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Assisted Living vs. Memory Care: Learn the Differences

March 9, 2022

Senior woman with caregiver sitting on bench

If you’ve started doing some research on senior living communities for your loved one, you know they can differ significantly by location, levels of care, amenities and cost.

Before you get overwhelmed by your options, it’s essential to learn the differences between the levels of care provided at senior living communities so you can make an informed decision for your loved one’s future. Memory care and assisted living are two growing areas of senior living. By exploring the unique benefits of each level of care, you can help your loved one get the support they need.

Living Options for Seniors: Assisted Living vs. Memory Care

Since assisted living and memory care provide many of the same services, it’s important to dig a little deeper. Both options offer comfortable housing, nutritious meals, and support with the activities of daily living. Memory care is also intended to provide specialized care and support for individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.

Some of the other key differences between assisted living and memory care include:

  • Staff Training. Memory care and assisted living communities share similar teams, 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 help individuals who deal with swallowing issues, wandering, anxiety and depression. If your loved one is experiencing memory lapses, anxiety, or repetitive behaviors, memory care is probably the right option.
  • Activities and Amenities. While all senior living communities offer different activities and amenities, most include fitness centers, beauty salons/barber shops, transportation services, and more. Memory care communities provide many of those same amenities, plus they have amenities to support the special needs of individuals living with Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia. These features include clearly defined common areas, color-coded walls, memory-focused activities, and more.
  • Safety and security. 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.
  • Nutritious dining. Both assisted living and memory care communities typically provide residents three meals a day, whether in restaurant-type settings or common areas. Memory care communities offer this same service, along with taking 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

Deciding between assisted living and memory care doesn’t have to be complicated. By meeting with your loved one’s primary care provider, you can discuss the best options based on the type of support your loved one needs the most.

The Right Level of Care for Your Loved One and You

At Monticello West, we wholeheartedly believe aging is a natural process but not the end of a story. We offer both long-term assisted living apartments and memory care support for individuals living with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.

We encourage you to learn more about our Dallas, Texas, senior living community and to speak with us directly to help you learn more about the best living options for your loved one. Contact us today to learn more or to schedule a tour.

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