The Right Timing
A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia can seem scary or overwhelming, and it’s vital to understand the implications of these progressive conditions before determining your family’s next steps.
Studies have shown that aging in place can be beneficial to those in the early stages of dementia, but there may be a point when a decision must be made for the wellbeing of our loved ones and their caregivers.
Memory care units provide support and routine for our loved ones with mid-to-late-stage dementia, but how do we determine when it’s time to make the transition?
Top 10 Signs That Your Loved One is Ready for Memory Care
1. Changes to Behaviour
Dementia can significantly alter behavior, and greatly affect the personalities of our loved ones. It may be time to consider a memory care facility filled with experts in handling dementia and Alzheimer’s disease if your loved one has become:
- Socially anxious
2. Personal Safety is at Risk
Dementia can cause confusion and disorientation, leading to forgetfulness, troubles with balance, and the ability to judge distances. This disorientation poses a risk to our loved one’s personal safety, resulting in hazardous situations that can result in serious injury.
Risks to personal safety include:
- Traffic accidents: This could involve running red lights, misjudging the distance between vehicles, or being unaware of pedestrians.
- Wandering: Forgetting the directions to familiar places, getting lost easily, or being unaware of dangerous surroundings.
- Hazards at home: Forgetting to shut off appliances, being unaware of obstacles in the home, tripping over steps and furniture, or mishandling tools and other objects that require special handling.
Safety for both the patient and caregivers should be a top priority, and a memory care facility can eliminate the stress and worry of injury.
3. A Decline in Physical Health
As dementia progresses, your loved ones may become neglectful of their health, resulting in various medical conditions. Physical changes can result from:
- Poor hygiene: Neglecting hygiene can lead to skin conditions, tooth decay, and illness.
- Lack of nutrients: Forgetting to purchase groceries or eating an unhealthy diet can cause a severe lack of nutrition; this may lead to physical weakness or an influx of cold and flu cases.
- Over or under-taking medications: Confusion or forgetfulness surrounding the proper dosage for prescribed medication can lead to serious health issues.
- Injuries: A rise in accidents, sometimes without explanation or reason.
A memory care facility will focus on the physical health of its residents by promoting a healthy lifestyle and diet.
4. Caregiver’s Deterioration of Health
Caregiving for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia is a stressful job, and even with in-home care providers, our loved ones require increasing levels of assistance as the condition progresses.
If the primary caregiver experiences a deterioration of physical or mental health, they may not be able to provide the necessary assistance for this 24/7 task. In this case, it may be prudent to consider a transition to memory care.
Helping someone with incontinence is a messy task that involves physical labor and a large amount of strength. Without proper training, there is a considerable risk of injury to everyone involved.
Memory care facilities provide professional assistance for your loved ones suffering from incontinence.
6. Increasing Confusion & Forgetfulness
It can be heartwrenching when the people we love begin to confuse names, times, and places. This confusion can often expand to other areas of life and home. It’s crucial to pay attention to signs of increasing forgetfulness, which can lead to:
- Wandering or becoming lost in familiar areas
- Ignoring or forgetting home maintenance
- Neglecting or failing to pay bills
- Becoming more susceptible to scams
7. Lack of Social Life
Patients with dementia can become isolated and lonely, leading to poor mental health and depression. Organizing activities, excursions, and providing creative outlets can be challenging and anxiety-inducing for a caregiver.
If you are noticing signs that your loved one may be lacking a social life, they may benefit from the expertise, careful planning, and vibrant activities provided by a memory care facility.
8. What Your Instincts Say
Trust yourself. If you are losing sleep at night worrying about your loved ones’ mental health and safety, it indicates there is cause for concern. Discuss your worries with your loved one, your doctor, and your family and friends to determine a proper solution.
9. Subpar Living Conditions
Watch for changes to living conditions in the home, like:
- Lack of maintenance
- Spoiled food
- Rotting dishes
- Uncontrolled household mess
If your loved one cannot continue caring for their living space, the housekeeping services provided by a memory care facility could ease some of that burden.
10. A Relationship That Needs Restoring
Caregiving for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia can be overwhelming, often resulting in weariness and anxiety. Often, we forget about all the things we loved to do together and instead focus on the work involved in providing assistance and care.
Transitioning your loved one into a memory care facility can help restore the lost relationship, and create a fresh start for everyone involved.
The Right Questions
Here are a few questions to ask yourself when considering a memory care facility for someone we care about:
- Is remaining at home the safest choice?
- Are they at risk of harming themselves or others?
- What do they want for themselves?
- What does the doctor suggest?
Being aware of these answers helps us watch for signs that our loved ones may be ready to make the transition.
A Positive Choice
It’s better to transition from home into memory care before warning signs progress into something more dangerous. Transitioning in earlier stages can benefit your loved ones by providing:
- A facility of their choosing
- Control over their future
- Time to adjust to new surroundings
- A chance to make connections to staff and other residents
If you feel your loved one is ready for memory care, it’s essential to openly discuss the benefits with them, answer all of their questions, and help provide confidence that this transition will help improve their quality of life.
Don’t hesitate to contact Barton House if you have questions about memory care, or need further information about our program. We are a compassionate and experienced facility, staffed with caring people who are always willing to help.