Senior memory care and assisted living are both fast-growing options for retirement care. However, most people probably wouldn’t know the difference between them if asked. To find out more about these two types of care and tips for choosing the right one for your loved one, keep reading.

Long-Term Care and Assisted Living

When our loved ones can’t live independently anymore, we’re faced with the difficult choice of what sort of care to select for them. After all, not all options for long-term care are created equal. But which is ideal for your loved one?

If your loved one is still fairly active but cannot live independently for safety reasons, or if they require assistance with everyday activities like bathing or eating, then assisted living might be right for them. The Assisted Living Federation of America defines assisted living as “a long-term care option that combines housing, support services, and health care, as needed.” These services typically include transportation and medication management with emergency assistance offered around the clock.

In an assisted living community, seniors are usually giving the option of having a room to themselves or sharing one with other residents, depending on their preferences and budget. As people age, they may require a little extra help with normal everyday tasks, especially if they’re experiencing age-related mobility problems. For conditions like this, standard assisted living can be an effective choice.

Senior Memory Care vs. Assisted Living

Some assisted living communities may have special units for memory care patients, but that doesn’t automatically make them senior memory care facilities.

Memory care is a specific form of long-term care which requires specialized skill from nurses and caretakers. It typically caters to patients dealing with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other kinds of memory problems. They provide supervised care 24 hours per day, and they’re sometimes referred to as special care units, or SCUs.

The physical layout and security systems used in memory care facilities are designed specifically to suit Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. As a result, wandering behavior is brought to a minimum and living environments are pleasant and easily navigated.

Regulations for senior memory care facilities are more advanced than they are for basic assisted living communities, with 23 out of 50 states enforcing special care unit disclosure laws. If you’re concerned about your loved one’s safety or wellbeing in assisted living, this fact may help put your mind at ease when trusting them to a memory care ward. However, since these regulations aren’t yet universal, you should still do your homework when choosing a retirement care option for your loved one.

Much like assisted living, if your loved one can’t care for themself because of a progressive impairment, senior memory care offers a helpful solution.

Services Provided in Senior Memory Care and Assisted Living

Local regulations vary when it comes to what services must be offered in senior care facilities. Generally, memory care and assisted living both provide basic supervised care, medical monitoring, and assistance with daily activities like dressing and mobility.

Both types of care will also typically offer the following:

  • Transportation services
  • Emergency call systems
  • Two or three meals every day
  • Access to medical care
  • Health and fitness programs
  • Social programs and activities
  • Housekeeping and laundry services
  • 24-hour security and staff supervision

Additionally, memory care facilities often feature structured programs and activities designed to soothe and nurture residents who suffer from Alzheimer’s or dementia. It’s important to realize that at some homes, certain services may only be offered for an extra cost.

Choosing Between Assisted Living and Memory Care

Both types of care, whether for basic living assistance or memory impairment, provide excellent options for aging loved ones. If dementia or Alzheimer’s is not an immediate concern for your loved one, and they’re still somewhat independent, then assisted living may be adequate for them.

However, if your loved one has complex needs that are associated with memory impairment, you should carefully consider trusting them to a specialized senior memory care facility. Rely on the help of Heritage Hills to make your loved one’s retirement more comfortable.