When Is It Time for Memory Care?
Deciding when to consider memory care is a very personal decision. And each family is different. If someone you love is living with Alzheimer's or another form of dementia, you probably have questions about the future. You may be concerned about your mom’s safety or whether your dad is becoming more isolated.
Our memory care communities provide a secure place where your loved one can be surrounded by familiar people who know them. Certain features like keypad entries into the building and enclosed outdoor areas help create a secure place for your loved one. Depending on the community, we also offer specific programming that helps meet the unique needs of early, middle and late stages of Alzheimer's and other dementia. In many cases, this allows our team to keep our residents' engaged with purpose and a sense of self throughout each stage.
5 Signs It’s Time to Consider Memory Care
Dementia is a condition that looks a little different for everyone. People experience it in different ways, which can make it difficult to know when the time is right to consider professional care. If you need a little help making the right decision, here are five signs that it might be time to explore memory care communities.
It’s normal to be worried about your loved one’s safety, especially if they have dementia. Seniors living with memory loss can sometimes find themselves in a place they don’t recognize, even if they’ve been there before, and panic. Those overwhelming emotions can cause them to take risks like cross the street before the walk sign is on or forget where the stairs are in their own home, resulting in falls and injuries.
2. Caregiver stress
Being a caregiver is never easy, but it can be especially challenging when someone you love has a condition that progresses over time. In the early stages, you may have only needed to help with chores like paying bills and transporting to and from doctor’s appointments. But as the disease worsens, the to-do list can grow and lead to feelings of burnout. It’s hard to be a good caregiver if you don’t have time to care for yourself too.
3. Decline in personal care
Is your family member forgetting to invest in personal hygiene like bathing, changing clothes, brushing their teeth, taking their medication or combing their hair? Sometimes people living with Alzheimer's or dementia know they must do these activities but forget how to do them. They can also feel embarrassed and ashamed, which prevents them from asking for help.
4. Unexplained physical changes
Have you noticed any physical changes in your loved one that they can’t explain? Maybe your mom used to have perfect posture, but now she seems a little slumped and sunken. Or maybe your dad has always been healthy, but now he’s losing weight and looking a little frail. Sometimes changes like these mean they are struggling to take care of themselves.
5. Social isolation
Sometimes seniors living with dementia lose interest in activities they used to enjoy, or they don’t want to socialize with friends anymore because it’s more difficult than it used to be. If they feel overwhelmed or recognize that they are struggling with memory loss, they may choose to withdraw from friends and family.
The Benefits of Memory Care Communities
Memory care communities are more than a place to live. They offer residents the opportunity to experience relationship-rich care in a safe environment, while still giving them opportunities to make good friends, enjoy delicious meals and use their current skills.
While our communities offer a long list of benefits to seniors living with dementia, here are just a few of the ways our communities can give your family member the care, security and quality of life they deserve.
Peace of Mind
Safety is an important factor with seniors experiencing memory loss, and most residential homes don’t include the safety features you might find at a memory care community. These features often include emergency alert systems in each apartment, keypad entry, daily check-in systems and enclosed outdoor spaces. Memory care communities also employ a host of trained and specialized staff that are available around the clock to assist your family member in case of an emergency.
Your loved one will have the chance to participate in a number of different indoor and outdoor activities every day, everything from mental workouts and physical exercises to baking classes and dancing lessons. In addition to simply giving them a chance to have fun each day, these activities are often designed to help them maintain their current skills and interests for as long as possible, allowing residents to express themselves and make meaningful contributions to the community.
Weight loss is a common symptom of dementia, because seniors may forget to buy groceries and prepare meals. Fortunately, memory care communities have dining plans that are designed specifically for seniors living with dementia. Dementia-friendly menus, flavorful foods, consistent seating and routine meal times make it easier than ever for seniors to maintain a healthy and nutritious diet.
Consistent Personalized Care
We provide a personalized service assessment for each of our residents, working with their families and healthcare providers. This does more than tell us how much care and attention they need. It helps us understand who they are. We also strive to provide consistent care assignments for your loved one so they can work with the same care partner on a regular basis to encourage familiarity and relationship-rich care.
Sense of Home and Family
Each community feels like exactly that—a community. With neighbors, familiar faces and care that goes the extra step, your loved one will have the opportunity to engage with other men and women in the same stage of life. While being around other people can improve our moods, it’s particularly good for seniors with dementia. Sometimes it can even lead to needing fewer medications and experiencing fewer accidents and injuries.
You may be able to easily adapt when life doesn’t go according to plan, but seniors living with dementia struggle more than usual when their routine changes. Memory care communities run on consistency, routine and familiarity, which gives residents the peace of mind and security they need to thrive. One way we do this is through our Clare Bridge Daily Path, which provides a daily structure of six planned programs each day that range from cognitive workouts, brain stimulating games and physical activity.
Things to take into consideration before making the move
We know there are a lot of things to think about before committing to a memory care community. That’s why it’s important to do your research, make a list of communities you want to tour and interview and know what questions to ask.