There are several options for older adults to live out their golden years when they can no longer live independently. In some cases, a family member is a primary caregiver. Services like short-term respite care are excellent options in these scenarios.
Suppose family members are unable to take on the role of a caregiver. In that case, assisted living is a way for the elderly person to live with some semblance of independence. However, retirement homes are not usually set up for 24/7 care. And they are often limited in the type of care they can provide.
What Is Assisted Living?
Many people associate assisted living homes with nursing homes, but they are not the same. An assisted living community is more like an apartment complex staffed with professional caregivers.
Some services that are commonly available in an assisted living home are:
- Residents receive one or more meals daily
- Staff ensures residents take their medications as required
- Assistance with day-to-day activities like bathing or getting dressed
- Housekeeping or laundry
- Activities to keep the residents engaged with each other
Assisted living facilities often provide a certain level of medical care, but this is not typically a focus. These accommodations aren’t usually for people with serious medical issues or needs—that’s where a nursing home (or memory care home) comes in.
What Is Memory Care?
A memory care home is a home for older adults who require specialized care. Dementia and its related conditions are the primary focus of a memory care home.
This type of home shares many similarities with an assisted living community. For example, the assisted living services listed above are also commonly available in a memory care home. The difference is how the staff provides those services.
Because residents who stay in a memory care home are prone to getting lost and confused, the staff are much more involved with the care. And they are specially trained to deal with residents who are suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s.
In addition to specialized training, there are several other differences you can expect in a memory care home:
- Building layouts to minimize confusion among residents
- Color-coded hallways for different areas
- Secure and safe spaces with locked doors
- Secure outdoor environments
- Special therapies to help residents who have dementia thrive
When to Move to Memory Care
When your loved one needs specialized care due to declining cognitive function, a memory care home is often better than an assisted living home. This ensures they are receiving the proper care that keeps them safe and allows them to thrive in a community environment.
There are several telltale signs that it’s time for the switch:
- Wandering and getting lost
- Forgetfulness and trouble socializing
- Aggressive behavior
These are only a few signs, so it’s important to communicate with your loved one’s caregivers in the assisted living community. They may notice things that you don’t during your visits.
Ultimately, it’s about the safety of your loved one. As their cognitive function declines, they will need the specialized and personal care available in a memory care home.
Is a Nursing Home a Good Alternative to Memory Care?
Another option worth mentioning is a nursing home. Specially trained nursing home staff deal with residents who require constant medical and everyday care. You will also find many of the positive things found in memory care in a nursing home.
A significant difference between the two is that a nursing home is very medical care-focused. In comparison, a memory care home has a bigger focus on memory-enhancing therapies in addition to the staff’s medical training.
A memory care home aims to give your loved one a chance to live as normal and independent life as possible while keeping them safe.
That being said, if there are no memory care options where you live, a nursing home will likely be a better option for your loved one who has dementia. Or, if your loved one has other serious health concerns in addition to dementia, a nursing home may be the better choice.
Finding Out More About Memory Care
If you think it may be time to move your loved one to a memory care home, or you simply need more information, reach out to us today. We’re happy to answer any questions you have or book a tour of our grounds to show you what we’re offering your loved one.