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What Is Memory Care? The Ins and Outs of What to Expect

Christine Kelly | Mar 16, 2023

One out of six women and one out of ten men will eventually develop dementia after the age of 55. Although this is still a relatively small portion of the 55+ population, these numbers highlight the importance of having a plan for memory care in place.

If you’re considering memory care, there might be a lot of questions running through your mind, including:

  • What is memory care living?
  • What is the difference between memory care and assisted living?
  • When is it time for memory care?

We’ve answered these questions (and a few more) to help offer some clarity and help make sure you find a memory care community that includes the features that are most important to you

What Is Memory Care?

To put it simply, memory care is an important segment of the long-term care industry designed to address the unique needs of people who are living with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other cognitive challenges.

Memory care communities have staff who are specifically trained to help navigate memory impairment challenges, as well as tailored environments for each person's specific care needs and lifestyle.

Considering those with memory issues need around-the-clock care, memory care typically includes 24-hour medical assistance, as well as dedicated staff to help with important everyday health tasks (e.g., taking medicine). But these special services go beyond healthcare. Many memory care communities include laundry services and daily housekeeping. They’ll also prepare and serve meals for memory care patients, which takes that burden off your daily to-do list.

Group of seniors play game around table

What Is Memory Care vs. Assisted Living?

Assisted living allows residents to live in an environment where they can receive care and help as needed, but ultimately live a life of independence. As a result, assisted living communities usually offer more privacy and often do not follow a structured schedule.

On the other hand, memory care includes care that is specific for individuals with Alzheimer's, dementia, or other cognitive challenges. These individuals usually require additional assistance and face unique challenges that require a customized care plan. Staff who work for memory care programs are also trained to help residents who feel disoriented or confused, and meals and activities are created around the specific needs of those with cognitive impairment.

Not sure if assisted living or memory care is the right next step for you or a loved one? Our healthcare providers will work together with you, your family, and your practitioner to discuss your options.

Memory Care Creates Safe Spaces for Residents

Not only are the services set up to accommodate those with memory issues, but they also arrange the environment to keep you safe. There will usually be an emergency call button in each room, as well as in common areas. Memory care facilities will typically be set up for easy navigation and they’ll keep outdoor areas secure to ensure you stay safe at all times.

What Are Memory Care Activities?

Memory care residents often benefit from cognitively stimulating activities, including:

  • Music therapy
  • Fine motor activities, such as puzzles, knitting, or even folding clothes
  • Storytelling or keeping a journal
  • Watering plants
  • Physical activity and exercise

Memory care programs usually stick to a routine to help create a place of consistency and safety for our residents.

Encouraging Social Interaction


Studies support the importance of social interaction to cognitive health in those with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Today’s memory care communities address this by packing in plenty of activities that encourage interaction.

As you’re looking for a memory care community, ask about social interaction. Make sure to ask if the community groups members by cognitive level to ensure you or your loved one will benefit from socialization times.

When Is It Time for Memory Care?

Before searching for a memory care community, make a list of the things that are most important to you. It’s important to ask the questions necessary to make sure you choose the place that has all the services you need.

Oftentimes, the best way to decide whether a community is the right one for you is to take a tour and get a feel for whether or not the environment feels like home.

Have more questions about memory care and what it entails?

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