Let’s talk about Memory Care versus Assisted Living. Are they the same thing, or are they different? There has long been some confusion regarding the difference between the two of them. So let’s simplify the differences, but first you should know that you have options. 

You don’t have to take care of them yourselves

The ideal situation would be for the kids to take care of mom or dad, or to hire a caregiver to go in to the home daily to provide help with the activities of daily living. But, If that is not an option, don’t feel guilty. Not all of us are comfortable with being the caregiver to our parents, or gifted with the ability to do so. That’s perfectly ok, you have other home care options available. 

How do you determine which type of care they need? 

Let’s say that mom or dad has been living on their own and taking care of themselves for quite some time. You have noticed that they are starting to need some help with daily activities, bathing, preparing meals, taking medications, grocery shopping, or maybe they are lonely and need some companionship, etc. Assisted living is the way to go here. They will receive the help that they need to get through their daily activities. Plus there is the added benefit of companionship, and activities that are available for them to participate in. The Facility may house 10 to 15 residents and have trained caregivers.    Now let’s say that mom or dad is displaying some memory lapses. They could be the normal lapses that most of us have, such as forgetting where we put our car keys that are in our hands, or sunglasses that are on our head etc. This happens to a lot of people. Or it could be more severe, like forgetting where they are, and why they are there. They may need the more specialized environment of a Memory Care home. This type of home will typically have fewer residents, generally up to 8 residents, and more required training of the staff according to state regulations, and will be what is called, a lockdown facility. The doors will have either magnetic, or combination code locks to prevent the residents from walking out the door, for their own safety. These locks will be tied to the sprinkler system, fire suppression, smoke detectors, and or the emergency equipment. When any of these emergency systems are activated, the locks will release to allow for staff and residents to get to safety. 

Be informed and prepared. 

So we talked about several things in regards to Assisted Living versus Memory Care. The three main points are as follows:  

  1. The housing concept is slightly different between the two with varying security requirements.  
  2. The caregivers have different levels of training according to the level of care needed and state regulations.  
  3. The age of the resident moving in tends to be younger, and stay longer in a Memory Care home versus an Assisted Living home.

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