Key Differences Between Personal Care, Memory Care, and Assisted Living

Key Differences Between Personal Care, Memory Care, and Assisted Living


Perhaps you’ve woken up and realized that it’s time. Time to seek out options that better nurture your loved one’s physical, emotional, and cognitive health in the midst of cognitive decline. If that’s you, we’re here to help.

The Haven offers specialized Memory Care services in a warm and welcoming environment. One of the most common questions we answer is, “How is a Memory Care facility different than Assisted Living?” We hope this information helps you recognize similarities and differences and ultimately make an informed decision about the care of your loved one.

Living Spaces

Traditionally, assisted living residents to live in apartments or cottages equipped with bedroom(s), bathroom, living room, and kitchen and set up much like home. Contrarily, memory care residents often choose between private rooms or shared rooms and then share common spaces within their communities. Kitchenettes are less common as they pose safety risks and increase anxiety for residents experiencing cognitive decline.


Both assisted living and memory care communities offer 24/7 staffing. However, memory care employees receive specialized training to assist them in meeting the physical, emotional, and intellectual needs of memory-impaired residents. These employees are focused primarily in the area of memory care, while assisted living employees may be trained in multiple areas and expected to care for residents in all stages of the aging process.


Both assisted living and memory care communities offer programming that includes activities designed to promote physical, social, and spiritual wellness among residents. While memory care residents may be able to participate in some assisted living activities, the activity calendar in a memory care community caters to these residents in particular, which means they can participate in any activity they choose. Additionally, activities are selected based on the most recent and relevant research in cognitive impairment to ensure they contribute to the well-being of the resident and assist with memory retention and preventing disease progression.


The most significant differences between assisted living and memory care communities are related to resident safety. Assisted living communities are designed for residents who are largely independent; that is, they can come and go safely, prepare and cook their own meals, and even manage their own medications if they choose. Contrarily, memory care communities are designed to keep memory-impaired residents safe. Locking up dangerous chemicals, providing safety mechanisms on stoves and ovens, and preventing unmonitored wandering are just a few of the ways that safety is maintained in these specially-designed communities.

Personal care

Both assisted living and memory care communities offer assistance with common activities of daily living, like oral cares, dressing, bathing, meal preparation, medication administration, and housekeeping. There are very few differences between the personal care services available in assisted living communities and those available in memory care communities.


Research has uncovered that certain colors, furniture placements, and layouts can alleviate anxiety and improve familiarity for residents suffering from memory impairment. Memory care communities base community design and layout on recent research to promote resident wellness and comfort. This is generally not the case for assisted living communities since most residents are relatively independent and the need isn’t as strong.

Overall, there are a number of similarities between assisted living and memory care communities, but a few differences that lead many families to choose specialized memory care facilities over assisted living to promote safety and wellness. To learn more about the Haven or to schedule a tour of our building and grounds, please visit us online, give us a call, or stop by today. We’re excited to learn more about how we can partner with you for your loved one’s care.

*This blog was first published here: Sunshine Retirement Living, August, 2019.

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Sunshine Retirement Living retirement living and senior 50+ retirement communities with top assisted living and memory care facilities offering resort styled care facilities nationwide.