When is the Right Time for Memory Care?
While visiting the older adult in your life, you may have observed some behaviors that raise concerns. The actions cause you to wonder if your loved one needs additional support or is simply forgetting a thing or two. To help, we’ve compiled a list of five signs that indicate it may be time for your loved one to transition to memory care.
What is memory care?
Memory care provides support, structure, safety, and security for individuals suffering from the effects of Alzheimer’s and other dementias, and it creates peace of mind and trust for those individuals’ family members. The need for memory care depends on the type and stage of dementia and the person’s physical ability and needs.
What are the signs that show it may be time for memory care?
Forgetfulness. As we age, it’s not unusual to forget a thing or two, such as misplacing keys or forgetting what day it is or which word you were going to use. Forgetting these types of things won’t have a direct impact on your health. However, forgetting to take medicine, not locking the door, not paying bills, or having trouble speaking and forming sentences are all cause for greater concern.
Changes in behavior. Have you noticed that your once lively and outgoing parent is now withdrawn, depressed, and/or no longer doing the activities they once enjoyed? Or, do you notice your loved one is constantly frustrated, or even angry, when having conversations because they’re having trouble getting the right words to come out?
Drastic changes in behavior could be an indicator of memory decline. According to the Weill Institute for Neurosciences, behavior and personality often change with dementia. People with dementia often act in ways that are very different from their “old self,” and these changes can be hard for family and friends to understand. Behaviors can change for many reasons. In dementia, it is usually because the person is losing neurons (cells) in parts of the brain. The behavior changes you see often depend on which part of the brain is losing cells.
Lack of care and hygiene. When visiting your loved one, do you find that the house isn’t as tidy as it once was? For instance, stacks of paperwork are suffocating the kitchen table, food well past the expiration date is still in the refrigerator, and garbage hasn’t been taken out in a while? These are all clues that your loved one is in need of additional support.
If you find that your elder's hygiene isn’t what it used to be and they’re experiencing issues like incontinence, or if you recognize significant changes in your loved one’s physical appearance—such as gaining or losing too much weight—it could be a hint that your family member isn’t able to properly take care of themselves as they previously could.
The care partner is exhausted. For many care partners, a simple trip to the store or a doctor’s appointment can be a significant undertaking. With many care partners having jobs and families of their own, it can be overwhelming trying to balance their life and support an older adult with memory decline. If you are a care partner and find you’re having a difficult time assisting your senior and/or experiencing feelings of burnout, depression, or anxiety, it may be time to transition your older adult to memory care.
Your instincts tell you something is different. No one knows your loved one better than you. If your gut tells you that something is off with your older adult, trust it. Spend some time observing their behaviors and daily living situations, ask questions, and take notes on what you see. Then, follow up with a doctor as soon as possible.
Having a loved one with memory decline or memory loss can feel overwhelming and, at times, scary. At Provision Living Senior Communities, we’re here to help you navigate the journey and get access to the right resources to help your loved one. Schedule a consultation with one of our care consultants today.
This article is meant to serve as general information and does not constitute as medical advice. If you have any questions about memory decline, please consult with your loved one’s physician.
About the Author
Aleshia serves as the digital and social media manager for Provision Living Senior Communities. She holds a bachelor's degree in communications from the University of Missouri-Saint Louis and a master's degree in communication arts from Webster University.