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What Is the Difference Between Memory Care and Dementia Care?

August 21, 2023

As our population ages, memory care and dementia care have become essential aspects of our healthcare system. 

Care facilities dedicated to supporting common obstacles and illnesses caused by aging, like Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other age-related memory diseases, provide essential health services to the 15% of Americans who are over age 65. 

In this article, we’ll explore the multifaceted responsibilities of caring for someone with dementia at home, compare memory care vs. nursing home, and more, as we explore the difference between memory care and assisted living.

What Is Memory Care?

Memory care is a specialized long-term care facility designed specifically to support individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s, dementia, amnesia, and similar conditions that affect short and long-term memory.

Memory care homes often provide:

  • Physical therapy
  • Medication management
  • 24-hour staff supervision
  • Assistance with personal grooming
  • Housekeeping and laundry services
  • Meal planning, prepping, and service

Memory Care vs. Assisted Living

Understanding the difference between memory care and assisted living is vital. 

While memory care homes focus exclusively on supporting those with memory loss challenges, assisted living facilities provide a broader range of support and may not have the specialized training required for memory care.

What Is the Difference Between Memory Care and Dementia Care

Both memory care and dementia care aim to support individuals with memory loss, but there are critical differences.

Memory Care for Independent Functioning

Memory care is best for those who retain some degree of independent function despite memory loss struggles. They may require daily support but do not require comprehensive or highly-skilled care.

Dementia Care for Advanced Memory Loss

Dementia care is designed for those with advanced memory loss. This care includes more intensive and specialized services such as:

  • 24-Hour Supervision and Security
  • Personal Care
  • Medication Management
  • Nutrition and Meal Assistance
  • Housekeeping and Laundry Services
  • Exercise and Physical Therapy
  • Social Activities and Recreation
  • Cognitive Therapies and Activities
  • Healthcare Services
  • Family Support and Education

Top 3 Signs Your Loved One With Dementia Needs Nursing Home Care

If you are caring for someone with dementia at home, watch for these signs that may indicate a need for nursing home care:

  1. Increased wandering and disorientation: One of the most distressing behaviors in people with dementia is wandering. They may wander off at odd times, becoming disoriented and lost even in familiar surroundings. This behavior can pose significant safety risks, especially if they wander outside unnoticed. They might be exposed to traffic, harsh weather, or other dangers. Even within the home, disorientation can lead to accidents.
    If this behavior becomes frequent and you’re unable to ensure their safety consistently, a nursing home with specialized dementia care facilities can provide the secure environment they need.
  2. Struggles with daily activities like bathing and eating: As dementia progresses, it can impact a person’s ability to carry out basic self-care tasks. This can include challenges with bathing, dressing, toileting, or feeding oneself.
    Risks: Struggling with these basic tasks can affect their hygiene, nutrition, and overall health. It can also lead to feelings of frustration and lowered self-esteem.
    When daily care tasks become too challenging to manage at home or pose a risk to your loved one’s health and dignity, it might be time to consider a nursing home. These facilities have trained staff who can assist with daily living activities, ensuring your loved one’s needs are met.
  3. Frequent bouts of aggression, confusion, and forgetfulness: Behavioral and mood changes are common in dementia. Your loved one might display aggression, increased confusion, or heightened forgetfulness more frequently. These behaviors can strain familial relationships and might even pose a threat to both the person with dementia and their caregivers. It can also increase the risk of self-harm or accidents within the home.
    If these behaviors become consistent and unmanageable, and home-based interventions aren’t effective, a nursing home can provide a structured environment. Here, trained professionals can address behavioral challenges and provide therapeutic interventions tailored to the individual’s needs.

How Do You Tell the Difference Between Alzheimer’s and Dementia

Alzheimer’s is a specific type of dementia, while dementia is a general term for memory loss and cognitive impairment. 

Memory care homes can cater to most Alzheimer’s patients, but advanced Alzheimer’s cases may require more specialized dementia care facilities. 

If you’re unsure of the severity of your loved one’s memory loss, be sure to consult their physician before making any care decisions.

Where Is the Best Place for Someone With Dementia

The best place for someone with dementia depends on the severity and specific needs. 

Memory care in Carmel, Indiana, offers specialized memory care, while those with advanced symptoms may need a dementia care facility equipped to provide intensive support.

How Story Cottage Can Help

Are you looking for caring, compassionate support for a loved one struggling with memory loss? 

Schedule a visit to Story Cottage Carey GrovelStory Cottage Meridian Hills, or Story Cottage West Clay to see our innovative solutions and comfortable homes. Contact us today to learn more!