Differences between Memory Care and Assisted Living

Differences between memory care and assisted living

Understandably, most people don’t know a lot about the services available at a senior living community until a loved one requires significant care and management. Since we all don’t know what the future holds, it’s important to consider a CCRC (Continuing Care Retirement Community) as a senior living option for mom and dad. At a CCRC, all levels of senior care are available under one roof. If your senior loved one should develop an issue that requires elevated assisted living services or advanced memory care, they will not have to uproot their life and move again – they can remain in their community for as long as possible in a CCRC like Bristol Glen.

With that in mind, our memory care team in Sussex County, NJ, is sharing some insights on the differences between memory care and assisted living – and how to choose the right option for your loved one.

What is assisted living?

Assisted living is when a senior moves into a community that offers staff, amenities, and services that meet general care requirements. Seniors who move into assisted living have different needs, but generally they can no longer meet all of these care needs themselves at home. With the amenities and services provided, residents are putting their health, wellbeing, and independence in the best hands. For example, if a senior is a fall risk, has diabetes, and is struggling to maintain their home and do grocery shopping, a move into assisted living will provide the right support and safe living conditions they need.

Senior services from leading assisted living communities include:

  • Spacious apartments that are maintained daily
  • Meal services and community dining with other residents
  • Proper medication management and check-ins with medical professionals on-site
  • Assistance with activities of daily living – like bathing, grooming, getting dressed, and going to the restroom
  • Access to physical therapists and other specialized medical professionals, as needed
  • A variety of recreational activities and social events

What is memory care?

Memory care is assisted living with additional services for those who have Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia. It’s designed to meet the specialized needs of seniors with cognitive conditions, so it’s more intensive in terms of the level of care, the number of staff members to a resident, and the type of activities available to memory care residents.

People with cognitive conditions need additional support to enjoy their senior years and have a fulfilling senior living experience, and that’s what memory care delivers. Each resident is evaluated before moving into the community in order to properly assess the stage of their condition and their general health. The memory care associates supporting them are trained not only in helping residents with cognitive health issues, but also providing stimulation, companionship, and one-on-one personal care.

This level of personalization ensures that memory care teams are able to provide therapies that help residents access different parts of their brain and manage dementia-related stress factors and challenges. Memory care specialists also know how best to communicate with residents to keep them busy, engaged, and relaxed throughout the day.

In memory care, all the desirable aspects of assisted living are adapted for residents to accommodate their cognitive health issues. From unique diets and meal preferences to daily therapies and cognitive activities, memory care provides a safe, monitored, yet welcoming environment that meets each person’s needs.

Which is better – memory care or assisted living?

This comes down to whether your loved one has a cognitive health issue or not. Generally, assisted living is ideal for any older adult who needs assistance with daily life, can benefit from structured community living, and would appreciate easy access to amenities. Assisted living can accommodate seniors who need some help but are still quite independent, as well as seniors with complex medical conditions that need daily monitoring and management.

If your loved one has a diagnosed cognitive health issue, however, memory care is a better option. Even if their condition is currently mild, care can be tailored as time goes on and memory care associates can keep a close eye on their cognitive and physical health. It also provides a safe space where they are much more secure against wandering or accidental injury (which are considerable risks for people with cognitive health issues). Memory care also provides a lot of stimulation and therapies designed to slow cognitive decline. If you suspect your loved one has a cognitive health issue, it’s worth talking to their doctor about performing an assessment so that you can make an informed decision about moving them to a memory care neighborhood as their needs increase.

Memory care and assisted living at Bristol Glen

As we mentioned earlier, when considering a move to a senior community it’s best to look into an option that provides all levels of care under one roof like UMC at Bristol Glen. At our leading CCRC in New Jersey, we’re dedicated to supporting abundant, independent living, assisted living, and of course, offer our specialized Tapestries memory care program to seniors in Sussex County.

We’re proud to say that our CCRC in Sussex County earned a place on the U.S. News Best Nursing Homes and Short-Stay Rehabilitation Lists, reflecting our dedication to the health and wellbeing of all of our residents!

If you want to find out more about our approach to assisted living or about memory care in Sussex County, NJ, then please get in touch today or visit our website at:


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    200 Bristol Glen Drive

    Newton, NJ 07860

    Phone: 973-300-5788

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