In many assisted living facilities, there are a number of different units to best serve the residents. If you have a parent living in a community, do not be surprised if at some point the director requests you move your parent to a different unit. The most common move is the one to a memory care unit. You may wonder if your parent really needs this move and how it would benefit him or her. Understanding the basics of memory care will help you with your decision.

Additional Security

Patients with memory issues tend to wander more. They can't remember what it is they were doing or looking for so they roam around hoping something they see reminds them. In addition, they forget to do simple things to ensure their safety, such as turning off the stove with a pot still on it. The added security personnel helps with these situations. They can steer a wandering patient back to his or her room and may perform room checks to ensure nothing is wrong.


Patients living in the regular units, those with very low amounts of care needed, are allowed to create their own schedules. They can eat when they want, sleep when they want, and choose what activities to attend. Patients with memory impairment are helped to maintain a routine. For example, if your mother prefers to stay awake later at night, sleep in, and then eat, the center will accommodate this. However, she will not be able to stay up for a few nights and then decide to go to bed early. The reasoning behind this is that by maintaining a regular schedule it is easier for her to remember what she needs to do; she won't forget that she hasn't eaten yet. The center will also take memory patients to activities that are designed to help with memory problems. If you mother gets to an activity and wants to leave, she will be allowed to but she will not be given the chance to forget about them and sit alone in her room all day.

While it can be very emotional to realize that your parent is having memory problems, knowing that the people he or she lives with understand the problem and are there to help will give you some peace of mind. You want your parent to have the best quality of life and this means living in a place that will not only make sure he or she is safe but one that offers appropriate socializing and activities.