How to Decide If Your Aging Parent Needs a Senior Assisted Living or Memory Care

March 15th, 2016 by John Wilson

Assisted living and memory care differ in the level of care provided to residents so this is a choice that can impact a senior’s overall safety and well-being. When elderly memory loss is a concern, it’s time for an in-depth discussion with an aging parent’s primary physician. That can offer valuable insight on the degree and cause of the memory loss, better equipping you to make the right decision for your aging parent.

What Assisted Living Offers Residents

Senior assisted living is often an ideal solution for an older person in need of a more basic degree of medical monitoring and some assistance with the activities involved in daily living. Depending on the specifics offered by a particular assisted living community, services may include assistance with housekeeping chores, personal care and hygiene, transportation to medical appointments, shopping and social events, meals and fitness programs.

Residents may have a private apartment in a larger residential community or some similar living arrangement, ensuring they can still enjoy the pleasures of independent living. For many seniors, especially those with mobility issues, senior assisted living not only helps them retain independence, but actually increases it. Having reliable transportation available results in greater autonomy and an opportunity to return to a more active way of life.

Specialized care may require elderly memory loss.

Elderly memory loss may require specialized care.

How Memory Care Differs

Memory care is set up differently than assisted living to better meet the needs of residents with significant memory impairments, such as those associated with Alzheimer’s and dementia. In addition to the supportive services typically offered in assisted living communities, memory care residents are more closely supervised to better assure their safety and comfort. There are more staff members on hand to help everything run smoothly.

Living spaces are usually semi-private. Ease of mobility and comfort are priorities in common areas and living areas. The floor plans of these areas are designed to help minimize confusion and limit wandering. Activities are more structured in memory care, but the goal is to achieve a safe, healthy balance between independence and supportive care. Memory care can be an excellent residential option when memory impairment has advanced to the degree assisted living is no longer the safest option but not to the point of requiring nursing home care.

Understanding Memory Loss

What causes memory loss in seniors isn’t always dementia, Alzheimer’s or a similar debilitating condition. With a recent onset or worsening of memory loss, seniors should review all medications with their doctor, especially if there have been changes in dosage or medications. Several commonly prescribed medications, including those prescribed for blood pressure, arthritis and incontinence, can affect memory. Seniors with multiple health conditions may find they are taking medications that don’t work well together. Resolving medication conflicts or problems can reverse memory loss if that is the cause.

Investigate elderly memory loss carefully, then make the choice between senior assisted living or memory care. That way, you can be confident you’ve made the best decision possible for your loved one. Contact us for more information about choosing between assisted living and memory care.

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