When Is It Time?
If you are at the point where worries about where your loved one is and how they are doing are constant, it could be time to consider a senior living community that specializes in Alzheimer’s and dementia care.
We encourage advanced planning on this subject much earlier in the care partnering process. It is an important conversation for any caregiver to have as they contemplate the future living with dementia. If the person living with the diagnosis is able to put forth wishes and even help select communities that might fit their needs at a later date, the transition can be made smoother when and if the time comes for a move.
And while the caregiving journey is different for everyone, the following list of symptoms might indicate that time has come for professional help with caregiving.
The person living with dementia is experiencing responses to your caregiving which are making it difficult to provide care. Increased issues with controlling emotional responses, like verbal outbursts, physical resistance to care, or accusatory or paranoid statements can all be incredibly difficult to handle as a family member.
Signs that depression or difficulty engaging in meaningful activities are keeping the person lonely and isolated.
An increase in agitation or restlessness later in the day may signal a need for a more structured plan for the day’s activities.
Getting lost or going outside without safe knowledge of how to get home.
An increased number of falls
Increasing physical dependence on others for the activities of daily living
A need for verbal, gesture, or physical cueing and prompting to complete tasks
Weight loss or difficulty with dining
If you’re a caregiver, it’s also important to be on the lookout for signs of burnout in yourself, such as irritation, social withdrawal, low mood and exhaustion. Caring for someone with dementia can be a heavy load.
In fact, about 40% to 70% of caregivers suffer from depression. In order to be an effective caregiver, it is important to consider your own health and the health of the whole family as well.
What are Memory Care Communities Like?
Staying at home may seem like the best option, but given the complexity of the disease and the amount of support needed, your loved one may have a better daily experience at a community designed for people living with dementia with a vibrant program of engagement.
Many associates in memory care communities are trained in dementia care and specialize in techniques like:
Physical prompting and cueing to maintain independence
Validation and other communication techniques for better understanding and partnership
Engaging in meaningful activities that utilize skills
Associates should be aware that responses like agitation and confusion are prevalent if their approach isn’t exactly what it needs to be. Instead of focusing on behavior management, they may focus on preventative, behavioral problem-solving and anticipating unmet needs. That means associates may work with your loved one’s remaining abilities to help them attempt to maintain their independence for as long as possible.
Memory Care Made for Loved Ones
Many things set Brookdale’s memory care programming apart, but one of the biggest is the consistent assignment of care partners to each resident. These consistently assigned associates tend to develop strong relationships and may be able to notice the slightest changes in condition, mood or behavior.
Brookdale’s memory care communities also focus on keeping residents engaged by providing a wide range of person-centered engagement opportunities that are geared toward different ability and interest levels.
Challenges around dining, such as difficulty swallowing or handling utensils, are managed by providing prompts, adapted recipes and specialized table settings.
Brookdale’s memory care communities are also designed with the needs of persons living with dementia in mind. These communities are secured, but more importantly also allow for a “sheltered freedom,” with safe outdoor walking spaces and gardens.
The Importance of Planning Ahead
Whether you prefer to wait or believe now is the right time for your loved one to move to memory care, it’s important to think ahead. Do your best to develop a plan that makes the transition as easy as possible.
If possible, talk to your loved one about their wishes, and take care of any important legal paperwork, such as advanced-care directives, while they are able.
Discuss what objects and activities make your loved one happy — such as a special photo collection or walking in the garden — that they can continue to cherish even after their move.
Preparation for big changes like moving may alleviate stress in all of us, but particularly in people living with dementia. In the meantime, utilize our Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregiver Journal as a resource to navigate your role as a caregiver with more success.
We’re Here to Help
If you’re trying to figure out if memory care might be right for your loved one, give us a call. We’re always here to lend you and your loved one a helping hand.
The above content is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you have a medical condition. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on our site.
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