When to Seek Memory Care for an Older Adult with Dementia
Mike McClernonSep 10th, 2021
Many families care for older adults diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease or dementia at home. The benefits to in-home care are numerous, including keeping the loved one in familiar surroundings, having direct involvement in their care, and enjoying the company of family.
However, since dementia is an incurable, degenerative condition that progresses over time, keeping the older adult at home may become challenging. At a certain point, it will be prudent to start exploring other care options, such as placing the loved one in an assisted care facility.
A specialized form of Assisted Living, known as Memory Care, can provide the proper care needed as older adults move through their Alzheimer's disease or dementia journey.
Every family decides when - or if - they will seek Memory Care for their loved one, and the decision is sometimes difficult. To help, I've provided eight signs to watch for that will tell you when to start seeking alternate care options.
1. Caring for the older adult is affecting your health and well-being
You and your family are sacrificing a lot to take care of an elderly loved one. As selfless as your efforts have been, the older adult with Alzheimer's disease or dementia will require 24-hour care. Not everyone can commit to such a demanding, exhausting schedule. You, too, have to guard your mental and physical health. Plus, you need to balance out the importance of family obligations and the equally important other aspects of your life, such as career, friends, family, and activities you enjoy.
Also, consider that the more taxing providing care will be on your well-being, the less you'll be able to provide the level of care you want for your loved one. Once you reach this point, it's time to look at Memory Care.
Many Memory Care communities offer professional 24-hour care from trained staff who specialize in supporting people with Alzheimer's disease or dementia. You still have the option of participating in the older person's day-to-day life while still having time for yourself.
2. The older person is getting increasingly difficult to handle
Because Alzheimer's disease and dementia attack the older adult's brain, they might exhibit severe behavioral changes, such as sudden mood swings, aggression, or even violence. You might not be sure what the triggers are or know how to react to keep the older adult or anyone else in the immediate vicinity out of danger.
When behavioral challenges begin to escalate, Memory Care may be the most prudent answer to help keep everyone safe. Memory Care staff are trained to provide progressive, empathetic support to de-escalate situations, keep everyone involved out of harm's way, and ensure that the older adult is returned to feeling secure and conten
3. There is a history of or increased risk of wandering
Wandering is a very common occurrence for people with Alzheimer's disease or dementia. If the older adult sneaks out of the house to wander – or, even worse, attempt to drive – they put themselves at risk of getting lost or becoming injured. You can try to secure the home as much as possible, but you can't watch the person 24 hours per day. If your loved one has started wandering, or you fear they will begin to, it's time to look at Memory Care options.
Wandering prevention is paramount in Memory Care. They use both alarms and secured doors to ensure that the senior stays in a safe area, giving you peace of mind that your loved one is always where they should be.
4. There's discomfort helping them bathe, dress, or use the toilet
In many cases, an older adult's progressive cognitive impairment will affect their ability to bathe, shave, brush their teeth, use the toilet properly, or get dressed. The result is poor hygiene which can be uncomfortable and unhealthy for the older person and negatively affect others. When the person's hygiene begins to decline, they may require assistance from you, which could understandably be uncomfortable.
Memory Care staff are trained to gently help your loved one with bathing, toileting, brushing their teeth, dressing, and much more while preserving their dignity and self-respect. Proper hygiene care will help the older person feel fresh, happy, and comfortable
5. The older person is not taking their medication properly
When an older adult has a degenerative brain disorder such as Alzheimer's disease or dementia, there's a heightened risk that they might improperly take their medications or can't remember when or if they did.
Memory Care facilities offer reliable medication management for both over-the-counter and prescription medications, along with other dementia-related healthcare services to protect the health and well-being of your older loved on
6. Your loved one isn't following a healthy meal plan
Even if they've cooked all their life, older people can lose interest in preparing healthy meals or enjoying nutritious snacks. People diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease or dementia might also forget to eat, lose the cognitive skills needed to cook, or safely operate ovens, kettles, or knives.
Memory Care facilities offer delicious, healthy menu items prepared by professional chefs. Your loved one will have access to three meals per day, customized to their dietary preferences, nutritional needs, and religious requirements. There are also many nutritious snack options for the older adult to enjoy whenever they feel a little hungry.
7. Your loved one is bored, frustrated, or non-responsive
As your loved one's dementia condition progresses, they might show signs of boredom, becoming frustrated to the point of demonstrating behavioral problems. They might also be quiet and non-responsive. Much of this behavior stems from the older adult not being properly engaged.
Staff at assisted care facilities specialize in exercising an older adult's brain with various proven techniques and therapies that keep them stimulated, happy, and entertained while slowing the condition's progression.
8. The older adult is becoming disoriented in their home
Even if they've lived in their home for decades, an older adult with declining cognitive abilities may become disoriented indoors. That's because most homes aren't built for people with memory impairment. As their condition progresses, the house may need redecorating or rearranging, which can prove challenging for some families.
Memory Care spaces are purpose-built for people with cognitive impairment, with optimal lines of sight, pathways, and edges needed for older people to navigate their surroundings confidently.
At Assisted Living Locators of Long Island, we understand how difficult the decision to move a loved one into Memory Care is to make. That's why families trust us to help them find a Memory Care facility based on the older adult's wants, requirements, and budget.
Our team takes the time to get to know all about your loved one's needs, answer all of your questions, and present a list of best-suited Memory Care facilities in your area. We work right by your side, accompany you on facility tours, and ensure that you have everything you need to make the most informed choice possible.
Contact Assisted Living Locators of Long Island when you're ready to explore Memory Care options for the older person in your life. We're always happy to help.