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Assisted Living vs. Memory Care: Learn the Differences

A senior woman standing using a walker.

If you and your loved one are starting to explore options for long-term care, it’s common to feel slightly overwhelmed by your choices. Senior living can vary significantly in terms of location, levels of care, amenities and cost.

Assisted living and memory care are two growing areas of senior living, but what are the differences between assisted living and memory care? Before making a quick decision about your options, it’s important to explore the unique benefits each level of care provides.

Living Options for Seniors: Assisted Living vs. Memory Care

Assisted living and memory care provide many of the same services. Both senior living options will provide comfortable housing, nutritious meals, and help associated with the activities of daily living. However, memory care is designed to specialize in caring for individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease or or forms of dementia.

Make the best decision about the care of your loved one by exploring the unique differences between assisted living and memory care.

  1. Staff Training. Memory care and assisted living communities share similar staff, including doctors, nurses, and certified assistants. However, memory care communities require more specialized training to support people living with dementia. Their training is designed to support individuals who deal with swallowing issues, wandering, anxiety and depression. If your loved one is experiencing memory lapses, anxiety, or repetitive behaviors, memory care might be the right option for you to consider.
  2. Activities and Amenities. Many assisted living communities provide various amenities to make living a little easier and more enjoyable. Some of these amenities include fitness centers, beauty salons/barber shops, transportation services, and more. Memory care communities offer many of those same amenities, plus they have unique features to support the special needs of individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia. These features include clearly defined common areas, color-coded walls, memory-focused activities, and more.
  3. Safety. Assisted living communities typically offer 24/7 care and support from helpful staff. But for memory care residents, wandering, confusion and aggression can be common concerns. Because of this risk, memory care communities typically feature a higher level of safety and security for residents.
  4. Dining. Assisted living communities are designed to provide residents with three meals a day, whether in a restaurant-type setting or common area. Memory care communities offer this same service and take the extra steps to ensure residents feel a sense of independence and dignity when it comes to nutrition and dining.

How to Decide Between Assisted Living and Memory Care

One of the best ways to decide between assisted living and memory care for your loved one is to have a conversation with their primary care provider. If your loved one is experiencing issues with memory, aggression, depression, or wandering, memory care might be the right choice for their unique needs.

However, if your loved one is looking mainly for support associated with the activities of daily living and medication management, they might thrive in an assisted living community. Through assisted living, they can find the right amount of support paired with the right amount of independence.

The Right Level of Care for Your Loved One and You

At Autumn Leaves, we love helping seniors get the right level of care and providing caregiver support. We offer both long-term assisted living apartments and skilled nursing care for individuals with short- or long-term needs.

Autumn Leaves combines the independence and privacy of your own home with the 24-hour support of our helpful staff. There’s comfort in the familiar feel and intimacy of our assisted living apartments and common areas. We invite you to contact us today to learn more about assisted living in our community and schedule a visit to Autumn Leaves.