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Understanding the Key Differences Between Assisted Living & Memory Care

Dec 4, 2023

As our loved ones age, we often worry about how they will manage their day to day lives. When it’s no longer safe for mom or dad to continue living alone, where do you turn? Assisted living and memory care are two popular senior living options that many families consider, but there are some key differences between them that are important to know.

In this blog, we’ll dive into the basics to help you make a more informed decision regarding the care of your senior family member.

Memory Care vs. Assisted Living: What are the key differences?

Alzheimer’s memory care is a specialized form of care designed for individuals who are living with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. It focuses on providing a safe and supportive environment that promotes the wellbeing and functionality of individuals with memory impairments. In memory care communities, staff members are trained to understand and address the unique challenges faced by individuals with memory disorders, such as:

  • Wandering
  • Confusion
  • Agitation

In contrast, assisted living offers help with tasks of daily living such as bathing, dressing, grooming and medication management while affording residents as much independence as possible. Assisted living communities also offer various amenities like restaurant-style dining, housekeeping, transportation, and social activities.

Additionally, while assisted living communities are designed much like a resort with cozy accommodations, memory care communities are designed to be secure environments on one floor level that are easy to navigate for those living with dementia. Additionally, memory care communities may offer structured daily routines and activities specifically designed to engage and stimulate memory as much as possible.

Who Needs Assisted Living?

Assisted living is an excellent option for older adults who may require some assistance with daily activities but still desire independence and a sense of community. It is suitable for individuals who may find it challenging to manage tasks such as personal hygiene, medication management, meal preparation, or transportation on their own. This could include seniors who have mobility issues, chronic illnesses, or age-related conditions that make it difficult to live by themselves. Assisted living offers peace of mind for both seniors and their families, ensuring that their loved ones receive the necessary support, while still maintaining a sense of independence and engagement within a caring community.

Who Needs Memory Care?

While it is normal to experience some level of forgetfulness with age, significant and frequent memory loss can be a cause for concern. If your loved one is exhibiting any of these symptoms, it could mean that it’s time to start thinking about memory care:

  • Memory impairment that significantly interferes with everyday activities
  • Impaired decision-making ability resulting in questionable choices
  • Difficulty in keeping track of dates and locations
  • Increased time needed to accomplish normal daily tasks
  • Repeating the same questions or experiencing difficulty in recalling recently acquired information

If you notice that your loved one is exhibiting any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek help from a medical professional in order to make a plan for appropriate treatment.

Memory Care communities and how they can help

If your loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, it’s important to know that you are never alone in this journey. Caring for someone with memory loss can be overwhelming and confusing for everyone involved.


As the condition progresses, those affected often require specialized care and support beyond what a family member can reasonably provide. Staff members at memory care communities are extensively trained and experienced in understanding the challenges associated with memory disorders. They employ effective techniques to manage behavioral changes, provide emotional support, and ensure the safety and wellbeing of residents. Memory care communities like Martin Boyd Christian Home have emerged as invaluable resources, providing a safe and nurturing environment for individuals with memory impairments to not just survive–but thrive!

Conclusion

Choosing the right type of senior care for your loved one can be a daunting task, especially when there are so many options available. 

Assisted living is an excellent option for seniors who enjoy their independence but also need help with daily living. Memory care communities play a vital role in supporting individuals with Alzheimer’s or dementia, helping them to thrive with personalized care, a safe environment, engaging activities, and a supportive community. Communities like Martin Boyd have a continuum of care, offering both assisted living and memory care at the same location.


Are you ready to discuss senior living options for your family member? Talk with someone today at Martin Boyd who can help you determine the right level of care for your Mom or Dad.