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Assisted Living vs. Memory Care: Learn the Differences

Senior woman speaking with nurse

Once you begin the process of looking into long-term care for your loved one, you might realize there are more choices than you initially realized. Senior living options can vary greatly based on what’s important to you: location, levels of care, amenities and cost.

When it comes to growing areas of senior living, assisted living and memory care are at the top. What does this mean for your loved one? It means you’ll have more options and be able to make better-informed decisions about the type of care best suited for your loved one’s needs.

Living Options for Seniors: Assisted Living vs. Memory Care

At most senior living communities, assisted living and memory care provide many of the same services. Both senior living options offer comfortable housing, nutritious meals, and help associated with the activities of daily living. Memory care takes things a step further by providing individualized and specialized care for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.

To make the best decision for your loved one’s future care, you’ll want to explore the unique differences between assisted living and memory care.

Staff Training

  • Memory care and assisted living communities share similar staff, including doctors, nurses, and certified assistants. In memory care communities, staff members have more specialized training to deal with individuals who may have anxiety, swallowing disorders, wandering, aggression, or depression.
    If your loved one is experiencing memory lapses, anxiety, or repetitive behaviors, memory care is probably the right option for you to consider.

Activities and Amenities

  • Most senior living communities provide activities and amenities to help improve the quality of life for residents while assisting them in getting the most out of each day. Memory care communities offer these same amenities, but they also provide specialized programming aimed at supporting the special needs of individuals with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia.


  • Assisted living communities are designed to provide residents with a sense of safety and security. They usually offer 24/7 support from helpful staff members. In memory care communities, there is typically a higher level of safety and security for residents to prevent wandering and other common symptoms of dementia.


  • Assisted living communities provide residents with three meals a day and usually offer restaurant-like settings or common areas to promote socialization. Memory care communities offer the same nutritious meals and take extra steps to help residents feel a sense of independence and dignity when it comes to nutrition and dining.

How to Decide Between Assisted Living and Memory Care

By having a serious conversation with your loved one’s primary care provider, you can ask essential questions and get the support you need in making the right decision about your loved one’s future care.

However, if your loved one is looking mainly for support associated with the activities of daily living and medication management, they might thrive in an assisted living community. Assisted living communities are designed to provide the support residents need while also offering them the independence they crave.

The Right Level of Care for Your Loved One and You

At Parkwood, we want our residents and their family members to enjoy each day with peace of mind about the future. With a continuum of care, your loved one can enjoy person-centered assisted living or memory care, based on their individual needs.

One of the reasons many people choose Parkwood is because we’ve been designated an Alzheimer’s Certified Memory Care Facility for both assisted living and skilled nursing residents. You can learn more about our assisted living community here. Whatever your need for long-term care, you’ll discover that we offer a unique level of service you won’t find anywhere else in the Mid-Cities area. We invite you to contact us to learn more about Parkwood and talk to us about how we can best serve your loved one and your family.