Living at home in the early stages of Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia may be the best option for a loved one. Someone with minimal memory loss is likely to be more comfortable in familiar surroundings and probably doesn’t require a high level of care and attention.
But planning a move to a memory care community should start early, before the condition progresses to the point where things can go south. Moving sooner also gives your loved one time to acclimate to the community, make friends and take advantage of all the activities, programs and amenities available.
To help you recognize when it’s time to make a move, be aware of the following signs that it’s time for memory care.
1. Neglecting Personal Care
Dementia can lead people to forget about personal care and hygiene. They may neglect basic activities such as bathing and changing their clothes. Some people struggle to do their hair. Sadly, they may feel too embarrassed to ask for help, particularly if they’re incontinent.
2. Getting Lost
Forgetting where you are and how you got there is an early sign of dementia. As the condition progresses, it’s quite common for people to wander from their homes and become lost. In fact, 6 in 10 people living with dementia will wander at least once; many do so repeatedly. Wandering is extremely stressful for family members and dangerous for your loved one. Frequent wandering is a common sign it’s time for memory care.
3. Trouble Taking Medication as Prescribed
Many seniors who start showing signs of cognitive decline forget to take their medications or take too much of it. In the early stages of dementia, reminders and pill organizers may help. But as the condition progresses, serious side effects can occur if medication isn’t managed properly. If your loved one isn’t taking their medication like they should, it’s another sign it’s time for memory care. Memory care settings have trained staff who are responsible for ensuring that all residents take their medications properly.
4. Physical Changes
Dementia symptoms can be physical as well as mental. It can change the way you walk, talk, and how your body works. People living with dementia may experience loss of balance and coordination; shuffle or drag their feet when they walk; struggle to sit up in a chair or stand; exhibit sundowning symptoms such as confusion, anxiety, aggression or pacing; experience insomnia.
A decline in cognitive function can also cause a person to forget to eat or to overeat, which can lead to unhealthy weight changes.
5. Poor Housekeeping
Pay attention if your loved one starts to abandon chores around the house. If there’s spoiled food in the fridge or lots of trash piled up, that’s a warning sign of Alzheimer’s. A person living with memory loss may even eat spoiled food without realizing it. An untidy home also increases their risk of falling. Also, if your loved one is having trouble handling money or repeatedly forgetting to pay bills, you can take that as another sign it’s time for memory care.
6. Withdrawal from Social Life
You may notice that your loved one has lost interest in family or social obligations. As verbal communication becomes more difficult, they may give up trying to communicate. Withdrawing from other people may be a way of dealing with anger, sadness or fear; it may also be a sign of depression. A memory care community has group activities that encourage social interaction, which is vital for a senior’s health.
7. Caregiver Stress
Caring for someone with dementia can be challenging and overwhelming on the best of days. Your loved one will develop uncharacteristic behaviors, have bad days, or ask questions repeatedly. It’s extremely stressful for the caregiver and can exacerbate even minor ailments. If caregiving responsibilities are affecting your physical and mental health, get family members involved, talk to a therapist or social worker, and research your options for full-time care. Finding a good memory care community for your loved one is often the best thing you can do — for their health and well-being as well as for yours.
We Can Help You Every Step of the Way
If caring for a loved one with dementia is more than you can do on your own, we can help. We offer round-the-clock care in a beautiful setting specially designed for people living with memory loss.
Assisted living memory care at Radford Green Health Care center in Lincolnshire offers private suites, a secure outdoor garden courtyard, nutritious meals, stimulating activities and personalized care. Staff members are specially trained and certified in dementia care.
To learn how we can help, contact us. We’re here to make the transition to memory care as smooth and stress-free as possible.