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What’s the Difference between Memory Care & Nursing Homes?

People often confuse all senior communities with Nursing Homes. Find out the difference between Memory Care Facilities and Nursing Homes.
What’s the Difference between Memory Care & Nursing Homes?

As some seniors age, they begin to lose the ability to be as independent as they once were. This sort of decline can often be attributed to a decrease in cognitive ability, usually associated with some form of dementia or the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

When the time comes that an older adult can no longer safely live in their own home, some family members begin the process of looking for a senior community that will best fit their loved one’s needs. Memory Care communities are specifically designed for people living with dementia or Alzheimer’s.  

Many people today refer to all senior communities, including Memory Care, as a Nursing Home. However, this is highly inaccurate. There is a distinct difference between the two types of care communities.

Let’s take a closer look at both Memory Care and Nursing Homes and see how they are designed to meet the specific needs of their respective residents.

What is a Nursing Home?

Over the years, Nursing Homes have been referred to by many names, such as Skilled Nursing Facility, Long Term Care Facility or even an Old People’s home. Generally speaking, a Nursing Home is designed to help residents who have specific ongoing medical conditions that don’t require hospitalization, but cannot be adequately treated for at home. Most Nursing Homes have a nursing staff that is on duty 24 hours per day, 7 days a week.

In addition, many Nursing Home residents need help with the Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), such as bathing, eating, dressing, going to the bathroom and moving about. Nursing Homes can be utilized on a short term basis, like in the case of rehabilitation for a broken hip, or on a more permanent basis, which is known as long term care.  

Some Nursing Home residents also live with dementia or Alzheimer’s. However, the key takeaway is that Nursing Homes provide medical treatment for conditions that a Memory Care community cannot support.

What is Memory Care? 

Memory Care is a highly specialized type of senior community that focuses on caring for people who have dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. The spectrum of progression for these cognitive illnesses is wide, and Memory Care is designed to attend to the physical and emotional needs of residents at all stages, from onset to advanced. 

Memory Care residents receive highly individualized care in a setting that offers special services that bring dignity, meaning and purpose to their lives. People with dementia tend to function much better in environments that are stimulating, promote routine, and cater specifically to their needs.   

Residents also receive assistance with the Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), such as bathing, eating, dressing, going to the restroom and moving about. 

Activities and events specifically developed for Memory Care residents play a critical role in helping them spend their days not only enjoying themselves, but also receiving stimulation to optimize cognitive skills.   

Many Memory Care communities engage residents in such activities as arts and crafts, bingo, card writing, donation drives, dress up day, family movie night, group exercise class as well as a wide range of other events that give them a chance to interact and bond with their fellow residents.

Safety is of the utmost importance in Memory Care communities, as residents occasionally become confused or lost. Memory Care staff members are specially trained to keep residents safe from harm. These communities also have a nursing staff that specialize in working with seniors with cognitive impairments.

Assisted Living is another common care type offered. Learn more about the difference between Assisted Living and Nursing Homes.

Frontier Management is Here to Help  

If you have an aging parent or loved one who is living with the effects of dementia or Alzheimer’s, Memory Care communities are a great option to help meet their physical and cognitive needs. Frontier is proud to provide for our Memory Care residents our exclusive SPARK® program.

SPARK is a research based program inspired by the teachings and research of Maria Montessori and Dr. Cameron Camp, which focuses on giving residents meaningful ways to feel needed and be productive.

The program allows them to do the things that they have always done, in total alignment with their individual skill levels. It is our goal to help our residents reach their full potential, and also provide them an opportunity to spend their days with a sense of joyful purpose.

If you would like more information about our Memory Care services, we cordially invite you to visit one of our beautiful communities, take a tour and speak with our compassionate and friendly staff.

Learn more about our award winning SPARK program: https://frontiermgmt.com/frontiers-spark-program/

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