10 Signs It’s Time For Memory Care

Elderly woman holding a piece of paper having issues recalling something due to poor memory

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 
  • Forgetful
  • Withdrawn
  • Agitated 
  • Frustrated

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. 

5. Incontinence       

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.

Senior woman struggling to remember faces while looking confused

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: 

  • Hoarding
  • 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.

The 7 Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease

An elderly man looking at a calendar having trouble remembering the day due to Alzheimer's disease

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, and many require consistent care for their health. A supportive community can make a difference for someone with Alzheimer’s, especially in the later stages of this disease, where many require 24-hour care for their health and wellness.

There are 7 stages of Alzheimer’s, and understanding this disease can help you determine the amount of supportive care your loved one needs. Consider this your guide on the 7 stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

What is Alzheimer’s Disease? 

Alzheimer’s disease is a neurological disorder causing the brain to atrophy (shrink). This disease is a common form of dementia, with around 5.8 million Americans suffering from Alzheimer’s. As this disease progresses, the brain cells die, and there is a decline in thinking, social and behavioral skills, affecting a person’s ability to live independently. 

While memory loss is the main symptom of Alzheimer’s, the disease affects several aspects of daily life. Performing familiar tasks may be more difficult, and personality changes may occur as well. Alzheimer’s can affect your: 

  • Memory
  • Thinking & reasoning 
  • Judgments & decisions
  • Personality & behavior

Medications may temporarily slow the progression of Alzheimer’s, but no treatments can cure this disease. If your loved one has Alzheimer’s, you may not notice the symptoms until they progress. This disease has 7 stages of progression, each being more severe than the last. 

The 7 Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease

The best way to support a loved one affected by Alzheimer’s is to understand how this disease progresses and affects someone. There are 7 total stages, but there are no concrete symptoms someone will experience. The symptoms may vary, but these stages estimate how affected someone is by Alzheimer’s disease. 

Normal Outward Behaviour 

The initial stage of Alzheimer’s may not have any noticeable symptoms at all. Changes are happening in the brain, but nothing you can naturally notice. An imaging test like a PET scan can show how the brain is working. 

While you may not notice any differences in your loved one yet, Alzheimer’s progression will lead to several changes related to memory, social and behavioral skills

Very Mild Changes 

Changes in this stage of Alzheimer’s are typically mild, and a doctor may not notice any symptoms. Your loved one may forget words or misplace objects around the house. Cognitive changes at this point are not severe, and your loved one can likely work and live independently.  

Mild Decline 

At this stage, you’ll likely notice some changes in your loved one’s abilities. An official Alzheimer’s diagnosis is common because their daily routine may become more difficult to manage. In this stage of disease, your loved one may: 

  • Forget information they just learned
  • Repeatedly ask the same question 
  • Have trouble organizing their plans
  • Not remember names of new people

Anxiety is common for your loved ones in this stage; they may not fully understand something is wrong. Working can become difficult, so retirement may be beneficial to ease your loved one’s mind. 

Caregiver holding the hands of a senior in need of assistance

Moderate Decline 

This stage of Alzheimer’s is where more cognitive function suffers. Besides memory, your loved one may have difficulties with language, organization, and other daily tasks. You may notice they have troubles with: 

  • Details about themselves 
  • Remembering what month it is
  • Choosing clothes 
  • Sleeping properly 
  • Cooking meals or ordering food

Activities requiring lots of thinking may frustrate or overwhelm your loved one. You can help them with remembering dates and other events. Changes in mood or personality are common in this stage. 

Moderately Severe Decline 

In more advanced stages of Alzheimer’s, your loved one may have trouble remembering where they are or what time it is. At this point, independence can be a challenge. Basic tasks such as getting dressed may be difficult. 

Emotional changes are common, and your loved one may have delusions or be unsure of what is real. If they repeat the same question to you, answer with a reassuring voice. Your loved one may not be asking for an answer, but more to know that you’re there

Severe Decline 

At this stage of Alzheimer’s, many significantly decline in their ability to manage their care. Communicating specific thoughts and feelings may be difficult, and personality changes will likely occur, such as anxiety or frustration. 

At this point, your loved one likely requires consistent care. If this is difficult, looking into memory care options may be beneficial. Specialized care for older adults with dementia provides 24-hour care, a safe environment, and daily supervision from medical professionals. 

Very Severe Decline 

In the most advanced stages of Alzheimer’s, abilities like eating, walking, and sitting up become difficult. Your loved one likely needs constant care, and having a dedicated professional to help with hygiene, nutrition, and exercise can help them stay as healthy as possible. 

Alzheimer’s can be a difficult and confusing experience, but senior communities can offer memory care to provide 24-hour support. With attentive staff, your loved one can have their needs taken care of in a relaxing, anxiety-free environment. 

Consistent Support for Your Loved One

In the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s, many need consistent care for their health and quality of life. While dementia affects many abilities, your loved one can still experience plenty of joy and activity. Many skills such as singing, dancing, and drawing preserve despite memory loss. 

Memory care options can allow residents to enjoy their favorite activities in a safe environment dedicated to their needs. With consistent health and wellness support, your loved one is in good hands. If you’re interested in memory care options, contact your local senior community.