What’s the Difference Between Memory Care and a Nursing Home for Dementia Patients?

Watching a loved one struggle with symptoms of dementia or memory loss can be heart-wrenching—even more so if you’re coming up short looking for help.

 

If you’ve begun searching for a place where your parent or loved one can receive compassionate care as their memory loss worsens, you may be frustrated that you’re not finding exactly what you have in mind. Fortunately, the solution may be simpler than it seems.

 

Part of the problem may be the terminology you’re using. If you’re searching phrases like “nursing home for dementia patients,” you’re not alone. In fact, that’s the No. 1 way that people search for memory care services. However, chances are good that what you’re really looking for is a community that specializes in memory care.

 

While it’s certainly possible for your loved one to receive care in a nursing home for dementia patients, a memory care community is a private, home-like environment with specially trained staff to care for people in all stages of memory illness. 

 

What do nursing homes provide?

First, it’s important to understand that the term “nursing home” itself is widely misused. Many people use the term to refer broadly to a wide spectrum of senior living communities, which might include everything from independent or assisted living to skilled nursing to memory care. More accurately, nursing homes are where older adults can receive skilled nursing care for an extended period of time. Residents require ongoing medical care, generally beyond what can be provided at home but not so extensive as to warrant hospitalization. A nursing home for dementia patients provides memory care in addition to skilled care.

 

What is memory care for seniors?

A community that specializes in memory care takes a specific approach to caring for people with dementia and other forms of memory loss. Treatment plans are person-centered and often involve therapies designed to delay disease progression.

 

How is a nursing home similar to memory care?

Both nursing homes and memory care communities provide care for older adults who need assistance beyond what they can get at home. In addition to living quarters and regular meals, residents receive personal assistance with daily activities like dressing, grooming, and taking medications, depending on their unique abilities and needs. Both types of facilities are likely to provide enriching activities and encourage residents to socialize, all with the goal of creating a greater quality of life.

 

What are the differences?

While it’s certainly possible for your loved one to receive quality care in a nursing home for dementia patients, there are some notable distinctions in how that care is delivered. A skilled nursing facility, or a nursing home, serves a wide range of seniors with varying medical needs, and those medical needs are the first priority. In a memory care community, residents’ greatest needs are less medical and more specific to their memory loss.

 

Conversely, a memory care community is dedicated exclusively to residents with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia and memory loss. This narrow focus allows for greater attention to creating a nurturing living environment that caters to people who have varying degrees of memory loss. From team members who are cross-trained so residents interact with fewer caregivers to design elements like color coding and simplified floor plans, memory care communities pay close attention to the details that give residents the greatest comfort and most enriching lifestyle possible.

 

The highly customized approach used within a memory care community simply isn’t realistic, or even possible, at the majority of nursing homes.

 

An Excellent Reason to Stop Searching

If you’re looking for something more than a nursing home for dementia patients, Springpoint’s thoughtful and comprehensive approach to memory care may be exactly what your loved one deserves. Our exclusive memory care program, Connections — A Dementia Care Model of Excellence, is uniquely designed to enhance the physical, cognitive, and social well-being of each resident. Contact us today to find which of our compassionate, home-like memory care environments is the best fit for you and your loved one. 

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