Personal Care Home vs. Memory Care: 5 Key Differences

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Choosing a type of senior living for a loved one is an amazing way to get them the care they deserve. But there isn’t just one type of community! Common types of care include personal care homes and memory care. But what are the differences between these two?

Five key differences between a personal care home and memory care include:

  • Provided care
  • Physical layout
  • On-site activities
  • Provided medical care
  • Fee structures

What Are the Differences Between a Personal Care Home & Memory Care?

Provided Care

When it comes to personal care homes, the key focus is on fostering independence while assisting with some daily activities. Imagine a place where your loved one receives the support they need for a happy, whole life, all while being able to remain independent. It’s just like their own home, but they can get help with whatever they need. Whether it’s a hand with bathing, dressing, or managing medication, personal care is the place to go.

On the other hand, memory care communities go above and beyond by offering specialized care programs designed specifically for individuals with memory-related conditions. Dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other types of memory impairment pose unique challenges—challenges that memory care is designed to handle.

Physical Layout

Because there’s such a strong focus on remaining independent, community members in personal care homes live in cozy, inviting homes. Every person lives in their own private—or semi-private if they choose—space. Plus, there are communal areas, where every community member can socialize and participate in fun, engaging activities.

While still prioritizing cozy and comfortable spaces, memory care communities also take into account the challenges of memory impairment. These communities host a range of security features, like:

  • Secured entrances and exits to prevent wandering
  • Alert systems for immediate assistance
  • Non-slip flooring to help prevent falls
  • Clear and easy-to-navigate paths
  • Well-lit communal and private spaces
  • Cameras for continuous surveillance
  • Friendly and easy-to-identify staff badges

They often incorporate visual cues into the environment so community members can always know where they are, along with maps at most corners and junctions to make it much easier to navigate the environment.

On-Site Activities

Here’s where both types of communities can be similar: they each offer a wide variety of activities, programs, services, and other amenities.

In personal care, the activities are designed to be recreational. They may offer:

  • Fitness classes
  • Hobby programs
  • Art classes
  • Social hours
  • Game nights

The activities help residents socialize, pursue their passions, and stay active and engaged.

Meanwhile, memory care aims to stimulate the mind and reduce cognitive decline. So many of these programs may include:

  • Memory games
  • Therapy programs to provide support
  • Adaptive creative arts and music
  • Puzzles and cognitive exercises

These activities are designed to challenge the mind and slow down cognitive decline.

On-Site Medical Care

In any type of senior living, the health of each and every community member is paramount. But in personal care, the available medical care has a focus on maintenance. Staff members will often help remind residents to take their medication, assist with setting up appointments, or provide basic first aid when necessary.

In memory care communities, though, the teams working on-site play a much larger role. They’re trained to manage and treat memory impairment and get additional training to understand and respond to the unique needs of the community members. And they’re available 24/7 in case of any emergency!

Both communities often partner with nearby medical professionals in case advanced care is needed.

Fee Structure

When it comes to finances, personal care homes typically operate on a monthly fee basis. This fee covers room and board, assistance with daily activities, and access to the on-site amenities. Depending on how much care your loved one needs, the fees may change.

Memory care communities generally follow a similar fee structure, but due to the specialized care and security measures provided, there may be additional costs involved.

A group of older adults in an exercise class smiling and stretching with one hand over their heads

Choosing a Community for Your Loved One

When you’re making this decision for your loved one, it can help to have a transparent and open conversation between yourself, them, and the future community. It’s essential to determine what they want from their future home, so take some time to listen to their thoughts.

At Juniper Village at Mount Joy, we’re here to ease this transition for your loved one. This journey doesn’t have to be complicated, and our team is here to help. Whether your loved one needs memory care or a personal care home, we have options available. Book a visit with us today to learn more about how we can help!

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