I am confused: Is assisted living facility for dementia called memory care? Or is assisted living for dementia and memory care for dementia two different types of facility?

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What a great question! Each community is designed differently and has unique features to care for their residents. In most communities you will find assisted living to be for seniors who require assistance with activities of daily living, such as dressing, bathing, groom or medication reminders. Some assisted livings are designed specifically for those with memory loss in mind. An assisted living that offers memory care will often offer a secure setting with activities geared specifically towards those with memory loss as well as the activities of daily living mentioned above.
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My parents both live in a stand alone memory care.  I also looked at some memory cares that were part of an assisted living.

I think if you have very early dementia and can handle yourself in an assisted living environment (where you most likely get very little assistance) might be able to choose an assisted living with a memory care attached so you can get a higher level care once needed.

My mom is one of the highest functioning in the memory care she lives with my dad.. but no way could she handle herself in an assisted living.  She would get lost, forget to eat, be way more confused, and get into all kinds of things that she is protected from in the memory care.  

Pretty much everything is taken care of for them at the memory care.  Their room is really just a bedroom with a bathroom.. no kitchenette.  They are assisted with toileting, showers, when to eat, activities... etc.  Everything at the memory care is designed for people with dementia.. to keep them calmer and less confused and agitated.  Memory care is also a locked in facility.. they cant just walk out to the street.. unless a family member comes to get them.

Oh.. also .. memory care is way more expensive then assisted living.. in my experience anyway.
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Assisted living and NH/Memory Care are two separate levels of care. AL is for those who may need help with bathing, medication management, etc but are still able to be somewhat ambulatory and are for the most part alert and oriented to their surroundings. NH/Memory Care is for those who may be bedridden, trouble feeding themselves, prone to wander/need locked facility, etc., just generally need a higher level of care than AL can provide.

Depending on the level of dementia, some that have early stage dementia may still live in AL, and then later move to NH/Memory Care once their disease progresses and they are no longer able to live in AL and need a higher level of care.

It's best to talk with your loved one's doctor to determine what level of care is needed, and then visit facilities that provide that level of care to see which is a good fit. AL facilities do vary in the levels of care provided. There are some that have AL and memory care on the same campus, making for an easier transition when the time comes.
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