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Memory Care vs. Assisted Living

As a memory care home, we offer specialized care to individuals with Alzheimer’s and dementia.  We are not an assisted living facility.  Although not everyone knows the differences, memory care and assisted living are not in fact the same.  Here are some of the major differences between typical assisted living facilities and specialized memory care homes. 


Different Residents 

One clear distinction between memory care homes and assisted living facilities is who lives there.  In an assisted living facility, there can be a much wider range of residents.  Some individuals may have physical impairments, mental impairments, or may simply need assistance completing some daily tasks as their mobility has decreased with age.  But memory care homes are specifically for individuals with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. 


Home Design 

Assisted living facilities can have many different looks and designs.  To some extent, this is true for memory care homes as well. However, memory care homes are all specially designed with the needs of those with memory impairment in mind.  This means that there are dementia-friendly elements, such as increased cuing to residents to not feel lost. Everything from the home’s layout to the way furniture is arranged to the way doorways and rooms are labeled is designed with best practices for memory care in mind. 

Clare front

Special Training and Experience 

Beyond the home itself, the care provided in a memory care home is also more specialized.  Caretakers are often specially-trained, and have experience specifically in caring for those with memory impairment.  Individuals with Alzheimer’s and dementia often have different needs than the general population.  Here at Dolan Memory Care Homes, our staff is specially trained to meet these needs, and provide the highest quality of life to all our residents.  


Smaller Size

Research has shown that a calm and quiet environment is very important for the quality of life of those with memory impairments.  Based on this, memory care homes tend to house fewer residents than traditional assisted living facilities. We keep our homes small so residents can build genuine connections with each other and with our care team, so they can lead the most comfortable and consistent lives possible. Admittedly, not every single memory care home is built and designed with this research in mind: Some are larger and more chaotic.  But all of our Dolan Care Homes are calm and intimate, housing no more than 10-11 residents and feeling like a real home. 



Finally, one of the most important factors people worry about when their loved ones move into a memory care home is security.  With Alzheimer’s and dementia, wandering behaviors are common, and can be very dangerous.  Not only is our staff specially trained and in the homes 24/7, but memory care homes also have other security measures.  Our backyards and locked and secured, along with the inside of our homes to prevent any residents from unknowingly wandering off and putting themselves at risk. We take safety and security very seriously in our homes.  This is another different between memory care and assisted living: Assisted living facilities are not as tightly secured. 


All in all, memory care homes and assisted living are two entirely different things.   While there may be some similarities, memory care homes are much more specialized and cater specifically to those with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. 

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