Assisted Living or Memory Care - Which One is Right For Your Loved One?

When an elderly loved one needs to find a senior care community—it can be an overwhelming experience for the entire family. There are so many different options available and types of senior care communities that choosing the best option can seem nearly impossible. One of the biggest questions that families have regarding senior care is whether or not their loved one should be in a traditional assisted living and long-term care community or if they need to go to memory care.

With more seniors than ever dealing with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, memory care has become a popular solution for many elderly adults. While there are assisted living communities that also have memory care units in them, there is a difference between the two types of communities.

Memory Care Vs. Assisted Living

When you have your loved one go to a memory care community, you are taking them to a place that specifically caters to individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and other types of memory issues. They are going to have a more immersive experience in this type of care facility than with simply going to a special floor in an assisted living community. There are going to be more staff members who specialize in memory care available, and your loved one will have a larger community of residents to socialize and interact with.

While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s or dementia, there are treatments for Alzheimer’s that can help slow down the progression of this disease and help ensure a better quality of life during this difficult time. Memory care units can help make sure that your loved one is getting these types of treatment and the mental stimulation they need to slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

While both types of communities will be able to look after your loved one and their needs,memory care is simply more specialized and focused on memory issues. Many seniors who are already living in assisted living communities and start to develop memory issues will move first to a memory care floor in their existing home. Over time, as their dementia progresses, they may then decide to move to a new memory care community.

Finding a Memory Care Community for Your Loved One

Families who are trying to help their loved one find a memory care community to call their own, should make sure they have a memory care checklist of things that are important during their loved one’s care experience. This includes community amenities such as security services, physical therapy programs, medication management and social activities. These are all important things that can make or break a senior’s memory care experience.

Typically, communities that are entirely dedicated to memory care are going to have more amenities focused specifically on the needs of those with Alzheimer’s or dementia. This may include things like special layouts that prevent wandering.

What is most important, however, whether you choose memory care or a traditional assisted living community—is that you find a place that you and your family are comfortable with. The more comfortable you are with your senior loved one’s new home, the better off everyone will be with this experience. While making decisions about memory care can be difficult, you can rest assured knowing that your loved one is getting the care they deserve during this difficult time in their life.

To find senior care that suits your needs complete this form so we can connect you with the best care. Take a look at Nursing Home Ratings nationwide. 

LGBT Seniors Find Community

USA Today recently reported that a growing number of gay senior centers is opening in the U.S.

The needs of seniors in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community are a little different than the needs of those in the heterosexual community. According to Scott French, Program Manager for SAGECAP, a National Support Group for LGBT Older Adults, LGBT seniors are:
  • Twice as likely to age as a single person
  • Twice as likely to live alone
  • Three to four times less likely to have children to support them (adult children are the No. 1 source of unpaid care giving)
LGBT seniors are finally starting to see a trend in new and existing centers recognizing their unique needs and reaching out to offer inclusive housing and programs.

On March 3, 2012, New York-based SAGE Center opened the first full-time LGBT senior center in the U.S. in the Manhattan neighborhood of Chelsea. Internationally, the SAGE Center has plans to open gay retirement communities in Spain and Germany.

In June of 2011, Chicago’s Center on Halsted, which already provides a wealth of opportunities and programs for seniors in its community, announced plans with Heartland Alliance to build the Midwest's first affordable LGBT Senior Housing facility in 2012. The six-story apartment building will include 80 studio and 1-bedroom apartments designed for independent seniors and community rooms for classes and special events.

The Volen Center of Boca Raton, Florida offers "Alternatives/Sage", a program “specifically targeted to address the needs of the Gay and Lesbian Community”.

In May, the First White House conference on gay aging was held in Miami. There, it was acknowledged that gay seniors face unique obstacles because of discrimination, health-care inequities and fear of retaliation.

Historically, the Administration on Aging recognized the need to help service marginalized populations based on ethnicity, including African Americans and Hispanic/Latino communities. According to the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, “In the same vein, when the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded its historic grant in February 2010 to establish the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, it affirmed that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender older adults have unique needs that must be met by providers across the country.”

By law, senior centers cannot discriminate delivery of services based on race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, or sexual orientation. If you or one of your loved ones is part of the LGBT community and there are no dedicated services in your area (yet), can help you find a variety of quality senior care options.

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Assisted Living: How to Make the Right Choice

 Assisted Living Communities provide a safe environment for aging.  Our Guest Blogger today explains how to choose the right assisted living community.

Top Concerns When Choosing An Assisted Living Residence

According to the Assisted living Federation of America, over one million Americans are currently living in assisted living communities. They offer comfort, privacy and a home inspired atmosphere with the latest amenities. Assisted living residences are great options that combine independence and personal assistance in a residential environment. However, choosing an assisted living residence can be difficult and many individuals have certain concerns that need to be addressed. It is essential to find a residence with the right fit that is tailored to your needs. Choosing an assisted living residence is a big decision. Fortunately, today there are many assisted living options available. You may also want to research the nursing homes available near your assisted living residence, as Medicare does pay for short stays in nursing homes after a hospital stay.

Concerns about if Assisted Living for Me

Trying to decide if assisted living is right for you, is a top concern for many individuals. Assisted living may be for you, according to, if you find yourself tired of maintaining a home, needing more assistance than your family can provide, if you worry about your safety, if transportation is an issue or if you feel isolated. If the answer is yes to any of these questions, it may be a good time to consider if an assisted living residence may be right for you. The questions will also help to decide on the services you need and the facility of your choice should offer. You can get support you need on a daily basis, while remaining completely independent. Tour the facility and weigh their ability to meet your requirements as you consider your options available to you at this exciting time in your life. 

Concerns about Privacy

A major concern when choosing an assisted living residence is privacy. Assisted living will feel just like a private residence. There is total control over the environment in assisted living residences, because a resident can decorate their apartment or room, however they choose. Residents maintain a high level of privacy, as well as independence while still having the assistance of staff to help with any needs. Assisted living has a home like atmosphere along with social interaction. 

Concerns about Safety

Safety is a concern that all individuals looking for an assisted living residence should research carefully. Having a safe and secure environment is a concern that most individuals have when choosing an assisted living residence. A safe, secure and clean environment will guard against accidents and illnesses. To ease concerns always visit facilities to compare the levels of safety and comfort. Other safety concerns might include the experience and qualifications of the staff members. The most important factor when selecting an assisted living residence is that it feels safe, friendly and comfortable. The right residence for you will feel like home.

Concerns about the Costs

When choosing an assisted living residence cost most likely will be a concern. Many individuals shy away from assisted living, because their perception is that the cost is not within their means. Although it is a significant investment, it is possible to find a residence within your budget and not have to compromise on the level of care or services offered. Costs can vary greatly from facility to facility. Remember that the facility that you will be happiest at may not be the most expensive or fancy. Always evaluate the costs and do not assume that just because it is expensive, it is better. Focus on what the facility provides specifically for your needs and wants, and the quality of the staff.

Finding the Best Residence 

A big concern is finding the assisted living facility that is right for you. There are many choices to choose from for those trying to choose an assisted living residence. Therefore, it can be difficult to feel comfortable with your choice. Searching for the right fit is extremely important when choosing an assisted living residence. The goal should be to choose a facility that provides a residential environment that provides independence along with personalized support and offers what is important to you. Taking tours of residences that are under consideration is especially important. Take in the surroundings, the residents and the staff. After the tour if you can imagine being a member of the community and enjoying the services, amenities and socialization that is offered, then you will know it is a good fit and the place for you. 


Author Bio:


Author Bio:

Tom writes for Assisted Living Today, a leading source of information on a range of topics related to elderly care and and fantastic assisted living resources.



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Recession Provides Assisted Living Discounts

Today's Chicago Tribune features an interview with Caregiverlist's Senior Living Expert, Lisa Sneddon, discussing how the current economic downturn has resulted in new pricing values at Assisted Living Communities.  Since many seniors cannot sell their homes, their retirement plans to downsize and relocate to an Assisted Living Community have been derailed. 

However, there are now new options available for relocating to a senior community, from bridge loans until the senior's house is sold to waived move-in fees from the senior community. 

Lisa's service is paid for by the Assisted Living Communities as she will provide unbiased information to seniors and their families to give them the scoop on services and amenities at communities beyond just the costs - you know, if you are going to move in to a new community, it is the same as buying a house, you want to know a little about the neighbors and the community activities.  And, it is important to consider the care services that will be available as you age - from dementia care to nursing care.  Lisa will take the senior on a tour and will answer all the questions you might have been afraid to ask if you were shopping on your own.  She helps make sure the move-in will be a success and permanent.

Check out the Chicago Tribune story here.



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