Memory Care: Facility vs. Stand-Alone

Alzheimer’s and dementia are two of the most common memory-loss diseases that are covered by memory care. This type of care covers a lot of services depending on the severity of an individual’s symptoms. Memory care also goes above and beyond the kind of care you’d likely find in an assisted living environment. More traditional services, such as housekeeping, laundry, and meal preparation may be given but the amount of help a resident receives with activities of daily living is greatly increased. A lot of times, these activities are specially designed to let the person reconnect with favorite hobbies or interests they may have.

In response to the uniqueness that Alzheimer’s and dementia presents, some communities may focus solely on providing memory care, or they may have a specific neighborhood that houses residents who need memory care. These communities often have designs which help to lower stress in those who suffer from Alzheimer’s or dementia. Such elements may include increased natural lighting, memory boxes outside the room, and a circular neighborhood design to accommodate safe wandering. Out of 10 people in more advanced stages, six will wander, so these types of communities are designed to minimize risks of wandering off— often through the use of security alarms on doors or increased safety checks.

Community life at a memory care community may not be as glamourous as an assisted living facility, but it’s not meant to be. They are meant to be simpler by design. Many communities have a secured courtyard that allows residents to be outside without fear of wandering off and getting lost. Apartments may be grouped around shared common areas, and hallways maybe be in bright colors to assist residents in finding their way around. Apartments themselves are mainly available in either private or companion options, with some even offering a one-bedroom apartment floor plan. The units in this type of facility normally don’t have kitchenettes that you may find in assisted living apartments, but again—this is to reduce the stress of the resident.

Dining rooms often have a family-style, so residents may dine together at mealtimes, and some even offer a specially-designed menu for those who don’t have much of an appetite—a side effect of Alzheimer’s and dementia.

The types of services offered include housekeeping, laundry, and meal prep, and they also provide help with activities of daily living. Skilled nursing services aren’t normally offered though unless the facility is part of a larger campus.

The main difference between memory care at a larger facility and a standalone memory care center is that that those provided by a facility are normally more community based, whereas a standalone memory care facility may not have that feeling of community.