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August 3, 2021

Should We Choose a Nursing Home or Memory Care for Dementia Care?

As a caregiver for an aging parent or loved one who’s showing signs of cognitive decline, you may be considering senior living communities that provide dementia care. As you research your options, it’s important to know that a nursing home for a dementia patient and a memory care community are two vastly different options.

In this blog post, we’ll break down the differences between a traditional nursing home for a dementia patient and the specialized care you can find in a memory care community like Springpoint Living at Manalapan.

Nursing Homes vs. Memory Care

One of the first things to understand, especially if you’re just starting to research senior living options, is that although the term “nursing home” has traditionally been used to describe any facility that provides residential care and services to seniors, it’s not accurate.

A nursing home (which you may also hear referred to as skilled nursing), provides care based on specific medical needs. Residents aren’t ill enough to require ongoing hospitalization, but they have health conditions or diseases that require ongoing treatment and management.

Nursing homes may also provide assisted living services and can help people with varying degrees of memory loss, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. However, these services aren’t their specialty. A nursing home’s specialty is skilled medical care.

Conversely, a memory care community is designed specifically and exclusively for dementia patients. In fact, this nurturing, homelike environment is what most people envision when they start researching “nursing homes for dementia patients”; they just don’t know what to call it.

Why Specialized Memory Care Matters

Consider this simple analogy. Choosing a nursing home for a dementia patient is a bit like having a family doctor set a broken bone. Can they do it? Sure. Do they have years of specialized training and knowledge to provide the best treatment and outcome? Probably not the same way an orthopedic surgeon does.

Can a nursing home for dementia patients offer a safe, caring home? Sure. Does it provide structure, therapeutic programming, and targeted interventions that can delay dementia progression and create a more enriching life? Probably not the same way a memory care community does.

Advantages of Memory Care

In a memory care community, you can expect your parent or loved one to receive dementia care from a team of specially trained professionals who are committed to maximizing comfort, improving confidence, and maintaining the highest quality of life.

Familiar care team. Recognizing that it can be difficult for people with dementia to remember and feel comfortable around strangers, memory care communities are usually very intentional about how they assign team members. For example, at Springpoint Living at Manalapan, team members are cross-trained to be universal caregivers, meaning residents will get to know their caregivers well, as they will see them in different areas of their neighborhood, from dining to activities. 

Thoughtful design. From brightly colored walls and decor that engages residents to community gathering places and security features, the design of a memory care community is tailored to residents. The layout is often simple so residents can easily remember how to travel throughout the community with confidence.

Attention to details. In a memory care community, virtually every aspect of daily living can become a trial for residents, from remembering how to take care of hygiene needs to eating a meal. At Springpoint Living at Manalapan, we’ve adapted the environment to reduce obstacles. We understand the dining experience poses unique challenges, which is why we’ve implemented special modifications and created therapeutic experiences to offer the most rewarding and comfortable dining experience possible.

Compassionate care. Dementia affects different people in different ways, and in some cases, dementia patients can be disruptive and even aggressive. In a memory care community, not only are team members trained to navigate challenging dementia-related situations, but they also tend to have greater understanding and compassion for dementia-driven behaviors that may create conflict in other settings.

Therapeutic programming. Certain activities and enrichment programs may help slow dementia progression, and administering those programs requires special skill and training. Our purposeful memory care programs include options like sensory programming, therapeutic horticulture, music programming, and reminiscence therapy to give residents a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment.

Start Your Journey

If you have a loved one who needs specialized care for dementia or another cognitive impairment, a member of our care team can help you get started finding safe and supportive memory care. Contact us for answers to your questions or to arrange a visit to our stunning memory community in Manalapan, New Jersey.

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