If you’ve recognized changes in a loved one’s memory over the holidays, you may have come to the point where it’s time to consider specialized care.
It may be challenging to decide when memory care is needed, as memory diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia progress slowly. But, there are signs to look for that can help you feel more confident in your next steps.
In the beginning stages, your loved one may experience some forgetfulness, yet still be capable of completing daily tasks and caring for themselves. In the later stages, when they cannot care for themselves and they exceed the level of care that you or another family member can provide, specialized care becomes necessary.
Is It Really Time for Specialized Memory Care?
While memory loss is one of the main signs of needing specialized memory care, behavioral and personality changes are also important to watch for.
It’s normal for a person to change their interests over the years, but drastic changes are not typical. If your senior loved one begins to show a lack of interest in something that they have always loved, or they go from being a happy person to angry and agitated, it could be time to speak with a doctor.
A lack of personal care is a red flag. You may notice that your loved one’s clothing is wrinkled or dirty. If your senior loved one begins to neglect their hygiene, it could mean that they need more assistance.
Physical health and appearances can change suddenly when an older person is struggling to care for themselves. You may notice that your loved one forgets to eat, take their vitamins and essential medications in these later stages. Not eating or drinking puts them at risk of losing weight and becoming dehydrated. It’s also possible that past health issues will flare up if they’re not taking their medications properly.
Typically, when an older person is suffering from a memory disease, they will experience moments of confusion and disorientation. When this happens, they may wander off and get themselves lost. Wandering is a dangerous sign that you should take seriously.
What If I Have Been Taking Care of Mom or Dad at Home?
When you can’t keep them safe at home
Caring for your loved one at home may become challenging over time. Even though you have the best intentions, eventually, they will likely need specialized services that you cannot provide.
As a memory disease worsens, a senior will become more confused and disoriented. When this happens, they could wander in the middle of the night and get lost. While getting lost is one concern, it would also be dangerous to wander into a storm, freezing temperatures, or a scorching hot day.
Your home also may not be equipped to keep them safe and allow them to remain as independent as possible. This is where specialized care may improve their day-to-day lifestyle, providing an environment designed specifically to meet their needs.
When caregiver stress becomes overwhelming
Providing care to a loved one can be rewarding and exhausting at the same time. No matter how much you love another person, that alone won’t keep you from feeling overwhelmed. Everyone needs time for themselves and proper rest.
Managing your own life and family may already be stressful. Providing full-time care to a loved one who requires extensive help and attention can lead to more stress, unhappiness, and resentment.
When this happens, it is not suitable for you or your loved one. Choosing specialized memory care can prevent this from happening and be much better for you and your loved one’s mental and emotional health.
When you or your family can’t sustain a healthy living environment
Due to the stress and exhaustion of caring for a loved one, you may notice that your house is becoming messy. Dishes are piling up and laundry is going undone. These are signs that your living environment is becoming unhealthy.
Remembering to brush your loved one’s teeth, bathe them, and get them the exercise they need, may result in you forgetting to pay your bills and make it to your own appointments. If these are things you are starting to notice, a memory care community is your best option to help both your loved one and you.
What Kind of Memory Care Do We Need?
Assisted living and memory care communities offer some similar services. At both, a senior will be provided with housing, meals, help with bathing, grooming, using the bathroom, and other daily living activities. If your loved one is in the beginning stages of a memory disease, an assisted living community can benefit them.
As a memory disease progresses, your senior loved one’s needs will increase. Older adults with dementia are susceptible to wandering, aggression, confusion, and falls. They will need a safe and secure environment where the staff understands a memory loss resident’s typical behaviors.
Most memory care facilities have tools to keep their residents safe, such as locked entrances and exits with keypads and doorbells, as well as surveillance to allow residents more freedom but with safe supervision.
The staff receives special training that teaches them how to effectively and compassionately handle difficult dementia behaviors. The staff will also be knowledgeable in providing a resident with ongoing support while still encouraging them to remain as independent as possible.
If your loved one is in the later stages of their memory disease, extra safety measures and specially trained staff become increasingly necessary.
Start Your Search for Memory Care Early On
It’s always better to start your search for memory care sooner rather than later. If you begin your search early, you can avoid caregiver burnout, which can help your relationship with your senior loved one remain strong. You will also have a clearer mind and be better equipped to make crucial decisions for your loved one.
Moving to a new home and environment can be stressful enough. Rushing to move or make decisions isn’t in anyone’s best interest. By searching for memory care early on, you can develop a well thought out plan and work within a specific time frame.
There are many ways to plan how your loved one will receive proper care. You could move them into an assisted living community if they are still in the early stages of their memory disease. It would be wise to choose an assisted living community that also offers specialized memory care. Then they can transition smoothly into memory care when their symptoms worsen.
Why Kengsington Place Redwood City?
Making the best decision for your loved one is essential to you and your family, which also makes it important to Kensington Place.
Our memory care community provides a safe and comfortable environment for our residents with two specialized neighborhoods to help them feel at home while also keeping them safe. We have a team specializing in memory care, and a licensed nurse on-site 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
As memory care residents tend to experience difficulties mentally and emotionally, we guarantee psychological and psychiatric services to help them cope and remain as happy and independent as possible.
If you’re interested in finding a warm and loving home for your senior loved one, please reach out to us at any time. We are here to answer your questions and put your worries at ease.