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How a Memory Care Community Differs from a Nursing Home

While both nursing homes and memory care communities help with activities of daily living, only memory care communities are designed exclusively to care for the specific needs of those living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Some of those key differences include a greater level of security, which is important for someone who may be prone to wandering or getting lost. The building, interiors, and outdoor spaces are thoughtfully designed with dementia residents in mind. For example, brighter colors, accent walls, and circular corridors can help someone with dementia navigate their way around.

Memory care communities have specially trained professionals who offer therapy centered around touch and validation, which are two things that are needed in all our lives but often become especially hard to reach for those suffering due to dementia-related behaviors such as withdrawal, confusion, sadness, and aggression. Furthermore, nursing home staff are not as trained as memory care staff and may opt to sedate someone with challenging behaviors while an expert memory care nurse or therapist will work to get to the root of those behaviors with a holistic approach.

Both nursing homes and memory care communities offer fun weekly outings, but memory care communities plan events intended to nurture cognitive function as well as provide socialization while nursing homes simply provide entertainment. Residents will receive three daily, nutritious meals at either type of facility, but only memory care communities use brightly colored plates, which, studies have shown, help stimulate appetite and increase food recognition. We created the graphic below to illustrate why Memory Care is the better choice for your loved one living with memory challenges, Alzheimer’s, or other dementias.