The Differences Between Memory Care vs. Assisted Living vs. Nursing Homes


With so many different levels of care, it can be confusing throughout your search for what suits your loved one best. The difference between memory care vs. assisted living vs. nursing homes can be particularly confusing in terms of what each offers to residents.

Memory care is typically for people with more advanced cognitive impairments, such as Alzheimer’s disease. These individuals require specially-trained care professionals and a safe, structured environment, including secured doors to protect those with exit-seeking behaviors.

At GreenField Terrace, part of The GreenFields Continuing Care Community in Lancaster, NY, three of the four houses are specifically for memory care. Each house contains 12 rooms, allowing for more individualized care and attention to each person. “Residents at GreenField Terrace have mild to moderate dementia,” says Lori Hannon, Senior Living Director at The GreenFields. “They are relatively independent, but need reminders to give them direction on their daily living activities.”


Memory Care vs. Assisted Living

Comparatively, assisted living for seniors is for assistance with daily activities, but not medical/nursing care. This may include activities such as bathing, dressing, or grooming. Typically, assisted living residents are able to move around independently. Whether it be with a cane, walker, or wheelchair, and transfer (i.e. get up from a chair, move from bed to a wheelchair, etc.) and toilet independently.

The GreenFields offers assisted living at GreenField Court. With 49 apartments that include a kitchenette with refrigerator, sink, and microwave, and private bathroom with walk-in shower, GreenField Court also offers 24-hour daily living assistance. “They can still be in an apartment setting, so it isn’t as dramatic of a change for them and they can still feel some independence, yet have their needs taken care of” says Hannon. Other features offered at GreenField Court include weekly housekeeping and laundry services, and transportation to medical appointments and grocery shopping.

Enhanced assisted living is the level of care between traditional assisted living and skilled nursing. At GreenField Terrace, one of the four houses is dedicated to enhanced assisted living. There, residents can receive assistance with transferring (getting in and out of a chair, on and off the toilet, in and out of bed), and assistance with medical equipment and unmanaged urinary incontinence. GreenField Terrace also offers a ground consistency diet, if needed.


Memory Care vs. Nursing Homes

Nursing homes, or skilled nursing facilities, differ from both memory care and assisted living. Services at a nursing home are more medically-centered. The focus at a nursing home is on a resident’s need for a higher level of medical care. This supervision is provided by doctors, registered or licensed practical nurses, and certified nursing aides.

Skilled nursing residents at GreenField Health & Rehabilitation Center receive tailored care plans to their needs in a homelike environment. Each individual has access to staff assistance 24 hours a day. Residents can also take advantage of spiritual social, and emotional support programs offered on The GreenFields campus.


Hopefully, this helps you understand the major difference between memory care vs. assisted living vs. nursing homes!

To learn more about memory care at GreenField Terrace and assisted living at GreenField Court, please call The GreenFields Senior Living department at (716) 684-8400. To learn more about skilled nursing at GreenField Health & Rehabilitation Center, please call The GreenFields Admissions department at (716) 684-3000.

If you or anyone you know is in need of services and accommodations with The GreenFields, visit thegreenfields.org.

The GreenFields resident



5959 Broadway
Lancaster, NY 14086

The Niagara Lutheran Health System does not discriminate in the admittance of residents or the hiring of employees relative to age, race, creed, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, sexual preference gender, gender identity, blindness, handicap, sponsor, marital status, or religion.

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