You’ve likely run across the terms “assisted living community” or “memory care community” online. What is the difference is between the two?
Simply put, memory care communities are distinct sections of assisted living communities that offer specialized support for Alzheimer’s or dementia.
These environments typically provide a higher level of supervision and healthcare services to their residents than traditional assisted living communities.
If you’re the caregiver of a loved one who’s been suddenly affected by memory loss, continue reading. Learn about the differences between assisted living and memory care and how to find the best community setting for your senior loved one.
When to Move Your Loved One into a Memory Care Community
In the early stages of dementia, a person can still live a mostly independent life. Although they may become increasingly forgetful.
As dementia or Alzheimer’s progresses, you may find it difficult to care for your loved one the way they need.
As a caregiver, you try your hardest to provide round-the-clock care for your loved one in their home, or yours. You may worry about your loved one is home alone, unsupervised, fearing they may fall, or leave the stove on.
People with Alzheimer’s and dementia may start to wander off or quickly get agitated. This can test a caregiver’s patience, often leading to caregiver burnout.
The following are other warning signs it may be time to move your loved one into a memory care community:
- Their sleep cycle is unmanageable
- You’re worried about them wandering off or driving themselves when they shouldn’t
- You can’t provide adequate levels of stimulation or give them enough attention
- They are refusing to bathe
- Rapid weight loss
- They recently just suffered a fall and had to go to the hospital
- Skipping medication
It may time to talk to them about an assisted living community that has a specialized memory care unit.
It may be difficult to bring this up to your loved one, but memory care is often the best decision. Many people wait too long before moving into memory care, and by that time their disease has progressed too quickly.
Recognizing when they need futher care can prolong their life and happiness. This also gives you more time to focus on your own health and happiness.
Assisted Living and Specialized Memory Care Communities
Assisted living and memory care communities share a lot of similarities. Most memory care communities are special wings or separate units that are part of the same assisted living community.
Both assisted living and memory care communities provide all-day dining, supervised care, life enrichment classes, housing/apartments, laundry services, on-site fitness and rehabilitation services, and several other resort-style amenities.
The key difference is that memory care communities provide additional supervision and security with trained nurses and staff on-site 24/7 who can administer more healthcare services, such as providing medication, injections, and acuity care to people who may be frail or need extra assistance.
Memory care staff has been specially trained to understand Alzheimer’s and dementia behaviors and respond to residents in a calm and patient way. The staff also engages memory care residents in memory games and other activities designed for people with memory loss.
Memory care communities are custom designed to reduce clutter and outside noise, and use color-coding and textured surfaces to help residents navigate and reduce their fall risk.
The Benefits of a Dedicated Memory Care Community
One of the immediate benefits of moving your loved one into a memory care community is a sense of relief for caregivers and their families.
You no longer have to worry if your parent or spouse will become lost or wander after sundown, a common trait for people suffering from memory loss. Memory care wings feature wander management technology, ensuring no residents leave the building at night.
Your loved one will be surrounded by a team of licensed nurses working in a low staff to resident ratio, ensuring more attention and personalized care.
Depending on the memory care community you choose, they may offer varying levels of care for people in different stages of memory loss.
Other benefits of memory care:
- Extensive support programs, including wheelchair assistance, wound care, hospice care available
- Individualized service plans tailored for the needs of the resident
- Accomodation to special diets, including diabetic, gluten-free, vegetarian, overseen by a registered dietician
- Psychological and psychiatric services
- Regular social interactions
- Transportation services to their doctors appointments
Therapies and Activities On-Site that Boost Mobility and Social and Mental Health
Memory care communities typically offer on-site rehabilitation and therapy services to increase mobility, stimulate their brain, regain strength and stability, assist with chewing or swallowing difficulties, and help them cope with memory loss.
These therapies can include:
- Physical therapy, used to help them gain maximum mobility and restore function abilities.
- Occupation therapy, used to help residents adapt to life changes and improve functional abilities, such as motor-skills used to eat, dress, bathe, and groom.
- Music therapy, used to soothe anxious or agitated people and to help reminisce of old memories
- Art therapy, used to stimulate the imagination, soothe agitation, and practice motor-skills
- Speech therapy, used to help residents learn how to communicate and help them with swallowing or chewing problems.
Kensington Place Redwood City’s Memory Care Community
Kensington Place Redwood City is an enhanced memory care community located in Redwood City, California.
Our community is a safe, secure, and comfortable option for a loved one living with memory loss caused by dementia and Alzheimer’s, and features two distinct memory care neighborhoods — Connections and Haven.
Connections is designed for those in the early to middle stages of dementia, while Haven is for those in the more advanced stages of memory loss.
Both memory care communities provide a peaceful, calming and fully-secured environment for residents with memory loss that’s equipped with licensed nurses on staff 24/7, and employs trained memory care professionals who can provide memory care support.
We extend Our Promise to love and take care of your family as we would our own.Please contact us today, if you’re caring for a loved one with memory loss and would like to learn more about our memory care services.