To keep things simple, no, a memory care community is not a nursing home. The term nursing home came about and has since been confused with various levels of care that exist in the market today. Nursing home refers to skilled nursing which is a short term rehabilitation facility for those recovering from surgery or injury. Memory care consists of the greatest level of care when compared to independent, assisted living and skilled nursing communities.
Memory care communities were designed for those living with neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia, Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s disease. Many communities will also allow older adults with mental disability such as down syndrome or asperger’s to reside within.
Residents within a memory care community are often under the care of a loved one such as a spouse or adult children. However, if there isn’t a line of kin, professional guardians or health care surrogates may place an individual in need of additional care.
This is often a question on the mind of family members when caring for a loved one. Many families feel a sense of guilt when discussing or touring memory care communities which causes the process to be delayed. Unfortunately, a delay in the process may lead to a serious episode that may cause further harm.
A diagnosis does not mean it is time to start the search process. Those living with neurodegenerative disease can live a great quality of life at home for various periods of time, each scenario is unique. However, once the care for a loved one at home becomes too challenging or insufficient a move to the right memory care community should be made.