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Memory Care vs. Other Senior Care Options

Memory Care Vs Other Senior Care Options

Key Summary

Learn about Memory Care services and amenities and how it compares to different care types available to seniors, such as Assisted Living, Dementia Care, Skilled Nursing, Independent Living, hospice, and more.

If you or your loved one needs some help throughout the day and is looking into long-term care, you'll be relieved to see how many specialized care options are available to seniors. Depending on your level of independence and if you're still relatively social, certain care types, primarily Assisted Living may be your best fit. While, those with some memory loss problems, whether in the early or late stages, may find Memory Care more beneficial.

Memory Care and Assisted Living are similar but vary in services, amenities, safety, cost, and more. Suppose you are looking for the best care type for your loved one and have other senior care questions. In that case, this article will help guide you through the similarities and differences between Memory Care and various care types, such as Dementia Care, Alzheimer's Care, Hospice, Palliative Care, Skilled Nursing, Independent Living, and In-Home care.

Memory Care vs. Dementia Care  

Memory Care gives residents more one-on-one care with dementia-specific activities and services tailored to each person's unique cognitive abilities. Memory Care Communities offer higher staff to resident ratios, environments with increased security and safety features, dementia-specific activities, and more. Their team will have additional training and experience working with people living with dementia.

Dementia care provides similar care opportunities; however, the care is even more specialized or involved than Memory Care. Early-stage treatment for dementia may be feasible with Memory Care. Dementia care may be necessary when a senior has been formally diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer's and is experiencing the later stages of the condition.

Memory Care vs. Alzheimer’s Care  

Seniors experiencing memory loss and other brain functions decline and who have been diagnosed with early stages of Alzheimer's disease will need Memory Care. Your loved one will benefit from the safe, comfortable, and secure environment offered at a Memory Care Community. As their condition and symptoms worsen, such as swallowing difficulties, wandering, and anxiety, they may need more specialized care available in the Memory Care Community.

Secured vs. Unsecured Memory Care

Secured Memory Care is for residents who have late-stage Alzheimer's or dementia, especially those who might be at risk of wandering or trying to leave the building. This environment provides extra security, ensuring no one is injured or becomes lost. Unsecured Memory Care is for people in the early stages of Alzheimer's or dementia who are at minimal risk for wandering. It still includes general safety measures but is not as highly secure.  

Memory Care vs. Hospice 

Once a resident begins experiencing a medical decline, like later-stage Alzheimer's or terminal cancer, it may be good to have them receive hospice care. In this late stage, residents will be unable to dress, use the restroom, groom themselves or move about without help and have difficulty speaking and expressing thoughts.

Memory Care vs. Palliative Care 

Palliative care is like hospice as Medicare also covers it. However, the main difference between Palliative Care and Hospice is that Palliative Care begins at the moment of diagnosis and does not depend on the stage of a person's medical condition. Residents in Palliative Care will receive life-prolonging treatments, whereas, in hospice, the focus is on comforting care.

Is There Such a Thing as Respite Memory Care?

Respite Care is for seniors recovering from a hospital visit or other health circumstances or who have a designated caregiver that has to take some time. While a caregiver is on vacation or for another reason, they can receive temporary placement in a Memory Care Community.

Do Residential Care Homes Provide Memory Care? 

Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFEs) are sometimes called "Assisted Living," "Board and Care," "Group Home," and "Personal Care Home." RCFEs are best for people who can no longer live alone but do not need the high level of care provided by Skilled Nursing or Assisted Living. These communities are not required to have nurses, certified nursing assistants, or doctors on staff. If your loved one is experiencing memory loss, an RCFE may or may not have the dementia care necessary, so it is essential to speak with the RCFE staff about their dementia care experience and licenses.

Memory Care vs. Continuum Care Retirement Community (CCRC)

Sometimes called Life Plan Communities or Continuing Care Retirement Communities, this type of community is ideal for those who don't require specialized medical care services but desire and need assistance with daily activities, including housekeeping, meal preparation, transportation services, and security. CCRCs are generally for those 55 and older (though age requirements can vary).

Furthermore, residents are free to come and go as they please in a CCRC. In comparison, Memory Care Communities offer safeguards such as coded elevators and fenced-in grounds to prevent residents from wandering off.

Is Memory Care Part of Skilled Nursing? 

Memory care is a specific form of skilled nursing care specialized for people diagnosed with Alzheimer's and dementia-related conditions. In a Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF), there may be a separate floor or section of the community for Memory Care. SNFs may have a more clinical, hospital-like environment, while Memory Care will be far more home-like.

Is Memory Care Part of Independent Living? 

Independent Living is for seniors looking to live as independently as personally feasible and typically is best for older adults who don't need much assistance or medical care. While it is a great long-term care option if your loved one has dementia or Alzheimer's, they will need more outstanding, specialized care.

Is Memory Care Part of In-Home Care? 

In-home care (through Home Health) and Memory Care Communities are senior care options for dementia or Alzheimer's disease, but they vary in cost, services, and therapies. It is essential to determine if in-home care or a Memory Care Community is more appropriate for your loved one.

Home Health professionals can give necessary one-on-one care and memory-boosting activities that allow seniors to remain at home. While Memory Care Communities offer features tailored to seniors with cognitive impairment, including full-time staff, safety, Memory Care tailored buildings, a high staff-to-resident ratio, and more.

Find out more about what services and activities Memory Care Communities provide in our next article.

Find a Senior Care Community in Your Area 

Memory Care and Assisted Living Communities provide many opportunities for support. If your loved one needs increased care, the best option for support will be a Memory Care Community. Let Referah's experts help you find the right services to meet your loved one's needs, including compassionate around-the-clock care. Search for a local Memory Care Community near you.

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