Assisted Living vs. Memory Care: Understanding the Differences

assisted living vs memory care

If you have a senior loved one in your family who is starting to require extra assistance, it may be time to consider care options. For many seniors and their families, in-home care is not a feasible option—either due to the projected cost, the unique demands of the senior individual, or a host of other factors. In these cases, community care is the clear choice.

Once you’ve determined that a senior living community is the right course for your loved one, you’ll be faced with a number of senior living communities and options from which to choose. Two of the most common among these are assisted living and memory care. In this guide, our experts here at St. Paul’s Senior Services discuss the differences between assisted living and memory care to help you make the right choice for your loved one. We also provide information on our very own senior assisted living and memory care communities right here in San Diego, CA. Read on to learn more about the differences between assisted living and memory care, and contact our friendly team here at St. Paul’s by calling (619) 239-6900 today!

What is Assisted Living?

Assisted living is perhaps the most common form of community care for seniors. In assisted living communities, seniors live in residences staffed by nursing professionals and other service employees. Staff provide seniors with personal care support services such as meals, medication management, bathing, dressing, and transportation. In most cases, seniors have their own private living quarters—though they frequently interact with staff for daily care and scheduled activities. In assisted living communities such as St. Paul’s Plaza and St. Paul’s Villa, care is tailored extensively to meet the unique needs of each senior in residence.

What is Memory Care?

Memory care is a distinct form of long-term skilled senior care that specifically caters to patients with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other types of memory problems. Memory care communities are staffed with nursing professionals who specialize in memory-related conditions. Like regular assisted living communities, they offer personal care support services such as meals, medication management, bathing, dressing, and transportation. They also offer a host of scheduled activities specially-tailored to meet the needs of seniors with memory-related conditions. (To supplement our memory care community, our team at St. Paul’s offers a comprehensive Senior Day Program for seniors with memory-related conditions who have not yet moved out of their homes.)

Essential Differences: Services

As mentioned above, both assisted living and memory care offer a number of care services to help seniors stay healthy and address daily needs. These services include meal preparation, medication management, bathing and dressing, transportation, and scheduled social activities. Services at memory care communities are distinguished by their special attentiveness to the memory-related conditions of seniors within the community. The physical layout and security of senior memory care communities are designed to better suit Alzheimer’s and dementia patients, minimizing wandering behavior and fostering easy navigation and comfort overall. At St. Paul’s, our outdoor and indoor spaces are designed to be both secure and soothing, with a range of familiar activities available and trained staff on hand. Services offered at both assisted living and memory care communities include:

  • Access to professional medical care whenever needed
  • Emergency call systems
  • Health and exercise programs
  • Housekeeping and laundry services
  • Scheduled social activities and programs
  • 24-hour staff supervision and security
  • Scheduled daily meals
  • Transportation for scheduled group activities
  • Individual transportation may be arranged

Essential Differences: Cost

In the community setting, both assisted living and memory care are typically more affordable that in-home senior care. Depending on location and amenities provided, assisted living communities typically cost residents several thousand dollars per month. Since senior memory care communities offer more specialized services for their residents, they usually cost considerably more than senior assisted living communities. To learn more about pricing for our senior care communities here at St. Paul’s, visit our Communities page or contact us directly to speak with a friendly member of our staff.

Assisted Living and Memory Care at St. Paul’s Senior Services

At St Paul’s Senior Services, we are proud to offer both assisted living and memory care to seniors in San Diego, CA. Staffed by highly-trained professionals and outfitted with industry’s latest amenities, our beautiful senior communities are among the finest in Southern California. To learn more about the differences between assisted living and memory care, and to take a tour of St. Paul’s Senior Services senior living community contact our team today!