What's the Difference Between Senior Assisted Living and Memory Care?

About one million Americans live in a senior care community, a number that is expected to double by 2030. Innovations in healthcare and improvements in quality of life are empowering people to live longer, but they often still need a little extra help to make the most out of every day.

But when the time comes to find the right senior living community for yourself or a loved one, the terminology and complexity of senior living can leave you scratching your head. People often ask us about the difference between assisted living and memory care, so here we’ve compiled a quick guide to help you understand the key offerings of each type of senior living service.

What is Assisted Living?

Typically, assisted living communities are for seniors who do not have signs of dementia or are still in the early stages, but are in need of some assistance in performing daily tasks such as bathing, dressing and/or assistance with medications.

Assisted living is an attractive option for prospective residents that are lacking in socialization or for families seeking assistance for a loved one. About three-quarters of residents living in an assisted living community moved there from their own home or apartment.

When seniors have a little extra help with day-to-day tasks, they can enjoy more of their day doing things they enjoy, such as completing a puzzle, bird-watching or even tuning into their favorite TV show. In fact, after moving into assisted living and experiencing all the benefits, residents of The Preserve at Clearwater often wonder why they didn’t move in sooner!

What is Memory Care?

About half of seniors who live in a senior community have some form of dementia or cognitive impairment, and for these seniors, a specialized environment for individuals with memory care impairment can be the right choice.

A successful transition in memory care should involve the development of a personalized care plan and include specialized programming designed for people with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. Memory care communities should make resident mobility and safety a high priority, so be sure to take note of both interior and exterior designs when visiting a memory care community.

Memory care services should provide round-the-clock care to ensure that residents are always safe and comfortable. From walking residents to their meals to ensuring they take their medication every day, nursing staff get to know their residents personally and are on call to assist them 24/7.

Which senior living option is best for my loved one?

If your loved one is still sharp but just needs a few helpful reminders and assistance in performing daily tasks, then assisted living is likely the best option. Assisted living will provide your loved one with the independence they desire but the care they need.

Memory care may be the best option if your loved one’s memory is deteriorating and you’re uncomfortable with leaving them alone for days or more at a time. Nurses can always recommend a switch from assisted living to memory care if your loved one begins experiencing dementia or needs extra assistance.

If you’re still not sure what the best senior living option is for your loved one, The Preserve at Clearwater is here to help. We are happy to discuss care plans, programming, amenities and apartment layouts to ensure that you or your loved one makes the best senior living decision possible.

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