Aging in place might be a senior’s ideal plan, but if they are beginning to struggle with memory loss, the situation changes. Planning memory care can be full of difficult decisions as it is. With the COVID-19 pandemic, it might feel even more challenging to know how and when to make the right moves safely.
When it comes to memory care, taking steps sooner rather than later is most effective. It can ensure that everyone involved will feel more comfortable and prepared.
Here are some tips to planning memory care for seniors, including information on how memory loss can progress and steps you can take right now to make the transition easier.
Staying safe here and now
While you plan your next moves, there are certain tasks you can focus on in your current living situation to keep seniors safe from illnesses, including the coronavirus.
There are seven stages of dementia, beginning with no cognitive impairment and steadily progressing to include mild cognitive decline, such as forgetting where you put your keys or forgetting names, to more regular forgetfulness, trouble with tasks and problem solving, and eventually needing help with performing daily activities.
In the early stages, when seniors are experiencing more forgetfulness, they may need extra help or written reminders for essential hygiene tasks such as thoroughly washing hands or using hand sanitizer. For people living with dementia, a first symptom of any illness can be increased confusion, so it is important to watch for this as the potential first signs of the flu or coronavirus.
If seniors show symptoms at home
If symptoms of illness are present, call your doctor first before heading to the office or emergency room, to keep both your loved one and others safe. If you have health aides who regularly visit, make sure to take their temperature when they enter your home and ask them if they have any symptoms.
Discussing the coronavirus
For seniors in the early stages of dementia, it can be helpful to discuss the coronavirus by speaking simply and with reassurance. You can explain the need to stay safe indoors, social distance, and keep hands clean.
This is where you can begin discussions about assisted living communities and memory care services. Share your reasons for keeping them safe and explain your research on what a community can provide for them.
Discuss with them how being proactive and prepared before illnesses or accidents occur will help them stay safe and comfortable long-term. Listen to their concerns so you can address their questions and worries as thoughtfully as possible.
Preparing for memory care
It is helpful to begin memory care discussions while your loved one is in the early stages of memory loss. Waiting until there are drastic behavioral changes, more serious confusion, or an accident or illness will make it difficult to communicate and can cause more anxiety.
Incidents such as falling while performing a daily household task, forgetting to pay mortgage bills, or taking medication are simple things that can have serious consequences for seniors and their families. Taking care of their home can quickly become too much. Things can begin to pile up and become overwhelming. Getting help now, before things become urgent, can mean avoiding costly and stressful problems down the line.
Provide your research
Discuss the additional concerns for seniors contracting COVID-19, and how being in a dedicated care community can help keep them safe and healthy. Kensington Place is taking every necessary precaution to keep residents protected, while still creating fun and engaging alternatives to activities that now require social distancing or virtual accommodations.
At Kensington Place, seniors requiring memory care reside in one of two communities: Connections and Haven. The Connections community is for people in the early to middle stages of Alzheimer’s and dementia, while Haven is for those in the middle to late stages.
The goal of the Connections neighborhood is to help residents engage in meaningful activities that give purpose to their days. Haven’s goal is focused on maximizing comfort and minimizing agitation.
Both neighborhoods have home-like, intimate, cozy spaces to invoke feelings of comfort, and there are plenty of secure outdoor spaces to enjoy. Pets also are welcome, which can be a tremendous support.
Residents of Kensington Place have individualized service plans tailored to their unique needs, including emotional and spiritual support.
They also will have:
- 24-hour care, seven days a week
- Medication and diabetes management
- Physical therapy and a fitness center on-site
- Rehabilitation services
- Accomodation of special diets
Listen and respond
While conversations about assisted living can be tough, being prepared with research and compassion will help. Listen thoughtfully to their concerns so you can address them directly, and express yours with care.
If you’re ready to begin making a plan for your loved one to enter an assisted living community, we are here to support you. Contact us today to hear more about our memory care neighborhoods and how we are keeping residents safe, healthy, and happy during the coronavirus pandemic. We will be here every step of the way to support you during this transition.
Recommended Additional Reading:
- How to Make the Most of the Holidays with Social Distancing
- Moving to a Senior Living Community Before an Emergency
- Warning Signs of Mild Cognitive Impairment
- Caring for Someone with Alzheimer’s: Everything You Need to Know to Provide the Best Care