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When to Move from Assisted Living to Memory Care?

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a group of seniors in memory care use exercise bands to stretch their arms

If your parent or family member has been living in assisted living but is beginning to show signs of memory loss or dementia, it may be time to switch them to memory care.

Although this task may seem daunting, there are ways to make the process easier. That is why it’s so important to know when to transition.

Assisted Living vs. Memory Care

Assisted living is an ideal option for those who require some daily assistance but are still largely independent. In assisted living, residents typically have their own private living spaces and access to common areas.

They can also take advantage of numerous services, including:

  • Personal care assistance
  • Medication management 
  • Housekeeping
  • Laundry
  • 24/7 supervision
  • Security
  • Trained staff
  • Social activities
  • Physical fitness classes
  • Recreational activities 

On the other hand, memory care is specialized care that provides a secure and organized environment for individuals with cognitive impairment.

In addition to assisting residents with their daily activities and nutrition, staff members are trained to address the specific needs arising from memory conditions. The staff provides extra care and support to enable residents to navigate through their days with ease and well-being while living a fulfilling life.

Signs It May Be Time to Move

It may be time to transition when your loved one starts experiencing the following issues:

  1. Increased confusion or forgetfulness
  2. Wandering or getting lost
  3. Difficulty with daily living tasks
  4. Increased falls or accidents
  5. Behavioral changes or aggression

If you notice these issues, it’s time to talk to someone in memory care and start the transition. Though it may seem difficult, the change will be good for someone with memory loss. There are many additional benefits of a memory care residence.

Benefits of Memory Care

Specialized Care for Those with Memory Impairments

Dementia patients have unique needs and require a customized plan that evolves as their condition progresses. Our experienced and highly trained staff is here to help. 

Memory care services are designed to support our residents’ cognitive function and quality of life. And there’s always on-site medical staff with access to specialists when needed. Staff members are trained to make allowances for changes in preferences and behavior throughout the day to have flexibility and patience in dealing with mood swings and other related issues. 

Safe & Secure Environment

Memory care communities have specific security in place and plans for various emergencies, including emergency care, help with mobility to decrease falls, and more.

And as those with memory loss tend to wander, the memory care home keeps tabs on all entrances and exits. These buildings are locked down to protect the residents without the place feeling institutional. 

Opportunities for Socialization & Engagement

Memory care homes also offer many opportunities to socialize and engage with other residents and staff. 

A group of seniors playing pool in the recreation room of their memory care home.

They offer planned events and provide community areas where residents can mingle, play games, chat, and more. 

Socialization is beneficial for those suffering from memory loss. In a memory care community, residents can spend as much or as little time with others as they want.

How to Make the Transition

Discuss with Family & Healthcare Providers

If several family members are involved in caring for your loved one, it’s a good idea to discuss the transition with everyone to ensure they all agree it’s the best decision. 

A doctor or other healthcare practitioner can also help by providing expert opinions on your loved one’s health and medical needs.

Tour Memory Care Communities

The majority of memory care communities offer tours of their grounds. You can see what the apartments are like and explore the common areas, the dining areas, and the grounds. 

Remember to create a list of questions to ask the community staff so you can get answers to what is most important to you and your family. These questions can include: 

  • Are rooms private or shared? 
  • Is laundry done on-site?
  • Is the family allowed to visit whenever they want? 
  • Is there a waiting list?
  • Are bathrooms set up with safety features like bars? And do they accommodate mobility aids like walkers or wheelchairs?
  • Is there a doctor on-site or on call?
  • How are medical emergencies handled? 

Create a Transition Plan

Arrange to have a few days off so you can help your loved one move and get support. Ensure your loved one has 2 months’ rent and everything is packed, pets are taken care of, and all paperwork is arranged. Some items to have handy include:

  • Power of Attorney
  • Important contacts
  • List of medications 
  • Previous health assessments 
  • Medical coverage 
  • Insurance benefits
  • Medical treatments
  • Advance care directives 
  • Living will

When moving someone with dementia into their new home, comfort them if they seem anxious, upset, or withdrawn. Spend time with them to help them settle in their new room and take them around the common areas to help them get acquainted. 

Over the next few days, take the time to come in and reassure them that you care and love them and are just a phone call away.


We can’t stress enough the importance of making informed decisions for the well-being of your loved one with memory impairment. As they often can’t manage the finer details themselves, the help of family and friends can make a big difference in the transition process. 

Once you see the key symptoms of cognitive decline, reach out to your healthcare provider and look for memory care homes that may be an excellent fit for your loved one. 

Contact us at Silver Comet Senior Living and book a tour of our residence. We’re here to answer any questions so that we can help make this important decision the right way.  

Ginger Laprise

Written by Ginger Laprise

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