Nearly 65 percent of adults over the age of 65 will need long-term care at some point. When your loved one can no longer live independently, caregivers often decide to transition into a full-time care community. However, there are different types of specialized care. If you have no experience with senior communities, the research and options can feel overwhelming. For example, you may ask yourself, what is the difference between assisted living vs. memory care? How do I know which will be the best option for my loved one?


Vineyard Johns Creek is a brand new senior community that offers both assisted living and memory care, and we are here to help you decide which is right for you and your family.

What is Assisted Living?

Assisted living helps older adults maintain their independence while providing occasional support. The National Center for Assisted Living defines it as long-term care that “provides a combination of housing, personal care services, and health care designed, in a way that promotes maximum independence.” 

When it comes to specialized care, assisted living services generally include:

  • Medication management
  • Mobility assistance
  • Physical therapy
  • Meal preparation
  • Help with bathing and dressing
  • Transportation

Additionally, as far as social and personal interests, assisted living communities offer robust amenities so residents can pursue old or new hobbies. Social spaces and events provide opportunities for those who may otherwise become lonely. While residents have their own apartments, communities offer housekeeping services to make their lives easier. Overall, assisted living communities provide a variety of housing and care options depending on individual needs and preferences.

What is Memory Care?

Memory care is a distinct form of long-term care that caters to residents with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other memory-related issues. Memory care units provide 24-hour supervised care, generally in an area separate from assisted living. Programs and activities are specifically designed to help residents work on their cognitive abilities. The physical layout of memory care units offers added security to prevent residents from endangering themselves or getting lost. Additionally, memory care staff has specialized training to better assist residents with their individual needs. 

It’s important to note that residents in memory care at Vineyard Johns Creek are not isolated but instead, interact daily with people who aim to provide encouragement and a sense of belonging.

What is the Difference Between Assisted Living vs. Memory Care?

Assisted living communities are designed for adults who are relatively independent, but may need help with daily living tasks such as housekeeping, making meals, and managing medication. The goal of assisted living is to provide a helping hand while still allowing residents to maintain their independence. In contrast, memory care communities feature structured activities, environments, and routines to nurture the unique needs of those with cognitive decline. Memory care staff provides similar help as with assisted living but with an added emphasis on safety and care specifically designed for residents with memory impairment.

Which is Right for My Loved One?

If your loved one is still mentally sharp but needs help with the basic requirements of daily life, assisted living is a great option. Assisted living communities provide older adults with the support they need to enjoy life to the fullest. If Alzheimer’s or dementia is not a current concern, and your loved one is still relatively independent, then assisted living may be the right choice.

While many people diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s can live on their own in the early stages, it’s important to plan for the disease’s progression. If your loved one is no longer able to care for themselves due to their cognitive impairment, memory care provides a residential solution. A memory care program offers a safe, healthy environment for your loved one’s unique needs and peace of mind for you. 

Some senior communities, like Vineyard Johns Creek, offer both options with the added benefit of aging in place. If you have a loved one in the early stages of Alzheimer’s or dementia, they can start in an assisted living residence, but as it progresses they can transition into memory care.

Assisted Living vs. Memory Care—Find the Correct Option for Your Family

Assisted living and memory care are two of the fastest-growing types of senior care. While there is some overlap between the two, they are not the same. Take time to understand the differences between assisted living vs. memory care before making a choice for your loved one. 

If you’d like to discuss in further detail, please contact your nearest Vineyard community. We know this can be a challenging or confusing time; we are here to assist, educate, and help in any way we can!