Memory care is a Senior Living care option that offers specialized care for those living with forms of dementia such as Alzheimer’s Disease, memory loss or cognitive impairment. These are typically long-term care communities that feature secure environments, highly trained caregivers and a more advanced level of care.
Memory care focuses on helping individuals stay engaged, enjoy a better quality of life than they might at home, and enjoy a range of social activities and cognitive exercises which can strengthen memory and boost overall wellness.
2. What is the Difference Between Memory Care and Assisted Living?
A Memory Care facility is different from an Assisted Living facility in a few key ways. Memory Care provides loved ones with specific memory care programs, wellness and enrichment services that are memory and reminiscent focused.
While someone in an assisted living community may simply require assistance with the activities of daily living, a memory care resident is likely to need personal care as well as additional safety features in their home and community. Secure doors to prevent wandering, calming therapies and environments to alleviate agitation or stress, and tailored activities like crafts, games, or art projects that require minimal motor skills, focus on enrichment, and create positive outlets, are all part of memory care based programming.
Memory Care services are tailored not only to memory impairment more generally, but also differ depending on the needs, preferences and restrictions of each individual.
You can read more about different care levels in our article here.
3. What is the Difference Between Memory Care and Dementia Care?
Essentially, all three refer to the same thing, and the terms are interchangeable. Memory Care is the most commonly used term of the three, but all generally refer to individuals with any type of memory-related healthcare concern, whether that is a form of dementia or another cognitive impairment.
Each of these whether Memory Care or Dementia Care providers, assist individuals dealing with a wide range of unique needs. Care plans or care levels may partner with skilled nursing services, nursing homes, or healthcare providers in order to offer the best possible quality of life for residents.
4. Why Do People Go To Memory Care?
Memory Care is a wonderful option for older adults with dementia who wish to experience community living, continue enjoying social interactions and activities, but who require additional assistance and/or an environment tailored to their needs.
Memory Care communities, or senior living communities with memory care units, consist of caring staff members who offer compassionate, dignified assistance with everything from daily physical activity classes to art classes, music therapy, gardening, and other specialized programs and therapies.
Generally, Memory Care focuses on creating a calm, peaceful environment full of support, understanding, and assistance so those experiencing confusion of disassociation can find a comforting and welcoming home free of anxiety, pressure, or overstimulation.
5. When to Consider Memory Care?
It may be time to consider Memory Care for a loved one or family member if the individual is showing signs of extreme confusion, disorientation, or you start to feel they may be unsafe in their home.
Common signs that come along with memory loss include a lack of appetite or a decrease in the desire to prepare adequate meals, or the inability to remain clean and hygienic - this could be personal washing and bathing, wearing soiled or unwashed clothes regularly, or forgetting/losing interest in washing bedding and linens. Disorientation and confusion are also key signs of early dementia, as are drastic changes in behavior, mood, or demeanor, as memory loss can often cause agitation, anxiety, or even forms of aggression.
A Memory Care community is a great alternative to in-home care when these signs are present, as they usually indicate that your loved one should no longer be left in a home unattended for large periods of time.
What is the Goal of Memory Care?
While dementia and memory loss are conditions that do not yet have a cure, the goal of memory care is to offer those with memory loss the highest possible quality of life. Creating a secure home where residents can live with dignity and independence while still having security, assistance and caregivers on hand ensures their overall well-being in a kind, compassionate and engaged community.
7. What Features are Included in Memory Care?
Memory Care communities include standard senior care services as well as assistance catered specifically to those with memory loss conditions. These standard services include: individualized care programs that grow and change with the needs of each resident; bathing, grooming, hygienic and dressing assistance; walking and mobility assistance; medication management; incontinence care; and regular housekeeping such as daily bed-making and personal laundry service.
In addition, Memory Care communities have activities, programs and therapies catered to the specific needs of those with cognitive impairment. A good Memory Care community will have a robust activity calendar with a variety of options for residents to engage in. These activities may range from arts and craft sessions to gardening activities or time spent in outdoor spaces, reminiscent activities, adapted games times such as color matching games, adapted bingo games, or memory boosting activities.
8. What is the Average Monthly Cost For Memory Care?
The cost of Memory Care will vary from community to community depending on both location (such as which state you are looking in) as well as the level of care you desire. Reach out to a community in your search area to learn more about base costs and care fees. In many cases, pricing may be all inclusive, so it is important to note that “monthly rent” also can include meals, home maintenance, scheduled transportation, utilities and in-home care. Together, these services and features often end up being cheaper than home ownership or opting for home care.
You can learn more about financial planning and the costs of senior living here - it may be cheaper than you think!
9. What Questions Should I Ask When Looking at a Memory Care Community?
Finding the right community may mean something different for everyone, but there are some tips that can help you on your journey to the perfect senior living community for yourself or a loved one. Narrowing down your search area is a good place to start, then focusing on the care needs or services your family member needs to thrive. From there, visiting a community is a great way to get to know the residents, staff, and team members that will be new neighbors. Talking to current residents or resident ambassadors will help you get a feel for what life is truly like in the community.
10. How is Memory Care at Pacifica Senior Living Different From Other Communities?
Memory Care communities - like the ones at Pacifica Senior Living - provide excellent care to your loved one in need of Memory Care. We're here to offer our residents a dignified and compassionate experience. Pacifica recognizes each resident has unique needs, which is why we always use customized personal care plans. We work with individuals and their loved ones to create a care plan that works best for you, while also including standard services.
Check out our website, or sign up for more information about a community or communities in your local area for more information.