There comes a time when elderly relatives can no longer care for themselves in their own home and require daily assistance for daily routine duties. There are also times when elderly relatives require an even higher level of assistance and attention due to an Alzheimer’s or dementia diagnosis. In these times, as you research where your elderly relative can best be cared for, you’ll see two terms come up often: Assisted Living and Memory Care. While each have similar and crossover services, they are not the same. Let’s look at what makes them different.

In an Assisted Living community, residents likely have in-room emergency alert systems and there are daily check-ins by staff. In a Memory Care facility, the need for safety is elevated as wandering, aggression and falls are more common, so facility layouts have enhanced security features like locked entrances and exits, doorbells to signal entry and exits for residents and soothing spaces with calming therapies designed to reduce agitation and confusion.

When it comes to staff skills, Assisted Living and Memory Care facilities have similar training for day-to-day tasks, but Memory Care employees have received higher levels of advanced training to provide 24-hour, person-centric care, which includes helping seniors with dementia maintain cognitive skills, a sense of self and focusing on their quality of life for as long as possible. They also manage and prevent difficult dementia behaviors. As the staff to patient ratio is smaller at Memory Care facilities, those patients get more one-on-one attention throughout a typical day.

As amenities go, Assisted Living and Memory Care facilities usually both have gyms, on-site barber shops/beauty salons, libraries and game rooms and transportation services. Memory Care facilities tend to go to a next level when it comes to decor, with color-coded walls to help memory-impaired residents find their way, along with increased options for personalization to help them feel more at home. Outdoor gardens help patients not feel confined or trapped.  

Activities and therapies are notably different for each facility, as Memory Care residents tend to receive therapeutic care within select activities, both individually and in groups designed to maintain cognitive skills with a routine schedule to provide a sense of comfort, as well as encompass physical, mental and spiritual health of residents. Music, art, pet and reminiscence therapy are examples of activities those in Memory Care partake in.

Finally, one of the biggest differences between Assisted Living and Memory Care is cost. While there are multiple factors that influence the financial impact of each, like location, room size, room occupancy size, and services provided, cost is mainly impacted on the level of care and individualized attention required. On average, a Memory Care facility stay can result in 20-25% higher costs when compared to a comparable Assisted Living Facility. Which facility is right for your loved one? Trousdale Living Communities has multiple locations that offer Assisted Living and/or Memory Care services, including locations that offer both. Talk with us about what your needs are. We’re happy to help in any way we can.