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What Is the Difference Between Memory Care and Other Forms of Care?

Unsure of what we mean by "Memory Care"? This article breaks it down.When first looking into a senior living community for your loved ones the options can seem overwhelming with all the terminology: between nursing homes, assisted living, memory care there are many choices to pick from. Depending on the needs of your loved one there is usually one type that fits the best.  

How Is Memory Care Different from Assisted Living or a Retirement Community?

One of the first and most important differences that distinguishes Memory Care from all other kinds is that it is formatted and planned for those seniors who suffer specifically from Alzheimer's, dementia, or other memory impairing diseases. What this means is that everything from the layout of the facility to the activities that seniors engage in will be different.

  • 24/7 Supervision: Memory Care communities have a top priority of keeping your loved one safe and secure and they do this by having surveillance and 24 hour supervised care. Building layouts may also be altered to make sure seniors do not venture outside of safe living spaces unintentionally and the layout is easy to navigate. There also may be an enclosed green space outdoors in some care communities so your loved one can spend time outside in a safe way. With these modifications, Memory communities continue to uphold the living and sanitation standards of any assisted living community.  
  • Specialized Support: the staff in Memory Care also differs from that in assisted living. Memory Care staff, such as nurses and CNAs, have undergone additional training or education to be at the best service for those with memory impairing conditions. The Memory Care community is also in most cases an individual unit or floor so that all patients can get the best attention from the skilled nurses.
  • Cost: Because there is 24/7 care and specialized nursing, the cost of care when taking care of those with dementia and Alzheimer's differs compared to assisted living, and more-so for retirement communities. Cost does widely range depending on geography, but Memory Care does tend to be more expensive to the especially skilled nurses and 24/7 supervision. While both provide room and board with meals and care assistance, Memory care usually comes at a higher cost due to the level of specialized care.  Keep in mind that 24/7 care matters even more, as during the COVID pandemic, Memory care communities are taken the safest measures possible.

How Is It Similar To Assisted Living?

Both Memory Care and assisted living include many activities and hobbies for seniors, but they do differ slightly. In Memory Care, activities will cater to the mental abilities of the seniors just like they cater to the physical abilities of the seniors in assisted care. Additionally, Memory Care and Assisted Living both are regulated by the Illinois Department of Public Health. IDPH tracks regulations, and currently is tracking the COVID outbreak (though they are not always up to date).

How do you choose the care your loved one needs? Start With Your Doctor.

  • Get medical evaluation of your seniors' cognitive ability.
  • A good judgment to go by is if your loved one is living independently relatively successfully or if they are already diagnosed with a memory disease.
  • With a senior community is that there will be flexibility to find the perfect care plan for your loved one. There is also the possibility to start in assisted living and to move to Memory Care later one if your loved ones’ memory impairment progresses.

Contact us to get in touch with a certified advisor who knows your area. Whether in Lincoln Park, Barrington, Lake Barrington, North Barrington, Lake Zurich, Deer Park, Naperville, Bull Valley, Crystal Lake, Schaumberg, and Hoffman Estates, senior living communities offer many care options for your loved ones.

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