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When to Move from Assisted Living to Memory Care

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An older adult man sitting with a cane conversing with a nurse holding a book.

We’re all individual people with unique needs—and needs rarely stay the same throughout our lives. Fortunately, there are typically several levels of care available for seniors who call a senior community home. Each type of senior living lifestyle offers care for different walks of life, assisted living and memory care being 2 examples of similar types of care that cater to different people. 

But you may be wondering how you or your loved one will know it’s time to transition from one to another. Some signs it’s time to move from assisted living to memory include:

  • An increase in confusion or disorientation
  • Decreased social engagement
  • An increase in medical needs
  • A decline in physical health
  • An increase in wandering

Keep in mind that these are only general guidelines. You should always seek the advice of qualified professionals such as doctors or caregivers when determining whether a transition may be necessary. 

What Is Assisted Living?

Assisted living communities are senior living communities designed for older folks who require varying levels of assistance with daily living activities such as bathing, dressing, or medication management. Assisted living communities strive to promote independence and socialization for their residents while providing various levels of care and support.

Many communities offer private or semi-private apartments, meals, housekeeping, laundry, and transportation. However, the services and amenities offered can vary between communities, so it’s important to tour a community before committing to living there.

What Is Memory Care?

Memory care communities are specialized communities that cater to individuals with memory-related challenges such as dementia or Alzheimer’s. These communities have a unique set of attributes that can help take care of the safety and well-being of residents.

Memory care communities are designed to have secure environments that minimize the chances of individuals wandering off or getting lost. The staff typically has training that qualifies them to deal with the potential challenges that can come with dementia or one of its related conditions.

It’s important to note that memory care communities may offer many services similar to an assisted living community. Unlike traditional senior living lifestyle options, they are specifically designed to help individuals with memory-related challenges.

Is It Time to Transition from Assisted Living to Memory Care?

There isn’t a single reason it may be time to transition from assisted living to memory care because it depends on each individual’s cognitive ability, physical health, and other needs.

Increased Confusion & Disorientation

One of the first signs that it may be time to consider memory care is if you or your loved one are experiencing increased confusion and disorientation. This may manifest in getting lost in familiar places, difficulty with simple tasks, or forgetting important information such as names or dates.

Memory care communities are specially equipped to handle the unique needs of those with cognitive decline by providing a structured environment and personalized support to help them navigate day-to-day tasks and maintain a sense of familiarity and routine.

Decreased Social Engagement

If you or your loved one are experiencing decreased social engagement, this may be a sign that assisted living is no longer meeting your needs. This could involve withdrawing from activities, social clubs, or hobbies an individual once enjoyed.

Memory care communities strongly emphasize social interaction and engagement, with specialized programs and activities designed to promote socialization and overall well-being. Staff encourage and can offer support in any way necessary to help residents connect and socialize.

Increased Medical Needs

Those with advanced memory loss often require increased medical attention and support, including medication management, wound care, and other specialized treatments. Assisted living communities may be able to help in some cases but may not have the staff or equipment necessary to handle these needs as they increase.

In memory care, residents can receive personalized medical attention and support from staff with training to handle the unique needs of those with memory loss and cognitive decline.

Declining Physical Health

Physical health declines can be a natural part of aging, but memory care communities are typically equipped to provide specialized care to help maintain the physical well-being of residents. This care includes support with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, and mobility assistance.

Memory care staff typically have the training to provide specialized exercises, and rehabilitation programs are designed to improve physical abilities and overall health, helping residents maintain their independence and quality of life.

Increased Wandering or Elopement Risk

Wandering or elopement is a common issue for those with Alzheimer’s or dementia and can place individuals at risk of injury or harm. Memory care communities have security features to prevent wandering and make sure residents are safe.

In addition to security measures, memory care communities also have specially trained staff members who can provide support and supervision to those at risk of wandering or elopement, allowing them to have the freedom to move around safely.

5 older adults sitting on a couch, smiling and laughing

Find Out if Memory Care Is Right for Your Loved One

There isn’t any single reason an older adult should move into memory care because it depends on each person’s unique situation. The professional caregivers in these communities can often offer insight into which type of senior living lifestyle is right for your loved one.

Call our compassionate team at The Legacy at Long Meadow. We’re happy to answer all your questions and give you a community tour. That way, you and your loved one can rest knowing they’ll receive adequate care to live their best life.

Written by LifeWell

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