Memory Care Homes vs. Assisted Living Homes: Unraveling the Differences and Discovering Profitable Investments for Physicians

We have discussed residential assisted living homes extensively in the Physicians and Properties community. However, one niche within RAL is Memory Care homes and they make great assisted living investments. Many have asked me what the difference is between memory care homes vs assisted living homes. In this article, we are going to unravel the differences between residential assisted living and memory care. Also, let’s discover how they can be profitable investments for physicians.

memory care vs assisted living

What is the difference between memory care and assisted living?

These specialized homes provide a nurturing haven for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other memory-related conditions. Residents in memory care homes tend to need a little more care than offered at a traditional residential assisted living home. And, these unique residential homes are thoughtfully designed to provide a safe and supportive environment for residents, offering 24/7 supervised care, assistance with daily activities, and tailored programs to promote cognitive stimulation. Just like other assisted living homes, these properties offer the opportunity to also be lucrative investments. Join us as we delve deeper into the differences between memory care homes and how they are great investments for physician real estate investor


Memory care homes tend to have more advanced safety features than traditional residential assisted living homes. Oftentimes, they will have daily check-ins, magnetized locked entrances and exits, keypad entries, specific facility layouts to avoid falls, and more.

Specialized Caregivers and Staff

Just like we go to residency for more specialized training, caregivers at memory care facilities undergo more training. Of course, this varies by state. But, staff are typically trained to provide 24-hour patient-centered care to assist dementia patients with maintaining cognitive skills, independence, and an exceptional quality of life despite their diagnosis. They often go through training on how to prevent aggression and wandering which is quite prevalent in these residents. Also, memory care homes tend to have a higher staff-to-resident ratio than assisted living. This provides more one-on-one attention to the residents.

Unique Activities

Memory care homes tend to offer both group and individual activities. They want to design activities that foster community, however, are designed to maintain cognitive skills. This may include music therapy, art therapy, reminiscence therapy, pet therapy, etc. An exceptional memory care home will provide personalized care and activities tailored to each resident that will encompass their mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health.


Assisted living care is expensive and memory care is even more expensive! Due to the increased need for more caregivers, specialized activities, increased safety measures, and 24/7 care, the cost of memory care homes tend to far exceed a typical RAL. For example, the median monthly cost of assisted or a one-bedroom apartment was $4,500 a month in 2021, according to a cost of care survey by Genworth, an insurance company with a focus on long-term care. However, the median cost of memory care is $6,935 per AARP.

assisted living investments

Why are memory care homes good investments for physician real estate investors?

It is estimated that as the large baby boomer population ages, the total number of people living in the United States will continue to increase rapidly. Estimates vary, but experts report more than 7 million people ages 65 or older had dementia in 2020. If current demographic and health trends continue, more than 9 million Americans could have dementia by 2030 and nearly 12 million by 2040. This demand further emphasizes the need for more memory care homes and ensures that high-quality homes will likely remain occupied.

As a physician, the intimate and unique understanding of what is needed for residents to thrive in a memory care home is a unique advantage. Operators, love partnering with physicians to utilize our first-hand knowledge to capitalize on further improving the quality of their homes.

As you have learned in prior blog posts, we are big fans of the leased-out model. We buy the residential assisted living home or in this case the memory home. And, instead of owning the real estate and the operation, we lease it out to an exceptional operator. This allows us to have a more passive investment. As mentioned above, memory care costs a lot more so, operators tend to make more income and then are willing to pay a more substantial lease fee for the real estate.

As you all know, we are big fans of investments in assisted living, and memory care offers a unique opportunity for physician real estate investors. Use your expertise to provide exceptional homes for these residents. All the while, obtaining steady cash flow and a lucrative investment. Let me know what you think in the comments!

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