Can A Person With Dementia Live In Assisted Living?

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional

Seniors with memory disorders, such as dementia, can live in assisted living. Yet, enough research is very important in finding the most suitable assisted living facility that will cater to your loved one’s needs and condition. Keep on reading to learn more about the benefits and other factors to consider when a person with dementia lives in assisted living.

Can A Person With Dementia Live In Assisted Living
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Dementia is a chronic condition that affects one’s thinking, memory, and social capabilities, affecting everyday life. As time goes by, dementia renders one’s ability to function independently, making them need help from a professional caregiver or their family.

Dementia is more prevalent in older adults. According to a PRB report, in 2020, 7 million individuals aged 65 and above had dementia.

PRB statistics from 2019 show that women are more prone to having dementia than men, as 11% of women above 70 years had dementia compared to 8% of men. People living with dementia require extra care, which you as a family member may not be able to offer, especially if you have a busy life.

Are you considering getting your loved one with dementia into an assisted living facility? Do assisted living facilities take in seniors with dementia? Read on to find out more.

Assisted Living

An assisted living facility is a community that offers seniors support and long-term assistance. According to the NCBI, about 2% (1 million) of older adults live in assisted living facilities.

Most individuals may confuse assisted living with nursing homes and retirement communities, but they are not similar. While assisted living does not typically offer nursing services for severe conditions, some facilities may offer different options to help increase your loved one’s quality of life.

Services offered in assisted living facilities often vary depending on the specific facility. For instance, while some facilities may provide comprehensive care, others only provide basic housekeeping and meal prep services.

Seniors with developmental, psychiatric, and physical disabilities and those with memory disorders like dementia can live in assisted living as long as they meet the qualifications.

person with dementia live In assisted living advantages
In an assisted living facility, patients with dementia can access fun activities that may stimulate their brain cells.

Advantages Individuals With Dementia Can Enjoy From An Assisted Living Facility

There are several advantages a senior with dementia can enjoy from assisted living beside a helping hand. Living in assisted living can significantly help improve their quality of life and make their life (as the primary caregiver) a lot easier.

According to a 2019 survey on the quality of life in assisted living facilities, 78% of family members and 87% of the residents reported being satisfied with their assisted living experience.

Individuals with dementia can live in assisted living and enjoy multiple benefits. Here are the advantages individuals living with dementia can enjoy from assisted living:

Special Care

Most assisted living facilities offer people with dementia special care, which helps maintain their quality of life.

Individualized Attention

Dementia patients in assisted living receive personalized attention to care for them and any of their symptoms that may intensify. Assisted living facilities also focus on keeping these individuals happy despite the struggles of living with dementia.

Care from Trained Caregivers

Trained caregivers will train individuals with dementia by working to improve their cognitive or memory skills through various practices.

Social Life

Dementia patients in an assisted living facility can regularly access activities like music performances, board games, and art classes and events that may stimulate their brain cells while also allowing them to have a good time. 

Choosing The Right Assisted Living Facility For Your Loved One

Living with dementia can be challenging, and it may be even harder for you to come to terms with your loved one having dementia.

It may be time-consuming and tasking to look after a loved one with dementia, so the best thing you can do is get them into assisted living. But how do you determine which assisted living facility is best for them?

Here are a few tips on choosing the right assisted living facility for your loved one with dementia:

1. The Facility’s Size

It is essential to factor in the size of the assisted living facility. You want your loved one to be comfortable, so it is best to avoid tiny facilities as they will likely be understaffed. Find a reputable and sizeable facility where the staff offer satisfactory performance and are not overworked.

2. Location

It is essential to determine the laws of the facility’s location and ensure it is close to where you live. Getting your loved one with dementia to an assisted living facility not far from where you live is vital so you can pay them frequent visits as it may keep them grounded.

3. Services Offered in the Facility

When choosing a facility, ensure you consider how much medical assistance your loved one requires. 

An assisted living facility is only as great as its residents’ services, so ensure you find out what facilities and amenities are offered. It can include healthcare, individualized care, meals, socializing avenues, and entertainment.

The services offered should be customized to fit the different needs of the multiple members and improve their quality of life.

4. Read Reviews

It helps to do your due diligence and read reviews of the different assisted living facilities to determine what facility will be best for your loved one with dementia. 

5. Talk to the Staff

Ensure you visit the different facilities you are interested in and talk to their staff. You want to send your loved one to a facility where the employees are highly compassionate with seniors and enjoy their work. 

If the staff appears to have a good rapport with the residents, consider sending your loved one here as it indicates they will be in a loving environment. It is best to avoid assisted living where the staff members are dismissive or negative.

person with dementia live In assisted living memory care units
Learn more about the differences between memory care units and assisted living.

Memory Care Units – Definition

A memory care unit or facility offers individuals living with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease a form of long-term care. Individuals in memory care units typically require more care than those in assisted living or at home.

These facilities offer a structured and safe environment that protects residents from self-harm and wandering off. While individuals with dementia living in memory care units are typically free from major health concerns, they can often no longer safely live at home.

Have you been experiencing difficulty caring for your loved one with dementia at home? Perhaps it is time you considered getting them into memory care, especially if they are likely to wander off or harm themselves.

The quality of care offered in memory care units significantly varies based on different factors. It may be best to visit a unit before checking in with your loved one with dementia.

How Is Assisted Living Different From Memory Care Units?

Choosing a suitable facility for your loved one with dementia can be challenging. Both assisted living and memory care units offer supportive care to individuals with dementia.

Some people choose to take their loved ones with dementia to an assisted living facility before moving them to a memory care unit. In contrast, others prefer to take their loved ones to memory care units.

Here are the differences between assisted living and memory care units:

Unique Environment

Safety is a primary concern for seniors with dementia as they may fall or wander off. Assisted living facilities offer safety features, including everyday check-ins and in-room emergency alerts. On the other hand, memory care units’ key design is environmental security. The security features may include doorbell signaling entering and exit, obscured exits, and locked exits and entrances.


Overall, costs can vary based on several factors, including location and services offered. Memory care units typically provide nursing services and specialized care not provided by assisted living, so their costs are higher.

Therapies and Activities

Assisted living offers different social opportunities and planned activities that appeal to various individuals.

Memory care provides individual and group care memory therapies and activities. Therapies provided in memory care include art, music, pet, and reminiscence therapy, and the activities offered are designed to maintain their memory skills.

Staff Training Care

Staff members in both facilities have sufficient experience supporting the residents with their everyday tasks. Memory care units have a high staff-to-residents ratio and offer residents one-on-one attention all day long, unlike assisted living facilities.

Besides Memory Care Units And Assisted Living, Where Else Can Dementia Patients Live?

While assisted living and memory care units are among the best places your loved one with dementia can live, other alternatives exist.

It is vital to assess the specific needs of your loved ones to establish the best living option for them, as every long-term care facility provides a particular extent of care.

Here are housing options for senior individuals with dementia:

1. Nursing Homes

Nursing homes offer seniors the highest level of long-term care and provide them with 24/7 skilled nursing care. Your loved one with dementia can transition into a nursing home if they develop a serious medical condition.

2. In-Home Care

You can get your loved one with dementia in-home care to ensure they have a specific level of care for an extended period. In-home care is offered in any setting your loved one considers home.

3. Independent Living Communities

These communities are intended for seniors who can live independently. It is a good option for self-sufficient seniors in their early stages of dementia.

RELATED: How to Get Your Parents into Assisted Living

Final Thoughts

Assisted living can be beneficial for a senior living with dementia. It is essential to do your due diligence on the different assisted living facilities and weigh their deliverables, read reviews, and pay attention to how the staff is with residents.

It is vital to get your loved one with dementia into the best assisted living facility where they will be well taken care of and be kept safe.


Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional

Scott Grant has spent more than 20 years serving seniors and the elderly in the home medical equipment industry. He has worked as a manufacturer's rep for the top medical equipment companies and a custom wheelchair specialist at a durable medical equipment (DME) provider in WV. He is father to 4 beautiful daughters and has three terrific grandkids. When not promoting better living for older adults, he enjoys outdoor activities including hiking and kayaking and early morning runs.

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