How is memory care different from assisted living?

Memory care includes memory-enhancing therapies, uniquely designed, secure environment, specialized staff, and 24-hour care.

Memory care communities can offer assisted living services, and vice versa, but what differentiates memory care from assisted living are unique features like memory-enhancing therapies, a uniquely designed, secure environment, specialized staff, and 24-hour care.

Along with specialized features, memory care facilities also offer services you’d expect from other types of senior care, such as:

  • Nutritious meals
  • Laundry services
  • Medication management
  • Housekeeping
  • Incontinence care
  • Mobility assistance
  • Assistance with personal care

While memory care and assisted living share some similarities, there are a few key differences to consider. Here are the key differences of memory care from assisted living:


Many assisted living communities offer three meals a day in a social setting. As memory care services also provide this, the food and environment are based on the needs of a memory care patient. For example, someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia may have a certain diet to help with their condition. Additionally, these patients may sit in a calm area with less noise and fewer stressors. It’s also common for these patients to have choices with their meals, which helps them retain control over their diet. Memory care is focused on providing dining solutions that make the patient more comfortable.

Team Training

Both assisted living communities and memory care facilities have a similar team, including nurses and nursing assistants. However, memory care involves the specific skill set needed to properly care for those with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Also, this team undergoes specialized training to ensure they’re ready to provide proper care. These memory care specialists will learn how to help a patient with certain difficulties the patient may face, such as trouble swallowing or problems with wandering. As it’s common for these patients to wander, most memory care facilities are built with special door alarm systems.

Specialized Activities

Another key difference is that memory care focuses on providing certain activities to help dementia patients live with their condition and find relief. For example, music therapy is a beloved activity by many dementia patients. This type of therapy actually allows these patients to access different parts of their brains, which can be extremely beneficial. As assisted living is more focused on entertaining its residents, memory care is tailored toward dementia-specific activities to cater to the unique cognitive needs of these patients.

Specific Environments

Memory care also involves environments different from assisted living. For example, as wandering can be a problem for dementia patients, these facilities may have alarm systems in place to prevent patients from wandering off the property. Also, while those suffering from dementia have challenges with all five senses, motion-sensor lights and one-touch sinks are also common. These allow for greater independence, more safety, and fewer stressors for these patients. If you go to an assisted living community, you most likely won’t see these extra measures.


Cost is another consideration to make. As memory care is a more detailed and hands-on approach to care, these services generally cost more than assisted living. However, it all depends on which facility you choose and the level of care needed.

Memory Care & Assisted Living at Vista Springs

Deciding between assisted living or memory care can be a difficult choice. If your loved one suffers from dementia and has difficulty with daily activities, memory care services might be the right decision.

If you’re searching for one of these communities in Michigan or Ohio, look no further than Vista Springs! We’re happy to provide memory care assisted living, which means we offer both care services in one!

Learn more about our memory care services.