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How is memory care different from traditional assisted living?
November 30, 2021 at 7:00 AM
How is memory care different from traditional assisted living?

It’s not uncommon for seniors to have unique requirements for care that differ from their peers. The need for individualized care is especially true when it comes to providing memory care, which you might have to account for with your parent. At Sage House Senior Care, we specialize in providing memory care assisted living to those who need it.

It’s important to understand that traditional assisted living isn’t the same as memory care. If you’ve never considered the difference, read our guide below, where we’ll compare memory care and traditional assisted living.


Staying active is an integral part of slowing many of the effects aging has on the body. However, it’s important that seniors are allowed to participate in activities that are appropriate for them and their needs and abilities. Those who are physically able to spend time doing low-impact water aerobics or riding a stationary bike aren’t going to have similar needs as those who need to stimulate their minds with card or board games. A memory care center will focus more on the needs of residents who are suited for things like music therapy and cognitive activity than those who can spend their days doing more physical activities.


Traditional assisted living facilities are often arranged to feel like an apartment complex than memory care centers. While an apartment building with amenities designed for seniors can be comfortable living, it’s not suitable for everyone. Facilities designed for individuals who live with memory loss or dementia require special attention to the senses. Dementia is most known for affecting an individual’s memory as this is where it’s most pronounced, but it will also affect other senses as well. Memory care facilities are typically equipped with motion sensor lights or arranged in a way that will prevent wandering, so residents don’t get lost and panic.

Staff training

All senior living centers are going to have similar staffing requirements that they meet. Assisted living centers aren’t required to meet any resident-to-staff ratios, but memory care requires that a specific ratio be satisfied to ensure that residents are getting ample care. Arizona law requires that memory care facilities that are small group homes maintain a ratio of five residents to every staff member. Larger facilities can function at one staff member to every seven residents. Because of the size of our facilities, we abide by the 5:1 ratio, which means that your parent will always have an attentive and caring staff member nearby when needed.


Most assisted living centers have a cafeteria-like setting that allows residents to gather around meals and eat in a social setting. Memory care facilities will encourage social gatherings during meals as it’s an essential aspect of treating conditions like dementia. Although it’s not usual for these areas to be smaller, there are fewer distractions for memory care residents. What’s more, meals are often specialized toward the resident’s preferences with special attention to ensuring that they’re getting proper nutrition with what is often a deteriorating diet. The catering staff will pay close attention to the dietary needs of residents at memory care centers to ensure that they continue to eat foods that are appealing both visually and to the palate.

Get in touch for more

Contact our Sage House Senior Care team today to learn more about what sets our memory care assisted living facilities apart from traditional centers. You can request more information by sending a message using our online contact form or calling us at 602-926-7289. We look forward to hearing from you and speaking about your loved one’s individual needs.