What’s the Difference Between Personal Care and Memory Care?

Time brings about many changes. Some changes cause us to need a little extra help with everyday tasks, such as getting dressed or preparing meals. Other changes are more significant, such as memory impairments that interfere with our ability to live independently. But none of these changes need to influence your ability to live a full life. Instead, they simply indicate that you need a different level of assistance, such as that found in supportive living communities.

If you are considering supportive living for yourself or for someone you know, it helps to understand the different options available. Supportive living communities encompass different types of care, from independent living to memory care. Two of the most popular options are personal care and memory care, which provide several similar services but have some significant differences.

In general, the difference between personal care and memory care stems from the type of residents served and the care they need. Personal care is geared toward individuals without major medical concerns, while memory care is specialized for those dealing with a memory impairment like Alzheimer’s.

Understanding the similarities and differences between personal care and memory care in more detail can help you decide which type of community will be best for you or your family member.

What is Personal Care?

Personal care is a type of long-term senior care for those who need a little help with one or more activities of daily living, such as bathing or dressing. In most communities, personal care provides a similar level of support as assisted living, allowing residents to control their own lives and receive the assistance they desire from the personal care staff.

People living in personal care communities typically reside in a private or shared apartment. Trained staff provide assistance to residents 24 hours a day, helping residents manage medications, prepare meals and get ready for their days. The personal care team provides a wide variety of services from which to choose. These services can include:

  • Daily living assistance
  • 24-hour support
  • Medication management
  • Emergency bathroom response system
  • Personalized wellness programs
  • Rehabilitation services, such as physical, occupational and speech rehabilitation
  • Visiting physicians

Personal care communities don’t just revolve around health and personal care services, however. They’re also designed to make life easier for adults that want to maximize their abilities. That’s a big reason why many individuals choose personal care – for the convenience the communities offer. Personal care communities have living quarters that are comfortable and easy to navigate, as well as housekeeping and dining halls that alleviate the common chores that often take up extra time.

While communities vary, most also feature additional on-site amenities and services that alleviate chores and common responsibilities, such as:

  • Housekeeping, laundry and linen services
  • Concierge services
  • Entertainment and social programs
  • Landscaping, maintenance and appliance repair

Is a Personal Care Community Right for You?

Personal care is often the right choice for someone who is largely independent but needs a hand with some everyday activities. For example, you might be ready for personal care if you would benefit from greater access to freshly prepared and balanced meals and a little help with bathing and hygiene, or if you have trouble operating household appliances safely, forget to turn off appliances after use, burn meals frequently or have trouble cleaning up the house on a regular basis.

Other individuals that benefit from personal care are those who forget to pay their bills, take their medications or continue to drive despite having frequent fender benders and minor accidents. Finally, personal care may be the best place to live for those who have fallen in the past, are at high risk for falls or who want the peace of mind of consistent health monitoring.

For these individuals, there are several benefits to living in a personal care community, including:

  • Regular access to freshly prepared, nutritious meals that can be customized for personal dietary restrictions
  • Reduced physical and mental strain from chores such as washing clothes or housecleaning
  • Lower stress due to regular help with daily tasks such as bathing, grooming and mobility
  • Living in an attractive home without the burden of maintenance or lawn care
  • A more active lifestyle supported by opportunities to learn and engage in social or cultural activities

What Are Memory Care Communities?

Memory care communities provide many of the same services as personal care communities, most notably assistance with daily living activities. However, they also offer specialized services for those with memory impairments.

The most common forms of memory impairments served are the different types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. For example, memory care communities are ideal for those who have early stages of Alzheimer’s disease and want to continue to live a full life, even if living independently becomes more challenging over time.

In most cases, memory problems are progressive, which means they worsen over time. The services offered in memory care communities help residents live as independently as possible through the assistance of specially trained staff. Professionals who work in memory care communities understand how memory problems develop, why people with memory problems sometimes exhibit disruptive behavior and how to respond effectively and compassionately. These professionals are also trained to communicate with people who have memory problems.

Many of the activities offered in a memory care community, such as music, games, arts and crafts, are designed to stimulate memory and potentially slow down the progression of a memory issue. These communities also feature special safety features that prevent wandering, which is a common behavioral issue in people with memory problems.

Is a Memory Care Community Right for You?

Memory care communities serve all individuals, typically age 55 or older, who have a memory impairment. However, they also work with younger individuals who are experiencing early onset of a memory impairment. You’ll often find people in memory care communities who are living with:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Vascular dementia
  • Dementia with Lewy Bodies
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Mixed Dementia

For individuals with these and other memory issues, there are several benefits to living in a memory care community, including:

  • Enhanced personal safety through specially designed spaces and staff that can ensure no one wanders off when confused
  • Healthy meals and regular activities that are designed to stimulate the brain and improve whole-person wellness
  • Scheduled transportation to doctor’s appointments or access to physicians who visit the community

Personal Care and Memory Care Communities in Georgia

Heritage of Brookstone is a personal care and memory care community in Kennesaw, GA, that is devoted to the wellness of residents. We train our entire staff, not just clinically licensed employees, in the best ways to work with residents and provide the support they need to live stronger lives.

We’ll help you maintain your independence while alleviating the burden of tasks that may be challenging or are simply less fun to perform. Contact us for more information on the services offered in our community and how we can help you get the support you need to pursue your personal goals.