January 30, 2020
When a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia, there are many difficult decisions to make, including when to consider residential memory care. Because no two people experience dementia in exactly the same way, it’s hard to predict how quickly an individual’s symptoms will progress over time. In the early stages of dementia, a person might be able to live independently or with family caregivers. But as the disease progresses, it will inevitably reach a point when the person requires more care than can be provided at home.
When this time comes for your family, moving to assisted living memory care can be the best way to improve your loved one’s safety, comfort, and quality of life. These special communities were designed specifically for older adults with dementia and provide memory care and support in a secure, welcoming environment.
So, how do you know when your loved one needs memory care? While every situation is different, here are some of the signs you should be looking for:
Many people with Alzheimer’s or another dementia experience unpredictable behavioral changes as the disease progresses, such as anxiety, anger, aggression, depression, delusions, and hallucinations. Pay attention to these changes; they may indicate your loved one needs specialized support from caregivers trained in dementia care.
In the middle stages of dementia, confusion, disorientation, and wandering may become more prominent. These symptoms may pose safety risks, especially if the person with dementia is still driving. If you’re constantly worried about your loved one accidentally getting into harm’s way, it’s time to consider memory care. You will have peace of mind knowing your loved one is living in a safe, secure environment with access to help 24/7 if an emergency occurs.
A noticeable decline in personal care and overall health
Is your loved one looking unusually thin or frail? Are they keeping up with their personal hygiene, including bathing, grooming, and dressing appropriately? Do they remember to take their medication, and in the right doses? If you notice a significant change in your loved one’s appearance, it could be a sign they are unable to care for themselves as they once did. In assisted living memory care, older adults receive help with daily tasks such as bathing, grooming, dressing, and medication management. Additionally, memory care residents enjoy chef-prepared meals each day, so there’s no need for grocery shopping or cooking.
Alzheimer’s and other dementias often cause older adults to lose interest in hobbies and withdraw from social activities they once enjoyed. This can lead to loneliness, anxiety, and depression. If you notice your loved one becoming more and more distant, consider the benefits of moving to an assisted living memory care community that provides engaging individual and group activities specifically for people with dementia.
Caregiver stress and burnout
Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia is never easy, and it will only get more demanding as the disease progresses. All too often, caregivers are so busy providing care that they neglect their own physical and mental health needs. Over time, this can lead to stress, guilt, and even resentment toward the person receiving care.
When caregiving becomes so overwhelming that it’s affecting your quality of life, it’s time for memory care. Getting professional help and support can take the stress out of caregiving and improve your relationship with your loved one. Instead of focusing all your attention on caregiving duties and worrying about the future, you will be able to spend more quality time together enjoying the present.
Start the memory care search early
If your loved one has an Alzheimer’s or dementia diagnosis, it’s not too early to start learning about memory care options for the future. It’s better to be proactive and start looking early—before your loved one needs it. You’ll have more time to research assisted living memory care communities and ensure a smoother transition when the time comes.