What’s the Difference Between Assisted Living and Memory Care

Happy mature man smiling with young woman
Happy mature man smiling with young woman

Making the best care decisions for ourselves or our loved ones starts with a clear understanding of what care options are available.

An honest assessment of our loved ones’ current and future needs is also essential.

Marie and Sam
Both Marie and her dad, Sam, knew when it was time for Sam to move from his Independent Living cottage where he’d been for the past six years to an Assisted Living apartment home. Sam was having increasing difficulty with ADLs, or Activities of Daily Living, and needed help bathing and dressing. And Marie was concerned that the one meal provided daily by her dad’s community wasn’t enough to meet all of his nutritional needs. Sam also seemed to be getting a bit more forgetful, misplacing keys and occasionally forgetting an appointment. After discussion with Sam’s Life Plan Community staff, everyone agreed that Assisted Living was the right move for Sam.

Assisted Living
Marie was relieved that her dad adjusted so well to Assisted Living. She appreciates the personalized care he received addressing his specific needs and the 24/7 availability of staff to help.

Because Sam lives in a Life Plan Community, the transition from Independent Living was a smooth one since a full range of care services is offered on campus.

Sam had his own one-bedroom apartment with a kitchenette with microwave and refrigerator, but he enjoyed all his meals in the dining room—so Marie could rest assured that he was eating well—and getting some important social interaction time.  Staff made sure that Sam took his medication—another of Marie’s concerns, particularly with Sam’s more frequent memory lapses.

After his move to Assisted Living, Sam began to receive treatment for early-stage dementia with mild cognitive decline. The specialized medical and cognitive services he received at his Life Plan Community slowed the progression of his disease, and he was able to live comfortably in Assisted Living for four years.   

Memory Care
Marie and staff members—as well as Sam’s friends—began to notice increases in the progression of Sam’s dementia during the last few months of his stay in Assisted Living. Even with his medications and cognitive interventions, Sam’s daily needs began to outpace the ability of Assisted Living staff to meet them. Sam was beginning to have difficulty expressing himself verbally, and was sometimes disoriented, even belligerent occasionally. Sam’s disease had progressed to the point that a change in level of care was needed.

Fortunately, Sam’s Life Plan Community offers Memory Care in a specialty care wing of the Assisted Living building. The Memory Care wing is specifically designed for residents with dementia and Alzheimer’s, with particular care and attention to security, safety, and appropriate stimulation.

The wing is circular in design, so Sam can continue to walk to his heart’s content, and has an enclosed courtyard garden where he can enjoy nature. Being able to walk helps keep Sam’s appetite up, and Marie is delighted that the Memory Care wing provides meals planned by a dietician who specializes in meal planning for residents with dementia. Themed hallways with safety flooring offer opportunities for Sam to engage with music, pictures, and colorful fish in tanks. In addition, the Memory Care wing provides Sam with activities, such as crafts, puzzles, and games, to help stimulate his memory.

Just as Sam experienced in Assisted Living, staff are available around the clock to make sure he’s cared for, but Memory Care staff have additional training to meet Sam’s needs.

The Best Possible Care
Marie is grateful to her father’s caregivers because she knows her dad is receiving not only right care, but the best possible care.

Seeing her father’s decline as his disease progresses is painful for her. But she knows that both she and Life Plan Community staff worked together to monitor and plan for the best care at the right time to meet Sam’s changing needs.

Meet The Oaks at Bartlett. A senior living community that’s big enough to offer abundant amenities, yet small enough that everyone knows your name. Here on our beautiful 44-acre campus, you’ll find good people and a real sense of community, with a team focused on what matters to you. We have deep roots in the community, yet we are always continuing to grow, change and reach for the sky.