Caring for Aging Parents with Dementia? Assisted Living or Memory Care?

Caring for Aging Parents with Dementia? Assisted Living or Memory Care?

Health and Fitness April 28, 2017


It is extremely difficult to watch your parents age. You want what’s best for them because they gave you the best growing up. Their health, happiness, and sense of independence are all important factors to consider. This becomes difficult to maintain when your aging parent is suffering from the many symptoms associated with dementia. There are over 100 different known types of dementia, but Alzheimer’s is by far the most common. In fact, Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60 to 80% of dementia diagnoses today. In total, more than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, and this could rise to 16 million by 2050.

If you are living with an aging parent who has Alzheimer’s, you are not alone. More importantly, there are options and resources for you both. Unfortunately, there are negative stigmas attached to assisted living, which is why many parents insist that they never want to live in a nursing home.

In reality, around 70% of adults over the age of 65 will need long-term care at some point in their lives, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. That’s why the two fastest-growing types of residential senior care are assisted living and memory care. But what are the differences between the two, and what should you pick for your loved one?

If your aging parent is still active and mentally sharp but can no longer live entirely independently, then assisted living might be a viable option. A good way of describing it is an independent lifestyle with occasional help. This is good for someone who needs assistance with everyday activities such as bathing, dressing, and eating. Almost 40% of residents living in residential care facilities in 2010 received assistance with three or more activities related to daily living.

Assisted living is also fantastic for socialization. Seniors appreciate family visits, but they need peers. At an assisted living facility, they will have numerous social opportunities such as playing cards, listening to music, going to community events, enjoying the outdoors, and more. You can have peace of mind knowing that your loved one is being taken care of, staying independent, and keeping safe.

Memory Care is similar to assisted living, but it is better suited for adults with progressive cognitive impairments such as Alzheimer?s disease, dementia, and other memory problems. Dementia patients need specialized care, and you want a staff who is well trained and prepared. Memory care facilities also provide more security. Even if your loved one does not yet require memory care, you may want to select an assisted living facility that provides it. There?s always the chance that it will be needed in the future.

Having an aging parent is difficult, but it can be manageable if you plan ahead. Even though it is a hard conversation to have, be sure to discuss this with your parents so they are fully aware of their options. Hopefully, you can come to an agreeable solution for all.