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What’s the Difference Between a Nursing Home and a Memory Care Community?

When a loved one has dementia, there comes a point when you realize they’d benefit from the 24-hour support offered in long-term care. Like many others in your shoes, you may have turned to the internet to explore care options, using the search term “nursing home for dementia patients.” While that’s the most common phrase used by people seeking dementia care, it may not get you the results you’re looking for. The more accurate term for the kind of support your loved one needs is Memory Care. A quick look at the difference between nursing homes and Memory Care communities can help you clarify your goals and find the best possible support for your loved one.

What Is a Nursing Home?

Nursing homes provide 24/7 short- and long-term care for people with illness, injury and ongoing health conditions. Licensed nurses, therapists, and other staff members are available to support residents by providing:

  • Round-the-clock monitoring and medical supervision, which may include services like medication management, wound care, IV therapies and respiratory therapies
  • Three daily meals
  • Physical, occupational and speech therapies for rehabilitation
  • Help with activities of daily living (ADLs), such as dressing, bathing and toileting

In addition to offering the most comprehensive care available outside a hospital setting, nursing homes may also provide at least some recreational and social programming that supports residents’ cognitive, emotional, physical and spiritual well-being.

While some stand-alone nursing homes do offer memory support, unless your loved one also needs 24-hour medical supervision, you’re more likely to find the specialized care they need in a Memory Care community rather than in a nursing home for a person with dementia.

What Is Memory Care?

Like a nursing home, Memory Care provides professional, round-the-clock support that isn’t typically available in a private residence. Meals and snacks are provided, as is assistance with ADLs and activities that help residents feel engaged and purposeful. Unlike a nursing home, where meeting medical needs is the primary goal, Memory Care aims to provide the security and compassionate support people living with dementia need to enjoy a satisfying and full life. To provide that support, Memory Care communities often feature:

  • Specially trained staff. Highly trained staff members understand that residents thrive when care focuses on their abilities rather than on their limitations.
  • Person-centered care. A focus on building relationships and getting to know each resident’s unique story means support can be tailored to their preferences and strengths, which fosters satisfaction and engagement.
  • Dementia-friendly design. Specialized Memory Care neighborhoods offer shared spaces, private residences, and a thoughtfully designed layout that promotes security while encouraging residents to freely enjoy indoor and outdoor spaces.
  • Specialized engagement programming. A certified activities director helps residents enjoy each day to the fullest through recreational, social, cultural and educational activities. Technology can also be put to use to create a tailored virtual reality experience that allows residents to safely enjoy enriching experiences.

Individualized Memory Care at The Culpeper

If you’ve decided that Memory Care is more appropriate for your loved one than a nursing home for a person with dementia, reach out to us at Cornerstone Memory Care. Our Memory Care community at The Culpeper offers expert dementia care in a safe, comfortable environment. With a mixture of innovation and rock-solid values, we create a supportive environment where your loved one with dementia can flourish. Contact us to learn more or schedule a visit.