The Cottages Blog

Assisted Living vs. Memory Care: What Are the Differences?

Posted by Michelle Kelley on Jan 21, 2017 9:00:00 AM


Two of the most popular types of senior care today are assisted living and memory care. When our loved ones can’t live on their own anymore, often times we must choose between the available care there is. But what is the right type of care for your loved one?

Assisted Living vs. Memory Care

While many assisted living communities have memory care units on their property, the two types of care are not the same. Assisted living offers independent living for seniors who want the convenience of living on their own while still getting some help with certain tasks of daily life. Seniors who choose assisted living can still live successfully on their own and do not need 24-hour monitoring by a doctor or other specialized health care personnel.

Memory care provides long-term skilled nursing that is specifically geared toward patients who have Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, or other memory problems. Memory care units offer 24-hour supervised care. Memory care units are usually located on a special, closed off wing of an assisted living community or nursing home. They are strictly regulated in a different way from assisted living communities.

Services and Cost

Assisted living communities and memory care units usually charge on a monthly basis. Since memory care units provide more services for more extended periods of time, they are often on the more expensive side. The cost really depends on the community you’re looking at, which amenities are provided, and which ones cost extra.

Both types of care offer basic supervised care, medical monitoring, and help with certain activities of daily life like dressing, hygiene, and moving around. They also have 24-hour on-call staff and an emergency call system,. Some of the services that may cost extra are daily meals, housekeeping, laundry services, places to exercise, clubs and meeting places where seniors can socialize with other residents, and transportation options, where approved. Memory care units often offer more structured activities and programs specifically designed for memory care patients.


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Michelle Kelley

Written by: Michelle Kelley

Michelle Haigler Kelley is a native of Montgomery, Alabama. She and her husband Shane live in Pike Road with their daughters. She graduated from Auburn University at Montgomery and began her career in the senior care industry as an Activity Director before obtaining her Alabama Assisted Living Administrator License in 2014. “I have truly found my calling in life to work with our seniors. After all, they are considered the greatest generation,” says Michelle. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and going to the lake.