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Assisted Living vs. Memory Care: Learn the Differences

Nurse helping senior woman with health information

When it comes to choosing the right long-term care for your loved one, you know it’s an important decision to make. Senior living can vary significantly by location, levels of care provided, amenities, services and costs. So, how do you go about making the right decision for your loved one’s care?

One of the best places to start is looking at a couple of growing areas in senior living. Memory care and assisted living communities provide various important benefits for you to explore.

Living Options for Seniors: Assisted Living vs. Memory Care

Since assisted living and memory care provide many of the same services, you’ll want to explore which option will benefit your loved one’s unique needs. Both levels of care provide comfortable housing, nutritious meals, dynamic services, and assistance with daily living. However, memory care is specifically intended for individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia.

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

  • Staff Training. Assisted living communities offer the same staff members as memory care communities, including doctors, nurses, and certified assistants. In memory care, though, the training is more specialized to help people living with dementia. Training involves helping older adults manage the symptoms of dementia, including memory lapses, depression, anxiety, confusion and aggression. If your loved one is experiencing memory issues, a memory care community is probably the right option to consider.
  • Activities and Amenities. Assisted living communities offer a variety of services, amenities, and activities geared toward helping residents enjoy life and maintain independence. These amenities include fitness centers, beauty salons/barbershops, 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 or other dementia. These features include clearly defined common areas, color-coded walls, memory-focused activities, and more.
  • Safety. Senior living communities provide assisted living residents with 24/7 care and support. Since memory care residents require a little additional support, communities typically feature a higher level of safety and security to help with issues associated with wandering, aggression, or confusion.
  • 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 regarding nutrition and dining.

How to Decide Between Assisted Living and Memory Care

Choosing between assisted living and memory care is an important decision. Luckily, you don’t have to make it alone. By meeting with your loved one’s physician and speaking directly with the senior living community you’re considering, you can ask questions and come to a decision.

If your loved one is experiencing frequent issues with memory, aggression, depression, or wandering, memory care is likely the right choice for their unique needs. If your loved one needs support with the activities associated with daily living and medication management, assisted living might be a better choice.

The goal is to help your loved one improve their quality of life and maintain some level of independence for as long as possible.

The Right Level of Care for Your Loved One and You

At Walnut Place, we can work with you to find the right level of care for your loved one. Since we offer both long-term assisted living and memory care on our campus in North Dallas, Texas, you can rest assured your loved one will have their needs met.

At our memory care community, you’ll have the peace of mind that comes from knowing your loved one will receive highly specialized, quality memory care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in a secure, comfortable environment. We invite you to contact us to learn more about our unique levels of care and schedule a visit to Walnut Place with your loved one.