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Differences in Assisted Living and Memory Care Facilities for those with Alzheimer’s or other forms of Dementia

For those with Alzheimer’s or Dementia, the level of needed care and supervision will vary depending on the stage of the progression. For many families this means some form of residential care in assisted living or memory care facilities. Here are some of the differences.


Assisted Living Facilities in Jacksonville:
While many with early-stage Alzheimer’s can function independently, those who are in the middle-stage of the disease will require extra supervision and care. This middle-stage is when assisted living is a good option. In assisted living facilities, individuals generally live in a private studio, private apartment, or a shared apartment, and have staff available to assist them 24 hours a day. This type of living arrangement is ideal for those who are still able to live with some independence, but do require assistance with activities of daily living, such as doing light housecleaning, bathing, toileting, dressing, and mobility. Assisted living facilities also provide healthy meals, medication management, transportation to and from appointments, and a variety of social activities.


Memory Care Units in Jacksonville:
Individuals in later-stages of the disease will require the higher level of skilled care and supervision, that memory care units provide. Memory care facilities offer both private and shared living spaces.  Sometimes they exist as a wing within an assisted living facility or nursing home or they may operate as stand-alone residences. Round the clock, supervised care is provided by staff trained to care for the individual needs and demands of patients. Memory care communities offer the same professional services as assisted living facilities, in addition to activities that are designed to stimulate the memory of those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias and possibly slow the progression of the disease. Activities are customized to the individual’s mental capacity and may involve music, arts and crafts, games, etc.  


Other Differences:

Many memory care units are architecturally designed to meet the specific needs of Alzheimer’s patients. Unlike some assisted living facilities, memory care units do not have individual kitchens for their residents. This is for increased safety and to keep the stress of those with the disease at a minimum.

While assisted living facilities have secure areas to accommodate those with mild dementia, memory care facilities place extra emphasis on security to prevent patients from wandering, which is common in those with more advanced dementia. Many locations offer a secure outside area, so that patients can still enjoy being outdoors, but are unable to leave the property.

Staff Skills and Training:
In assisted living communities, the staff is trained to assist patients with typical daily activities. In memory care units, the staff is trained to assist with activities of daily living, as well as trained to handle the specific needs of those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. This training includes understanding how the disease manifests itself, knowing why dementia patients may exhibit disruptive behavior, how to respond to it, and how to communicate with individuals with the disease.

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