Is a Memory Care Community or In-Home Care Best?

When dealing with someone who has memory care needs or if you yourself have memory care needs such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia, it can be difficult to determine what type of care is best for you. Fortunately, people with memory care needs have options such as a memory care community or in-home care. Both forms of care offer a level of safety, support, and comfort for both the person who needs care and their family. To make a well-informed decision in which your loved one receives the utmost care, it’s important to understand the available options.

In this article:

What is Memory Care?

Memory care is long-term care for people living with Alzheimer’s and dementia or other types of memory-related diseases. When people think about memory care, they typically assume it is only for those in need of higher levels of care and support; those who are wander risk, disoriented easily, or just overall need more care. However, that is not the case when it comes to all memory care facilities. Some memory care facilities are equipped to care for people at all stages of Alzheimer’s and dementia so they can remain in the same community rather than move once their health deteriorates. memory care facilities offer a safe and structured environment. Many facilities offer a private or semi-private room, three meals, housekeeping, help with daily needs, and organized daily activities. Also included are recreational programs, such as brain games that are designed to slow the progression of memory loss. They also have 24/7 security and anti-wander systems equipped. Also, most memory care facilities offer family support groups. Watching someone’s memory decline is extremely difficult for both the person who is experiencing the loss and the family. Therefore, family support groups are beneficial for everyone involved.

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What is In-Home care?

In-Home care is when care is provided inside one’s home. This care can be both medical and non-medical. Services include help with medications, medical care, housekeeping, everyday/personal care needs, and companion services. This form of care is optimal for those with minimal care needs and who are not wander risks. In-Home care also is more likely to be covered by Medicaid or private insurance. People often choose in-home care because it allows them or their loved one to stay in a familiar environment, possibly with family. Plus, it allows them to only pay for segmented care, which may be all they need.

Pros and Cons of Memory Care and In-Home Care Options:

There are pros and cons to everything in life and memory care and in-home care is no different. Below are important differentiators between the two.

Pros and Cons of Memory Care:

Pros of Memory Care Communities:

  • A higher level of care, more adapt to care for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
  • Is a long-term solution, you or your loved one will not have to move again.
  • There is 24/7 care and supervision to keep you or your loved one safe.
  • It is a safe environment.
  • Allows for an overall better quality of life by offering more socialization, wellness programming, fun activities, and trips.
  • Tax deductible.

Cons of a Memory Care Communities:

  • You or a loved one is removed from a familiar or comfortable environment.
  • Can be farther away from family.
  • Requires an upfront cost and is not always covered by Medicaid or private insurance.

Pros and Cons of In-Home Dementia Care:

Pros of In-Home Dementia Care:

  • You or your loved one gets to stay in a familiar environment, possibly near family.
  • All types of care needs can be met:
    1. Companions
    2. Homemaking
    3. Personal
    4. Skilled/ Medical
  • Appears less expensive initially because most insurance or Medicaid will help to cover the cost. However, it does depend on the state on whether it is covered, but in South Carolina it is. It is important to note that this care is not 24/7 and the price per hour for care is actually more expensive than a memory care community.

Cons of In-Home Care:

  • Not 24/7 care or supervision
  • Potential isolation and loneliness
  • Not safe for those who are wander risk or are easily disoriented.
  • May not be able to cover all care needs at all times.
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When is a Memory Care Community Better?

A memory care Community is a better option when individuals with memory care needs wander, are frequently disoriented, and cannot manage ADLs (activities of daily living). These communities offer stability, a safe and supervised environment, and daily activities that will keep you or your loved one active. Stability is important because most people with memory care needs such as Alzheimer’s or dementia will eventually have to be moved to some type of care community. Therefore, a big move before you or your loved ones’ memory health has deteriorated can make the transition easier for all parties especially because familiarity with the environment is so important. Residents of the communities can bring personal items to put in their rooms, so they feel more comfortable and familiar with the new space. Also, if residents move in before needing complete memory care and supervision, they can live independently, depending on the community. Communities like Wildewood Downs in Columbia, South Carolina allow Members to move into independent living, then receive more care as they need it. However, if this is not the appropriate path that a Member needs, they can also move directly into memory care.

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Memory care communities also offer specialized activities that keep you or your loved one active and socializing, thus improving their quality of life. When a person utilizes in-home care, they do not have the same opportunities to socialize or participate in wellness-directed activities as they would when living in a memory care community. Plus, memory care communities have in place a plethora of activities to try and combat memory loss as best as they can.

The care and supervision in memory care communities are 24/7 and allow for all needs to be met and for all residents to remain safe. This allows for peace of mind not only for the person with memory care needs but also for their family.

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Lastly, one of the main reasons that people choose in-home care is because it appears less expensive than a memory care community because Medicaid and private insurance will cover some of the cost. However, as mentioned above the hourly cost of care is a lot higher than it is in a memory care community. Plus, some care services received at a memory care community may qualify for a medical expense tax deduction. For memory care to be deductible, an individual must be unable to perform everyday tasks which leads them to require help and care from a medical professional. Only the fees spent on care services are eligible for a tax deduction. However, it is still good information to have and can save you or your family money. Read more on what qualifies for medical expense tax deduction here.

Which Memory Care Facility is Best?

There are many memory care communities to choose from, though they are not all the same in terms of care, service, and wellness. Communities such as Wildewood Downs in Columbia, South Carolina are exemplary in all three of these areas. The memory care community at Wildewood Downs is filled with a full team of Certified Dementia Practitioners who are ready and prepared to care for you or your loved one. Dementia and Alzheimer’s can be extremely difficult to manage, but these team members are trained and qualified to provide exceptional care. This care is also personalized for each one of its Members because everyone’s care needs are different.

Wildewood Downs is a part of Senior Living Communities and is known for having created a national award-winning aquatic program, titled WAVES. This program is a pool-based wellness class designed for people with Alzheimer’s and all forms of dementia. The WAVES program won the best of the best award from Argentum’s senior living association in Alzheimer’s and dementia programming. So by joining Wildewood Downs you or your loved one would not only receive the utmost care, and community, but you or your loved one would also receive a national award-winning wellness program designed to help Alzheimer’s and dementia. Call now or go to for more information.

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For additional information on making a successful transition into memory care, we created a blog post to help you in your process.