Memory Care vs. Assisted Living in Albuquerque | What is the difference?
As a family member, finding the best senior living community can be frightening, especially if a loved one has a condition that needs an immediate move. Assisted living and memory care options offer supportive personal care to people with health issues and cognitive impairments.
Memory care, however, is a bit different in that it caters specifically to those with Alzheimer’s and dementia through specific types of activities. The staff train extensively about the psychological and physical effects of cognitive impairments.
For some, it may make better sense to start with assisted living. But for others, memory care is the immediate go-to option. Below are the five main differences between memory care and assisted living to help you weigh your options.
#1 Memory Care vs. Assisted Living: Staff Training
Memory care communities and assisted living communities share similar staff. However, a higher staff-to-patient ratio is required to care properly for persons with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. In assisted living, the team assists patients with their activities of daily living, such as helping with bathing and, if needed, changing clothes.
In memory care, the staff assist with ADLs but have additional training and experience with issues facing people living with dementia — such as swallowing difficulties, wandering, and anxiety. The staff members train to master strategies for diffusing distress and disruptive behaviors in residents dealing with dementia.
This training includes understanding how the disease manifests, knowing why patients may exhibit certain behaviors, and how to communicate with them.
#2 Memory Care vs. Assisted Living: Specialized Activities
Assisted living communities focus on keeping residents entertained and active. Memory care communities offer specific activities tailored to the cognitive needs of people with dementia. Some of these activities can help your loved one access different parts of the brain through:
- Music therapy, read more here.
- Pet therapy
- Art therapy
- Taste and Scent therapy
- Memory Box therapy, and more.
Memory care communities also tend to follow a more rigid schedule as people with dementia generally do better with routine.
#3 Memory Care vs. Assisted Living: Dining
Assisted living communities offer meals all day in a beautiful social setting that emphasizes discussion and forming new relationships with neighbors. Memory care communities provide meals and socialization around the table and offer an environment conducive to independence and dignity.
Dementia can make good nutrition very complicated. Memory care communities offer specialized nutrient-dense diets to ensure residents eat enough calories for their current needs and preferences. Residents are given multiple options to best exercise control over their diet while being served in a less distracting environment and even offered adaptive plates or utensils.
It’s common for those with Alzheimer’s to lack appetite, so the chef in memory care prepares meals to address this issue.
#4 Memory Care vs. Assisted Living: Specialized Environment
A memory care environment is architecturally designed to suit those with memory issues’ needs and safety concerns. Assisted living communities do not offer these extra measures, resulting in an unsafe environment for someone with dementia.
Dementia does not only affect memory and cognition but changes all five of the senses. Therefore the communities feature safety precautions such as door alarms, motion-sensor lights, one-touch sinks, and highly designed lighting. These extra touches give residents a safer living experience and more independence in long-term care.
Dementia sometimes makes people stressed and confused. Memory care units emphasize relaxation by creating gathering areas such as a television room or an activity room featuring a lot of natural light. And unlike some assisted living communities, memory care units do not have individual kitchens, keeping patients extra secure.
#5 Memory Care vs. Assisted Living: Security
While some assisted living residences have secure areas to accommodate those with mild dementia, memory care units emphasize security to prevent patients from wandering. At Avista Senior Living in Albuquerque, we offer a safe outside area where patients can enjoy the outdoors but cannot leave the property.
Extra safety measures include locking up poisonous items, such as shampoo, laundry detergent, and mouthwash containing alcohol. Generally, safety checks are more frequent in memory care units.
Memory Care vs. Assisted Living in Albuquerque |Choose What’s Best for You
Some people with early dementia who live well and only need a bit of help may thrive in an assisted living community. They possibly may find a dementia care community too restrictive.
But, suppose your loved one struggles with daily functioning, needs support most of the time, or seems afraid, anxious, and lonely in home care. In that case, it’s time to give them the gift of memory care. Regardless of which living option you choose, select a community with extensive experience supporting seniors.
If you have questions about memory care vs. assisted living options, please do not hesitate to contact Avista Senior Living in Albuquerque.