assisted livingPersonal Care Homes(PCH)
These are residences that provide shelter, meals, supervision and assistance with personal care tasks, typically for older people, or people with physical, behavioral health, or cognitive disabilities who are unable to care for themselves, but do not need nursing home or medical care.

Typical services provided at a typical PCH include assistance with:
Eating/drinking, Bathing, Personal hygiene
Walking/getting in and out of bed or chair
Toileting/bowel and bladder management
Arranging for and managing health care
Making/keeping doctor’s appointments
Assisting with or administering medications
Doing laundry, Using prosthetics, Caring for possessions, Shopping/managing finances
Arrange for transportation, Positioning in bed or chair
Using the telephone/writing letters

Personal Care Homes are inspected and licensed by the PA Department of Human Services. They are usually privately-owned, although some are operated by local governments or non-profit agencies. In PA, homes may be licensed to care for as few as four people and as many as several hundred.

Assisted Living Facilities
While those with early-stage Alzheimer’s can function independently, those who are in the middle-stage require some supervision and care. In assisted living facilities, individuals generally live in a private studio, private apartment, or a shared apartment, and have staff available to assist them 24-hours / day. This is ideal for those who are still able to live with some independence, but do require assistance with activities of daily living, such as doing light housecleaning, bathing, dressing, and mobility. Medication management, transportation to and from doctor’s appointments, and social activities are also offered at assisted living facilities. In addition, there will be a dining hall where residents gather to eat meals.
 
Memory Care Units
For individuals with dementia who require a higher level of skilled care and supervision, memory care units are an ideal option. These units offer both private and shared living spaces. Sometimes they exist as a wing within an assisted living facility or nursing home or they can operate as stand-alone residences. 24 hour, supervised care is provided by staff trained to care for the specific needs and demands of dementia patients. Memory care units offer the same services as do assisted living facilities, as well as activities intended to stimulate the memory of those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias and possibly slow the progression of the disease. Activities may involve music, arts and crafts, games, etc. 


Other Differences
Generally, safety checks are done more frequently in memory care units, and some residences even utilize tracking bracelets that will sound an alarm if the resident goes too near an exit. Memory care units also tend to follow a more rigid scheduling structure, since those with dementia can easily become stressed in unfamiliar environments and generally do better with routine. It’s common for those with Alzheimer’s to have a lack of appetite, so memory care units put forth considerable effort to design meals to address this issue. This may be done by creating a contrast between the color of the food and the plate on which it is served so that residents can easily see their food or by offering flexibility with dishes. Extra safety measures are also taken on memory care units to ensure the safety of their residents. Examples include locking up items that are poisonous, such as shampoo, laundry detergent, and mouthwash containing alcohol.  

For families seeking information about senior living options, the grid linked here is a great starting point. Find a community near you and call for details. Their friendly staff will be happy to assist you in your search

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