For people with dementia and those who love them, fear of the unknown may be a constant companion. Dementia, however, does not have to mark the end of a vibrant and joyful life. The right senior living solution can help the senior you love lead a life of meaning and purpose, while still ensuring their safety. A supportive, welcoming assisted living in Morris County, New Jersey, can offer relief from the stress and help your loved one again find joy.
But what if assisted living is not enough? Is there an option between assisted living and memory care? That depends on which community you choose. Arbor Terrace Morris Plains is proud to offer its Bridges program. This high-support environment for seniors is a unique transition neighborhood in the Arbor Terrace community. Is it right for your loved one? Here’s what you need to know.
Assisted Living vs. Memory Care: Understanding the Distinction
Many people think that assisted living is just another word for a nursing home, and that it includes all levels of care, from low-level support to comprehensive dementia care. The truth is that assisted living is qualitatively different from memory care. While many assisted living communities offer memory care, memory care is not part of the standard package these communities provide.
What’s the difference? Assisted living provides:
- Support tailored to a senior’s level of need. That support may shift from day to day or over time
- A safe living environment
- Assistance with tasks of daily living, such as cooking, cleaning, and bathing
- Medication management when appropriate
- 24/7 staff support and availability
- Emergency support
- Transportation and social outings
Memory care provides all of this, but offers additional services and support geared to the needs of people with dementia. Good memory care communities provide:
- A safe, secure setting, including for seniors who wander or who make unsafe choices.
- A more proactive approach to socialization. As dementia progresses, seniors may need help remembering to attend social outings or assistance navigating social challenges.
- Support for those with behavioral and psychological issues.
- Support for family members, including programs designed to preserve and promote family relationships.
- A more communal setting. Loneliness and isolation are serious concerns for people with dementia. Memory care communities work to ensure seniors are neither lonely nor isolated.
Why Multiple Levels of Care Are Important
There’s no way to tell what the future holds. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, one out of three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, so choosing a community that is equipped to deal with dementia is a wise decision even if the senior in your life doesn’t have a dementia diagnosis.
If your loved one has been diagnosed with dementia, choosing a community with a continuum of care is even more important. Giving a senior more care than they need can be expensive and demoralizing. Your loved one might feel belittled or think you see them as incompetent. Not giving a senior enough care, in contrast, can be dangerous and even deadly.
Selecting a community with multiple care levels ensures your senior gets the care they need when they need it. They won’t have to deal with the trauma of a move, and they’ll have easy access to friends and staff they already know and like. Choosing a community that offers multiple levels of care also helps you anticipate financial issues and prepare for the future.
Bridging the Gap Between Assisted Living and Memory Care
For some seniors, assisted living isn’t enough. Memory care, however, might be too much. Arbor fills the gap with its unique Bridges program. We ensure that your senior loved one gets the care they need without being in a needlessly restrictive environment. This program can also save families money, allowing them to set those funds aside for when the senior needs memory care.
Residents of Bridges spend their time with seniors who have similar levels of memory loss. This helps them feel less alone, while offering healthy socialization. Bridges also includes:
- A high-sensory environment that can reduce stress and boredom
- Support tailored to your senior’s needs and degree of memory loss
- A secure and minimally restrictive setting
- Lots of socialization, as well as activities designed for your senior’s needs and capabilities
By keeping seniors busy and happy, Bridges minimizes behavior problems, helps seniors remain healthy and engaged, and reduces caregiver stress. Loved ones know their senior is in a safe, engaging, and loving environment—not locked away and isolated.
Choosing the Right Community for Your Loved One
Whether you’re just beginning the senior living journey or are debating whether to move a senior out of assisted living, it’s important to carefully weigh your options. Visit the community you’re considering, and ask lots of questions. Some starting points for discussion include:
- What level of care does the community offer? What if a resident’s needs change?
- What activities are available every day? How much time do seniors spend doing these activities?
- How much time, if any, do seniors spend alone?
- How much memory loss does the average resident have?
- What if my loved one needs more care than the community can provide?
- How do I know which level of care I should choose for my loved one?
The decision can feel overwhelming, but Arbor is here to help. If you need support making the right choice for your loved one, talk to our staff. We offer financial counseling, an empathetic ear, and a range of programs. Let us show you the difference our Bridges program can make in your senior’s life.