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Memory Care and Assisted Living: What are the Differences?

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A group of older adults playing together at the assisted living cafe.

Memory care and assisted living are 2 types of long-term care communities designed for older adults, but they cater to different needs and types of residents. Understanding their key differences can help families make informed decisions about the best care option for their loved ones. 

Both types of communities prioritize their residents’ safety, health, and well-being, offering different levels of care tailored to meet the diverse needs of older adults. Making an informed decision involves understanding the differences, including the focus on care, staff training and expertise, security and safety measures, services and experiences, and cost.

The right choice will depend on personal circumstances–it’s essential to select a living situation where you or your loved one will feel supported, safe, and happy. The Village at Bellevue is here to help you determine which option might be best for you or your loved ones.

Understanding Assisted Living & Memory Care

Assisted living communities aim to strike a balance between offering the necessary support and allowing residents to lead as independent a life as possible. By providing a structured yet flexible care framework, these communities enable older adults to thrive, cultivating a sense of autonomy while providing safety and well-being through professional assistance.

On the other hand, the environment in memory care is carefully crafted to reduce confusion and promote the safety of residents, making it a suitable setting for individuals requiring a higher level of specialized care. Through a combination of specialized programs, cognitive therapies, and engaging activities, the aim is to stimulate memory and cognitive abilities, promoting mental agility and slowing the decline of memory functions. 

Assisted Living Vs. Memory Care

Focus of Care

  • Assisted living: Assisted living communities are tailored to assist residents in daily activities such as personal hygiene, dressing, medication supervision, and food preparation. These establishments provide numerous services and experiences to promote autonomy while providing the necessary assistance to residents.
  • Memory care: Memory care communities are dedicated to individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. These communities deliver focused care featuring structured routines, cognitive-enhancing activities, and heightened security measures.

Staff Training & Expertise

  • Assisted living: Staff are trained to assist with general care needs and activities of daily living (ADLs).
  • Memory care: Staff undergo specialized training focused on dementia care, including how to manage behavioral issues, communicate effectively with individuals experiencing cognitive decline, and provide a safe, supportive environment.

Moments Matter

Moments Matter™ is our specialized memory care initiative at The Village at Bellevue, aimed at assisting individuals facing cognitive challenges from dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease.

Our skilled and certified team members in memory care are dedicated to more than just fundamental care services; they focus on fostering significant moments and enhancing each individual’s unique abilities.

Security & Safety Measures

  • Assisted living: While safety is a priority, these communities typically offer more freedom for residents to move around.
  • Memory care: Enhanced security measures, including secured exits and entrances, prevent wandering, a common behavior in individuals with dementia. The environment is also designed to minimize confusion and falls.
a group of seniors socialize in an assisted living community

Services & Experiences

  • Assisted living: Assisted living communities offer various services and experiences that promote overall enjoyment and encourage social interaction among residents. While these contribute to a vibrant community life, they are not exclusively aimed at stimulating cognitive functions.
  • Memory care: Services and experiences are specifically designed to enhance cognitive abilities and assist those experiencing memory loss. These might include music therapy, sensory activities, and reminiscence therapy. They focus on creating a supportive atmosphere that addresses each individual’s unique requirements, fostering an environment where cognitive stimulation is a key component of daily activities. 

What We Offer

At The Village at Bellevue, we offer customized rehabilitation services, including speech, occupational, and physical therapy, to enhance well-being with our deep medical expertise. 

Our tranquil outdoor areas blend serenity with community. They feature pristine walking trails, lush spots for socializing, and delicious meals from our community grill. Located just 30 minutes from downtown Nashville, Tennessee, our community provides easy access to various amenities and attractions. 

Enjoy our Exclusive Dining Experience™, where meals are tailored to individual nutritional needs and dietary preferences and served thrice daily in an elegant setting. 


  • Assisted living: Generally more affordable than memory care due to the lower level of specialized care required.
  • Memory care: Typically more expensive because of the specialized care, increased staffing requirements, and enhanced security measures.

Making the Best Decision 

The decision between assisted living and memory care is typically guided by medical advice or when it becomes clear that a more focused and specialized level of care is required to properly address the individual’s needs. 

Assisted living is ideal for individuals who require slight help with everyday activities, whereas memory care is designed for those who need comprehensive support due to cognitive conditions.

At The Village at Bellevue, we understand making this decision can be tough. We invite potential residents and their families to explore our community and learn how we can provide the care and support tailored to your loved one’s needs. Whether engaging in assisted living or benefiting from our specialized memory care services, we’re here to provide a smooth transition and a comfortable, supportive environment. Contact us today to discover how we can assist you in making the best choice for your loved one’s care and well-being.

Written by Angela Clark

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