Difference in Traditional Assisted Living and Memory Care

Nov 1, 2018

By Judy Given, Abe’s Garden and Park Manor Director of Campus Development

I often hear families remark, “I think my loved one needs assisted living, but don’t think his dementia is to the point yet where he needs to be in a memory care center.”

As they share more, I notice there’s a need for clarification about offerings of traditional Assisted Living and Alzheimer’s/Memory Care Assisted Living.

Typically, traditional “Assisted Care Living Facilities”, or AL, communities will offer support with Activities of Daily Living (ADL’s), which includes bathing, dressing, hygiene care, mobility support, and continence care, to name a few.  In addition, there will be nurses to manage and distribute medication and help manage some chronic health care concerns.  While there may be differences among communities, these supports typically provide AL residents with the physical care they need to maintain a mostly independent lifestyle.

Most memory care communities are licensed as AL, and as such will have many components of care in common with traditional Assisted Living described above, but also meets additional criteria as a Memory Care community. Residents of memory care centers have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or other dementias. Therefore, these centers have additional safety features to avoid issues with this population, such as wandering to unsecured places or accidentally starting fires. Additionally, memory care centers design residential programs that nurture cognitive skills.

At Abe’s Garden, we ensure a secure environment and offer programming throughout each day which aims to keep residents cognitively stimulated, socially engaged, and as physically active as possible.  We believe that these features improve brain health, provide a sense of routine and familiarity within the community, decrease agitation and frustration, and support relationships with families and others, all of which enhance quality of life.

Hopefully this helps give insight to the extra offerings Memory Care centers typically provide so you can determine which type of residential community will best meet your loved one’s needs.

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