Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are medical conditions that often progress gradually. Many of us with older family members—especially those who provide at-home care for loved ones with these diseases— are familiar with the common symptoms of memory loss, disorientation, and confusion. But other troubling, disruptive symptoms may eventually arise. Sleeplessness, extreme agitation, delusions, aggression, severe depression, and profound personality changes are among the serious symptoms that may indicate the need for specialized programs, supervision and treatment.
Whether your family member is living independently, being cared for in your home, or is in assisted living or other type of senior living, you may start to recognize that your loved one has specialized needs that aren’t being met. You may need to investigate whether your loved one could benefit from memory care—a specialized facility, unit, or program that’s structured, licensed, and staffed to handle the increased demands of caring for people with Alzheimer’s and dementias.
These signs indicate that it may be time to consider a memory care community for your loved one with dementia.
Wandering outside the home or assisted-living facility and getting confused or lost—perhaps being gone for hours—can lead to life-threatening situations for the dementia sufferer. Frequent falling, problems with balance, walking steadily, and tripping and falling are common concerns among people living with dementia, especially in the later stages of the disease. Risks of fire and flooding increase because of burners left on, lit cigarettes dropped or left unattended, and faucets left running are other safety issues that may prompt a change in living arrangements.
Quickly triggered, anger, lashing out, resisting others’ attempts to calm them—responding to these behaviors may be beyond some caregivers’ capabilities to handle. Memory care staff are trained in proper ways to effectively manage these behaviors, which are a danger to not only to dementia sufferers themselves, but also to their caregivers, and even to bystanders.
Escalating health-care needs
People with dementia often have escalating health-care concerns, and they can no longer take measures to care for themselves or sometimes they are not receptive to help from a loved one. Proper medication management and observation becomes more important. They may become unable to prepare and eat a nutritious diet. Many simply forget to eat and skip meals. Chronic, serious health conditions—including severe depression and anxiety—that require vigilant monitoring may worsen because dementia sufferers can no longer manage these conditions on their own. Moreover, people with dementia may rebuff family member’s attempts to help manage these conditions on their behalf.
Knowing just when is the right time to make the move to a memory care community is different for everyone. We encourage care partners to make a list of situations and conditions that would let you know it is time to make the move before they are in more difficult situations. Moving to a memory care community before there is a crisis often makes the transition easier for everyone involved in the decision and move.
If you have any questions, or wish to learn more about Memory Care living, contact us at CiminoCare.