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The Difference Between Memory Care Assisted Living and In-home Memory Care

elderly man in a white shirt and black glasses

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman


September 20th, 2021

Are you an adult child looking for memory care in Charlottesville, VA for your parents with dementia?

If so, you may also be asking yourself:

  • How much does dementia care cost?
  • What kinds of services are available in VA for memory care?
  • What does a memory care facility do?
  • Is there a difference between dementia personal care at home vs. memory care assisted living?
  • Where’s the best place for dementia memory care or Alzheimer’s memory care?

1 in 9 Americans over the age of 65 have dementia, so it’s pretty common for adult children to find themselves dealing with a parent who has dementia.

Fortunately, you’re not alone, and there are resources available to help relieve your caregiver burden and provide quality care to your loved one.

In this article, we’re sharing all about dementia memory care for elderly adults. We’ll also answer questions like, “What is memory care?” and “How much does dementia care cost?”

Keep reading to find out how you can get quality in-home dementia care for your loved one today. 


What Is Memory Care?

First, let’s answer the question, “What is memory care for seniors?”

As adults age, they may need assistance with various aspects of their daily lives. Memory care assists seniors suffering from any form of memory loss, like dementia memory care and Alzheimer’s memory care. Since dementia is a progressive condition and its symptoms worsen over time, the needs of an individual with dementia will change as the disease develops.

Memory care for someone in the early stages of dementia mainly involves extra assistance with organization to compensate for short-term memory loss. 

However, in later stages, dementia often affects an individual’s personality and motor functions. They may need help with:

  • Moving around the house
  • Bathing and dressing
  • Remembering to eat and drink water

Because seniors in the later stages of dementia often have insomnia and wander at night, memory care also involves nighttime supervision. 

An increasing level of care is usually overwhelming and exhausting for a family caregiver. Additionally, family members often lack the time or ability to provide their loved one with the specialized care they need. 

Getting your loved one professional memory care assistance is a way to:

  • Relieve yourself of the burden of dementia caregiving
  • Ensure your loved one receives quality dementia care

In the next section, we’re sharing about two of the most beneficial forms of VA memory care.

In-home elder care solutions in Charlottesville, Richmond, Williamsburg, VA and Charleston, SC.

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Memory Care Assisted Living vs. In-home Memory Care

When it comes to expert memory care in Charlottesville, VA, there are two main options:

  • Memory care assisted living facilities
  • In-home memory care

But what’s the difference, and which is best for your loved one? 

Here’s a more in-depth look at what you can expect from these two regarding cost, health/safety of your loved one, and the quality of life it provides.


Memory Care Assisted Living

There are several memory care facilities in and around Charlottesville, VA. However, since they vary broadly, it’s always a good idea to research individual assisted living facilities. 

Looking into a facility yourself can help you get a firsthand answer to “what does a memory care facility do?”



On average, residing in an assisted living facility costs $4,000 a month, with memory care adding $1,000 to $5,000 to that monthly cost. This means the average monthly cost of a memory care facility is around $5,000. 

Since Medicare usually only covers medical expenses, the cost of residential memory care must often be paid out-of-pocket. However, Medicaid, long-term care insurance, or the VA bill may cover some of the expenses for qualifying seniors.


Health / Safety

Memory care assisted living facilities are usually specifically designed to provide a protected environment for your loved ones as they move through the stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s. 

For example: 

  • Dementia memory care buildings may be built in a circle so that residents do not become frustrated or confused by “dead-end” hallways 
  • Alzheimer’s memory care units are usually locked at night to protect against wandering
  • There are often nurses available at all times, and sometimes even on-site medical facilities

Knowing a nurse or doctor is nearby day and night can provide family members peace of mind. But, in addition to your loved one’s physical safety, it’s also essential to consider their emotional health and quality of life.


Quality of Life

A VA memory care assisted living facility has the potential to enrich a senior’s life with access to:

  • Social interaction
  • Mentally stimulating activities
  • Opportunities to stay active

That being said, not all assisted living facilities deliver the quality of life you might want for your loved one. 

When visiting an assisted living facility, pay attention to signs of the residents’ quality of life. Do the other residents seem happy? 

If possible, stay for a meal to observe the quality of the food and dining facilities. Ask whether the facility has regular activities or events for residents. You can also ask to see a schedule of events if available.

Now that we’ve looked at assisted living facilities, let’s explore another option for dementia memory care: in-home memory care.


In-home Memory Care

So far, we’ve been exploring memory care assisted living, but another approach to memory care is dementia personal care at home

With in-home dementia care, a caregiver comes to your loved one’s residence. The caregiver then provides all the assistance your loved one needs in the comfort of their own home.



The average monthly cost of a memory care facility is around $5,000. But what about in-home dementia care costs

Since in-home care is billed by the hour, it’s more flexible than an assisted living facility. 

In a facility, memory care usually costs extra on top of the baseline costs. In-home caregivers, however, tend to have a consistent pay rate that doesn’t change if the client requires dementia care.

For many, in-home care is less expensive or cost-neutral compared to memory care assisted living. 


Health / Safety

A primary role of an in-home caregiver is to protect and promote your loved one’s health and safety. Caregivers usually work with licensed nurses to develop a care plan tailored to your loved one’s needs. 

In-home Alzheimer’s memory care often includes services, like:

  • Assisting with adapting the home to the physical needs of the client
  • Supervising medications to ensure the correct pills are taken at the right times
  • Facilitating physical activities such as walking, stretching, or physical therapy exercises
  • Watching over the client and intervening as necessary

One benefit of a private, in-home caregiver is that they provide one-on-one, personal attention. In residential facilities, the on-staff caregivers are often supervising 12-20 residents at a time. The consistent, individual care a private caregiver can provide makes a significant impact on someone with dementia. 


Quality of Life

In-home caregivers increase the quality of life for elderly adults with dementia by:

For most of us, home can be anywhere. But for those living with dementia, their house is often the only place they feel at home. The familiarity of home can restore comfort and safety, which is a considerable asset for maintaining a high quality of life.

But even when a senior with dementia stays at home, they need companionship and stimulation, something a caregiver can help with. Otherwise, they may experience isolation or depression.  

Some of the ways that a caregiver provides needed companionship and stimulation include:

  • Regular social interaction
  • Safe transportation to and from social events
  • Meaningful therapies (i.e., music therapy)
  • Mentally stimulating activities (e.g., sudoku, crossword puzzles, bingo, etc.)
  • Creative engagement (e.g., scrapbooking, etc.)

When choosing an in-home caregiver service, be mindful of finding a company that values compassionate companionship. With the right caregiver, the one-on-one attention dementia personal care at home provides can go a long way in increasing your loved one’s quality of life.


Exceptional In-home Memory Care in Charlottesville, VA

Most people with dementia will need increasing amounts of help as the disease progresses, and family members often cannot supply all that their aging parents need. Dementia memory care is professional assistance intended to help people who are experiencing any form of dementia.

The two primary memory care options are moving into a memory care assisted living facility or hiring an in-home Alzheimer’s memory care agency. 

With an assisted living facility, you have 24-hour security and access to on-site medical services, but you lose the familiarity of “home” that patients with dementia find so comforting. Additionally, an assisted living facility may provide access to social interaction and activities. Still, residents will likely receive less personal attention and individual care than with a private caregiver. 

In-home VA memory care can be more cost-effective and provide dementia patients with one-on-one attentive care. It also allows those with dementia to stay in the comfort of their home. However, remaining at home can lead to isolation and other emotional/social challenges. 

Ultimately, both approaches have trade-offs, and it’s possible to have a good experience and receive excellent memory care through either process. 

Here at Commonwise Home Care in Charlottesville, VA, we believe in the benefits of private caregivers in both memory care contexts. Our caregivers provide comprehensive, in-home memory care, whether it’s in their home or an assisted living facility.

Why would a client choose to employ a private caregiver if they live in a residential facility? Because consistency is so crucial to dementia patients. In a facility, your loved one will be cared for by whoever is working that day. With a private caregiver, your loved one can develop a personal relationship with the caregiver. 

Contact us today to learn more about Commonwise in-home caregivers and how a private caregiver may be suitable for your loved one with dementia.

In-home elder care solutions in Charlottesville, Richmond, Williamsburg, VA and Charleston, SC.

Contact us for a free assessment