Is someone you care for living with memory loss? As a caregiver, it can be a heavy burden to bear, especially if your loved one is in denial of their disease and unable to care for themselves like they used to.
Talking to someone living with memory loss about attending a memory care environment vs. an assisted living environment can be challenging. Quite often, they are reluctant to try new things. But there are a lot of benefits—not just for the person living with memory loss, but also for the caregiver.
How do you know which option is right for you and your loved one? It all depends on the quality and quantity of care the person living with memory loss needs, as well as the challenges that lie in the future.
What Is the Difference between Assisted Living and Memory Care?
While a memory care environment and an assisted living environment both share basic living services such as daily tasks, personal care, and lodging, there are specific differences.
For example, a memory care environment has a setting that is designed to give people a sense of calmness and security. It also provides programs to help with cognitive and physical development and improve sensory challenges that memory loss can cause.
An assisted living environment can also provide services for those dealing with the early stages of memory loss diseases; however, this type of care environment is designed to offer a limited form of assisted living in these cases and may not specialize in memory loss.
When researching assisted living and memory care in your local area, remember to focus on the provided care, staff qualifications, living arrangements, meal options, and the security.
We have compiled a list of the major differences between assisted living versus memory care below.
Training of the Staff
Regular but limited nursing care
Little to no experience with dementia patients
Policies do not include specialized training for dementia patients
Staffing ratio is based on purchased package for the assisted living facility
Specialized training in the psychological and physical effects of cognitive impairments and dementia needs such as anxiety, confusion, wandering, and difficulty speaking and swallowing
High staff to patient ratio for a more customized care
24-hour highly trained compassionate care from staff that understands all dementia care needs
24-hour Licensed Nursing
Group social activities and self-lead activities for social needs
Based on independent living structure for self-entertainment
Daily living programs
Encouragement of participation
Failure-free, success-oriented activities
Reminiscence activities to stimulate memory of people and places
Restaurant-style dining with limited menu options
Eating assistance when required
Simplified options, such as finger foods available
Diets for the body and mind health
Support and assistance during meal as needed
Judgement-free, dining environment without distractions to avoid confusion
Amenities are self-directed with limited supervision
Circular structure design to avoid confusion
High-contrast environment for depth perception issues such as no shadows and colour-coded areas
Shared common amenities
Low to no security
24-hour security and monitoring
Secured building including motion sensors designed for memory and judgement lapses
Motion sensors used in every room for ongoing monitoring of support needs
Pre-structured programs often scripted based on generic research
Group instructed with limited personalized care
Art and music therapy focused on cognitive skills
Cognitive and physical fitness programs
Starting at based rate for room and board
Additional fees apply for care (a la carte care)
Mobility assistance has extra costs
Separate nursing and medication Management fees
Additional fees for tray service or deliveries to rooms
One set cost for room and board, care, and therapies based on assessed level of care
Focus on Cognitive Decline
Early stages of dementia and basic physical care
All programs, therapies, and interactions based on cognitive decline
Focus is on all stages of dementia
Management of responsive behaviours often associated with cognitive decline
When it comes to the safety and caring of a loved one who may require some form of assistance, it is best to consider all the factors. A person who is independent in most daily chores and tasks but may need a form of assistance due to limited mobility, for example, may benefit from assisted living. These environments often provide entertainment rooms for arts and crafts, music sing-a-longs, and transportation to off-site locations.
For those with signs of cognitive decline, there are services and programs within a memory care environment that will help to engage the person mentally, physically, and socially. Programs and services are designed for customized care and specialized therapies and care techniques to improve the quality of life for people living with memory loss. No one should ever feel isolated or shunned because of a limited ability to function in any way.
Signs of cognitive decline include, but are not limited to, increasing confusion, becoming lost in familiar surroundings, needing assistance with daily tasks, and the ever-increasing need for supervision. If your loved one requires support with day-to-day living and is apprehensive of being on their own, they may benefit from memory care.
Choose Memory & Company’s Respite Hotel Service for Memory Care
At Memory & Company, we focus our compassion and care on the person AND the caregivers. Our friendly and certified team offers up-to-date programs and technology to provide customized care to everyone. For the Member, we use research-based cognitive and physical programs to promote the slowing of memory loss. For the caregiver, we recognize the signs of burnout and provide a supportive, safe, and empathetic environment for everyone. Our Respite Hotels are free from judgement and guilt for the Member and the caregiver.
With Memory & Company’s respite hotel service and day programs, there is no formal diagnosis or medical referral required. Contact us today to see how our knowledgeable staff can help you and your loved one refresh, recharge, and prepare to meet each day with a renewed sense of being.