if the need for care intensifies, a different living arrangement may become necessary.

If you or your loved one requires specialized senior care that you cannot provide yourself, assisted living communities may be a viable option. In cases where Alzheimer's disease or dementia is not a concern, assisted living is likely the best choice.

However, suppose Alzheimer's disease, dementia, or another cognitive impairment or disability becomes a concern, even in the early stages. In that case, a more skilled nursing facility with a specific focus on memory care or a specialized care unit for dementia patients may be a better fit.

Contact Monarch For More Help

Come see for yourself! Contact Us

Aging is a part of life, but losing independence doesn’t have to be. At Monarch Communities, we treat each resident like the unique individuals they are, and we create an environment that encourages independence for as long as possible.

Please contact us today for more information about our senior care options and cost of care or to schedule a tour.