Assisted living and memory care facilities both are very popular and fast-growing forms of senior living, however what's the difference between them? Essentially, memory care facilities hire professionals who have expertise in the area of memory care. They are also qualified to administer therapies that promote memory and improve memory. Some of these memory care professionals work as memory care specialists while some work as dementia care therapists. The memory care specialists and the dementia care therapists generally perform the same functions such as providing activities that challenge the cognitive processes, provide exposure to visual and auditory stimulation, and provide counseling concerning the cognitive processes and the effects of aging on memory. A memory care facility can be used as an assisted living facility or as a memory care community.
Many seniors prefer to live in communities or memory care units where they have the benefits of physical exercise and sensory stimulation. These communities or memory care units have several rooms where residents can comfortably move around. There are usually large rooms that are lit with bright sunshine and provide some sort of activity. The activity could be something like a trip to the local park or zoo, playing games, or exercising in the fitness center.
One drawback of assisted living and memory care homes is that the staff typically provides more medical assistance than the residents need. When I worked at a nursing home I observed that there were often times when a nurse was going to the residents' room to change a tube of toothpaste or a prescription bottle and was only able to do those tasks because the residents trusted her. As a result, the residents became dependent on the nurse because the nurse was the only one who was willing to do the necessary tasks.
One alternative that is becoming popular is a combination of both memory care and a home care package. One example is a senior living in a memory care facility and receiving round-the-clock home care from a professional care provider. The care providers would come into the home daily and perform tasks, the resident would have performed had they remained in their own living space. For example, if the resident needed assistance getting up from the bed, the provider would assist that resident by helping her into the bedroom and helping her get dressed. If the resident needed assistance walking, the provider would take the resident on a short walk. If the resident was having trouble doing the simple things in life such as taking a shower, eating or dressing she would be provided with a personalized home care package.
Another benefit of an assisted living or memory care unit is the emotional support that is provided by a professional health care worker. This additional support can help reduce the stress of living alone. I believe this is an important benefit because many elderly citizens become isolated and are at risk for depression and anxiety. A skilled social worker can provide emotional support, both during the day and at night while providing services such as supervision, housekeeping, laundry assistance and companion care.
Many seniors have memories they want to be preserved. In some cases this means that a family member who has dementia will need to be kept nearby. Many assisted living facilities are equipped with a memory care unit. Senior communities offer supervision to all residents who need supervision. This type of service offers a positive alternative to seniors who live alone and/or are diagnosed with dementia.
Assisted living facilities also provide many services other than supervision. These types of services make it possible for a senior to remain independent. These services include housekeeping, laundry assistance, transportation services and meals provided at the facility. Some memory care communities also offer specialized services. These services include pet sitting, meals served, shopping assistance, medical services and much more.
Although memory care units do not offer dementia services, most facilities provide similar services to seniors who are independent living communities. They include housekeeping, transportation services and meals provided. Assisted living communities and independent living facilities also have the added benefit of providing a warm, comfortable environment for seniors who are experiencing memory problems. Seniors can also enjoy a variety of services including walks, classes and more.