What is Memory Care?

Memory care is specifically designed to help those with memory issues (due to a cognitive disease like Alzheimer’s or dementia, or for another reason) maintain a high quality of life. To learn more about how memory care does that, read on!

How is Memory Care Different?

Though you’ve probably heard the term “memory care,” you may not be aware of how it’s different from other forms of care that the elderly receive. Some people mistakenly think memory care is the same as being in an assisted living or retirement facility, but there are some key differences to note. 


Here are some of the similarities between memory care and assisted living:

  • Housekeeping, personal laundry services
  • Access to medical alert systems
  • Daily recreational activities like organized games, day trips, and fitness classes
  • Three meals available per day, plus snacks and beverages
  • Apartment-style living complete with a bathroom
  • Help with daily activities (dressing, transferring, and grooming)


However, memory care facilities offer these added amenities:

  • 24-hour security
  • Anti-wandering systems (wearable tracking devices)
  • A lower staff-to-resident ratio
  • Assistance with more activities 
  • Group/individual therapeutic recreation (like brain games or creative opportunities)
  • Family support groups
  • Other unique amenities (physical/occupational/speech therapy, physician services, transportation, and escorts to nearby medical appointments)

What to Expect From Memory Care

In any situation, knowing what to expect is half the battle. Everything – from how mealtimes are handled to the facility, to (sometimes) the architecture itself – is designed to provide compassionate and individualized care for people with memory issues. 


Because memory problems often translate to an increase in wandering and disorientation, memory care facilities are equipped with security doors and gates. Many feature enclosed yards with locked gates as well so that those under care can enjoy some sunshine without the risk of wandering off the property.

The way the rooms are set up is unique as well. Some facilities include “memory boxes” in every room that the resident can fill with essential memories, so the resident will know which room is theirs. Others simply use a placard on every door with the person’s name. Many focus on decreasing the overstimulation of residents with dementia by using neutral colors and minimizing lights and sounds. Some of these precautions have been scientifically proven to reduce agitation in dementia patients. 

More care is taken during mealtimes for memory residents as well. Assisted living facilities post mealtimes, but the onus is on the resident to ensure they eat. In memory care facilities, the staff ensures that residents are eating at mealtimes. For safety reasons, the kitchen is inaccessible to patients, but the staff brings residents to meals. Residents are escorted by staff to activities and brought beverages and snacks. 

Tips to Help You Find Memory Care

Are you wondering what to look for in a good memory care facility? Great – the following tips will help you find a fantastic memory care facility for your loved one. 

How often to visit before deciding

When you’ve weighed your options and narrowed them down a bit, you should visit each facility on your list multiple times. For the most part, you can announce your intent to visit. That said, plan to visit each facility at least once at night, when they’ll be shorter-staffed. This will give you a well-rounded view of how the memory care facility operates.

Pleasant environment

The memory care facility should be clean and have a setup with minimal dead-ends. Doors and rooms should be labeled, and, if possible, there should be an enclosed area outdoors with room for residents to walk. Generally, residents should seem happy to be in a pleasant environment with minimal stress.

Plenty of caring staff

Staffing was a problem before the pandemic, but it’s been heightened post-COVID. Observe how the staff interacts with residents, and how quickly their needs are met. Ask about training and if there’s a nurse in the building. Since staff members will be spending much of the time with your loved ones, it’s imperative that they foster positive social interactions


Another great question to ask is how they handle aggressive residents. Antipsychotic medications should be a last resort.

Healthcare policies

The pandemic caused an increase in mental health problems, especially among those with dementia. Ask what rules will go into effect if there’s another health outbreak: will visitation be allowed? How will communication take place between families and staff? How are residents quarantined?

Recreation and meals

Do they offer fun activities that your loved one would enjoy? What tactics does the staff use to get residents to eat? Take time to try the food and participate in one activity.  Physical and mobility exercises are important factors that affect the quality of life. Take a look at how the staff members interact with the residents.

Ask about complex care

If your loved one’s health gets worse, will the facility be able to continue caring for them? See if another level of care is available and learn how much it would cost to move them there. Ask about what behaviors or health conditions would require them to move up to the next level of care. Take time to ask about what insurance the facility accepts as well.

We Are Here for Your Loved One

At Medilodge, we are equipped to help your loved one, whether they’re suffering from mild cognitive impairment or more severe memory loss. We provide compassionate memory care through our memory care program, allowing residents to express themselves creatively in a safe environment. 


We are so passionate about ensuring your loved ones get the care they need that we even created a special flyer to educate first responders on the needs of dementia patients. If you’d like to know more about our memory support programs, get in touch with your nearest Medilodge community. We look forward to hearing from you.


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