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Senior Living Options: Understanding the Differences Between Assisted Living and Memory Care

According to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, around 70% of adults older than 65 years old will need some form of assistance with the basic personal tasks of everyday life point during their lifetimes. Some of these adults will also require memory support care due to some form of memory loss or cognitive decline. Almost 50 million people have dementia worldwide, and the World Health Organization reports that new cases of around 10 million are diagnosed every year. 

Senior Living Options: What are the differences? 

Memory care and assisted living offer numerous similar services that include meals, housing, activities, and help through daily living activities such as grooming, bathing, and using the restroom. However, the main difference is that memory care specializes in seniors who have Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other forms of cognitive impairment. Furthermore, memory care communities and staff are equipped to help seniors by providing solutions that serve the resident and their families – solutions that are safe, secure, respectful and tranquil.

Care and staff training for assisted living and memory care

Memory care and assisted living communities have staff members who are experienced in supporting and caring for seniors with their day-to-day tasks. As such, they understand how to compassionately and effectively manage dementia behaviors such as aggression and wandering. They also know why it’s essential to encourage residents to remain independent while still getting the support they need. 

Safety offerings in assisted living and memory care

Assisted living communities feature daily check-ins and in-room emergency alert systems. However, due to aggression, wandering, and falls, all of which are common yet dangerous behaviors linked to dementia, seniors with any form of memory loss will have top priority, a greater staff-to-resident ratio, and increased safety measures. 

Memory care also offers calming therapy to reduce confusion and agitation that might lead to self-injury and aggression. The layouts inside memory care communities are specifically designed to prevent falls, usually caused by confusion or obstacles. 

Senior Living Amenities

While the amenities may vary significantly for each community, many assisted living communities offer: 

  • Barbershops and beauty salons
  • Pet-friendly accommodation
  • Exercise facilities
  • Courtyards and gardens
  • Arts and crafts studios
  • Game rooms
  • Libraries
  • Movie theaters
  • Transportation services

Communities for memory care also have the same amenities as the ones above and provide enclosed outdoor areas to prevent residents from wandering. More importantly, facilities for memory care also feature layout solutions to assist residents with mobility. Memory care communities feature design elements such as: 

  • Color-coded walls to make it easier for residents to find their way 
  • Shared spaces that are clearly defined
  • Outdoor gardens where patients don’t feel confined or trapped

Some communities use memory boxes placed outside the residences’ doors to make them feel at home using personalized memorabilia. 
Knowing the difference between these two types of senior living communities will help you to identify the best place for your loved one to call home. It also provides them with the right kind of assistance they may need for the rest of their lives. To learn more about Shepherd Premier Senior Living’s assisted living and memory care communities, schedule a visit or speak to an advisor today

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