Is assisted living different from memory care?

By Brenda Lyle

Senior living situations include a whole spectrum of options and community types to best fit the needs of seniors. There are “Active Adult,” “Independent Living,” “Assisted Living,” “Memory Care” and “Continuing Care” communities! Let’s look today at “Assisted Living” and “Memory Care.”

“Assisted living” offers a safe environment with access to medical care, dining, social activities and assistance with “activities of daily living.” This includes medication management, eating, bathing and dressing and movement from one place to another (transferring). Some seniors in assisted living may need only limited help, while others may need help with ALL activities of daily living. The cost is based on a room and board charge and the cost or “level of care” specific to the individual resident. These two amounts add up to your total cost and will change over time.   

“Memory Care” is specialized living for residents with a memory impairment. Memory care communities provide a secure environment so that residents at risk of wandering do not leave the grounds. Most of the residents need assistance with medication management and several activities of daily living. Activities may be sensory and cognition-based and dining options may include finger food for residents unable to use cutlery. Memory care communities usually have higher staff-to-resident ratios, as residents require more direct care and supervision. Therefore, the cost for memory care is often higher than for assisted living. Many offer a flat-rate price; others charge for room and board and level of care. These prices will also go up over time. 

Some assisted living communities have memory care available on site. So, which to choose? Download or pick up a free Senior Living Options Resource Guide at One Senior Place. Or speak to representatives and compare numerous communities during Senior Living Options Day on Friday, February 10, at the Center for Collaboration on U.S. 1 in Rockledge — to find the best local setting for your loved one. RSVP to 321-751-6771.

One Senior Place is a marketplace for resources and provider of information, advice, care and on-site services for seniors and their families. Questions for this column are answered by professionals in nursing, social work, care management and in-home care. Send questions to, call 321-751-6771 or visit The Experts in Aging at Brenda Lyle is a Certified Care Manager and Certified Dementia Practitioner with One Senior Place, Greater Orlando.