Dementia takes its toll slowly, making the early signs confusing and hard for victims or their loved ones to notice. Symptoms such as memory loss and feeling disoriented and confused are the first indications of dementia or Alzheimer's, but they also include delusions, agitation, sleeplessness, and extreme personality changes.
Whether your loved one is independent or in assisted living, these concerns will begin to change what they need from their living situation. At some point, they may benefit most from memory care, a structured facility, and/or program that is staffed to care for patients with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia.
Be attentive to family and friends dealing with a memory-loss condition. It is a tough choice to move them into a memory care unit, and you may be unsure about your decision. To help with this, we’ve listed some of the signs it might be time to move your loved one into memory care.
When caring daily for an elderly or unwell family member, a significant amount of stress and the emotional and physical strain can eventually take a toll on even the most patient people. The massive responsibility that comes with caregiving can cause physical and psychological damage, and caregivers may find themselves losing touch with their careers, families, and even sense of identity.
Even if an Alzheimer's patient is physically functioning, the conditions of the disease can make their temperaments volatile and unpleasant, which is a lot for caregivers to handle when pouring themselves into the care of another individual. In these cases, memory care makes for an excellent transitional choice, as the professionals have the training and patience required.
SafetySafety is the number one concern for family members with an Alzheimer's patient. Your loved one could become confused at any moment. This can cause them to wander off and become lost and agitated, even prone to violence, which makes for many situations that could endanger their health and safety.
When evaluating your loved one’s safety, ask yourself how often you find yourself worrying about them, checking in, or calling about their whereabouts. If your loved one has ever fallen, had a driving accident, or suffered any unexplained injury, you should consider moving them into a memory care center.
If you notice a decline in the upkeep of your loved one’s home, such as messes, expired food, unchecked mail, and general disorganization, this can be another red flag of the onset of dementia or Alzheimer's. They may require prompting in regards to bathing, eating, taking medication, and other daily activities or general cleanliness habits. This can be exhausting for one person to keep track of while having their own busy lifestyle. As this point, it may be time to ask for help.
Inability to Manage Finances
Is your loved one struggling to handle finances, such as forgetting to pay bills or not understanding bills and bank statements? This is an early indicator of the cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer's disease. It may also be a sign that your loved one shouldn’t live independently anymore. If there’s confusion about costs and money, this puts them at risk for financial abuse from other family members or identity theft that they might not be aware of.
IsolationThose with dementia often have a fear of driving, which can automatically cause them to become more isolated. As their behavior becomes more unpredictable, it’s harder to take them out shopping or eating. It’s a double-edged sword, as not being able to get them out to release energy can lead to them becoming easily agitated and disruptive. The end result is your loved one becoming more restless and depressed, making their mental decline even worse. This is the main dilemma that leads families to memory care.
In a memory care facility, experienced staffs are trained to use distraction, redirection, and other techniques to keep residents calm. They also provide outings and trips—stimulating activities that can provide your loved one with a positive way to release their energy and be social.
Deteriorating Living ConditionsIt is essential to check the living conditions of your loved one to know whether or not a memory care center is necessary. Burn and scorch marks are an important indicator, since memory loss can cause them to leave the stove on and not notice the smoke. They could also leave cigarette butts in unusual places, such as in blankets and on floors.
Water damage and mold are other signs, as your loved one may let the bathtub overflow or does not clean up a liquid spill that could eventually leave stains. They could also be neglecting yard work or a garden they had previously been diligent about maintaining.