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How to distinguish memory care from assisted living

You have noticed your parent is struggling with being able to remember some things. You fear the onset of dementia, though at the moment your parent is still capable of functioning independently with some help. This is where it helps to know what memory care is, which is not the same as regular assisted living.

In the event you have to move your parent to a facility to live, you should consider investigating memory care facilities. The AARP provides some background to help distinguish assisted living and memory care from each other.

The basics of memory care

The idea behind an assisted living facility is to help residents with their needs but not to treat them like nursing home patients. These residents still have enough independence to do things like manage their own time, eat on their own and attend activities.

Memory care is for people who suffer from Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. Memory care staff will deal with particular issues stemming from Alzheimer’s or dementia. They help residents go to meals and activities as well as make frequent checks on residents’ well-being. In the process, memory care workers put routines in place to give residents a well-structured and low-stress environment.

Memory care requires scrutiny

Since memory care caters to people with dementia, this form of care takes extra steps to protect residents from hurting themselves. For example, the Alzheimer’s Association has found that six in ten people who have dementia are prone to wandering. To prevent a patient from wandering away, memory care facilities will generally have measures like the following:

  • Doors with alarms
  • Elevators with an access code
  • Enclosed outdoor spaces
  • Tracking bracelets for residents

Memory care still offers residents certain amounts of freedom depending on their level of cognitive function. You just have to determine how much leeway your parent should have. The staff that cares for your loved one should also know the level of freedom appropriate for your parent and take the right measures.

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