What’s the Difference Between Memory Care and Assisted Living?


Are you looking for a senior care solution for a loved one with dementia? Although memory care may be offered in an assisted living community, there are many differences between these two care services.

Individuals with dementia require caregivers who have specialized skill sets and supervision in contrast to what is provided in assisted living. Here’s a detailed guide to the major differences between the two services from our specialists in memory care in Cape May County, NJ.

What is assisted living for people with dementia?

An assisted living community will have the services and support in place to assist people in the earlier stages of dementia. Usually, these residents have less medical needs at this stage and onsite nurses can manage any medication needs as required. The services they offer are more about supporting their independence by assisting with Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs).

This includes help with medications, meal preparation, housekeeping services, shopping and errands, and leisure activities as well as bathing, dressing, and going to the bathroom. Support services are selected according to what a resident currently needs, and are scaled up as their needs change.

Living in an assisted living community is about making it as easy as possible for residents to be independent and comfortable, balancing support services with activities that promote freedom, social connections, wellness and enjoyment. As a result, residing in assisted living usually means staying in a private apartment home within a vibrant community.

Well-equipped assisted living communities are able to manage the needs of residents without having to move them. Which means they can manage everything from skilled nursing care after an operation to physical therapy all onsite, although it may involve a temporary move to a different neighborhood for more specialized and intensive care.

What is memory care for people living with dementia?

Memory care is a service designed to provide the best possible support for those who need more intensive care and supervision that can be provided in assisted living. Essentially, this is a more specialized care neighborhood that focuses specifically on those with dementia conditions. Here, supervision is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and is provided by specially-trained caregivers and medical associates who have extensive experience with dementia residents.

While assisting with IADLs is a significant part of the work in memory care, there’s much more to this type of care. Activities designed to stimulate memory and potentially slow disease progression are an important part of this care. This includes arts and crafts, music, cognitive games, and physical activities.

Memory care residents have less private space than assisted living, but more communal spaces, as it’s important for associates to be able to interact with residents. High-quality memory care residences do everything possible to help each resident stay engaged, active, and as independent as possible.

Deciding between assisted living and memory care for your loved one in NJ

When it comes to finding professional care and support for a loved one with dementia, it’s important to make sure the community’s values and services match up with their current and future needs.

At The Shores, which is part of the United Methodist Communities network, we offer specialized care for residents with dementia called Tapestries®. At Tapestries, we work to ensure that our residents are able to scale up both assisted living and memory care services as needed, all without having to move from the comfort of their community.

If you would like to find out more about memory care in Ocean City, NJ, contact us to set up a consultation with our memory care advisors or visit our website at https://umcommunities.org/theshores/

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