At Autumn View Gardens on Schuetz Road, we offer multiple levels of care to ensure every resident is comfortable, well served and able to live as vibrant a lifestyle as possible. Levels of care include assisted living, memory, respite and hospice care. But many people don’t understand the differences between assisted living and memory care and worry that they won’t choose the right option for themselves or a loved one.
We’ve answered some common questions about memory care services for seniors below to help you understand that difference and make the most educated choice possible when facing retirement living or long-term care decisions.
Memory care is one type of assisted living, but it typically includes a more clinical level of care than general assisted living does. It does not, however, include the very high level of constant clinical care that one might find in a skilled nursing facility. Learn more about some of the differences between memory care and assisted living—as well as how the two might be similar—in the table below.
Assisted Living Memory Care
Any senior who wants to live independently but might need some level of assistance on a semi-regular or regular basis
People experiencing memory and cognitive issues, such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia
Leaving the community
Residents may be free to come and go as able for shopping, medical appointments, visiting friends and family—including using their own cars.
For safety purposes, residents are typically not free to come and go in the same way.
Policies and physical design of the community includes elements of security to keep all residents safe.
On top of normal assisted living community provisions, memory care buildings may include special protocols to minimize risks of seniors with dementia or other conditions wandering unsafely.
Costs cover semi-private or private assisted living apartments of various sizes and layouts along with all amenities and services.
Costs may be slightly higher than general assisted living because of the higher level of care required.
Common amenities and services
Health and exercise programs, social activities such as crafts and games, prepared meals, transportation to appointments and events, housekeeping and laundry services
Many memory care communities include all the same amenities available in assisted living, though some activities and services may be geared toward helping with cognitive functions.
Whether or not memory care is right for you or your loved one is a personal choice. It should be made in conjunction with health care providers you trust. But some signs you might want to start discussing the possibility of memory care can include:
• A dementia or Alzheimer’s diagnosis—memory care might not be required right away, but thinking ahead may be a good idea
• Wandering that puts the senior at danger
• Stress or the need for a level of care that impedes a caregiver’s ability to live a healthy life
• Issues with the senior’s physical or mental health
No matter what level of care a person might need or where their cognitive function is, residents in memory care communities don’t sit around bored and unattended all day. They have options to participate in all types of activities, including those that are designed specifically to promote cognitive well-being.
Some benefits of an active life in a memory care community include:
• Socialization, reducing the impact of isolation and loneliness, which can lead to depression and anxiety
• Physical movement to help ensure mobility and other functions are well-used so that the senior is able to do as much as possible as long as possible
• Cognitive “workouts” via games and other activities that promote memory and other brain functions, which can help protect the function a senior currently has and potentially help slow the progression of dementia
Memory care typically offers 24-hour clinical assistance for the safety, comfort and overall well-being of the residents. At Autumn View Gardens, services include, but aren’t limited to:
• Individualized care plans
• Licensed nurse supervision
• 24-hour emergency call systems
• Medication management
• Therapies including art, music and pet
• Pharmacy services
Yes, memory care professionals provide assistance with ADLs as necessary for residents. What level of care might be required would be discussed prior to someone moving into memory care, and it would become part of a person’s personalized care plan.
A big difference between memory care and general assisted living is the freedom with which someone can move around. Memory care residents aren’t typically restricted in how they can move around the community, but these locations often have more electronic and staff protocols to keep seniors safe.
For example, doors may have alarms on them so staff knows if someone has exited a certain area. This helps staff investigate to ensure a senior with memory issues hasn’t wandered into an unsafe location or outdoors.