It can be challenging to know when it’s time for increased care of a senior loved one. General decline can be a normal part of aging, which makes knowing when it’s time for memory care more difficult.
Reflecting on changes in your senior loved one’s behavior may reveal that it’s time to seek additional assistance. Memory care provides many options and resources for your loved one, at any stage of memory loss.
Knowing some basic guidelines and reasonable expectations can help establish when it’s time to look at memory care for your senior loved one.
Signs it May be Time for Memory Care
Transitioning your loved one to an appropriate level of care, including memory care, is best done sooner rather than later. This allows for a smoother transition, and outcomes are better for patients physically, mentally, and emotionally.
The information below provides areas to consider when deciding whether your senior loved one is in need of memory care.
Noticeable Change in Cognitive Behavior
It’s happened to all of us. You walked into a room and forgot what you needed from it. Or you walked out of the house, making sure to lock the door behind you, only to remember that you left the keys on the table.
However, if the changes you are noticing in your loved one are significant enough to interfere with their daily life, it’s time to involve their medical team to establish what the issues are and how best to proceed.
If you notice your loved one is having a more difficult time remembering names, doctor appointments, or paying bills, it is important to discuss with them that it is time to visit their physician.
Your loved one’s physician can do an exam and give everyone involved a clearer picture of whether there is a medical concern and how best to move forward to maintain their health.
Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or Dementia
If your loved one has received a medical diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer’s, it’s reasonable to expect there will be a transition to memory care. A diagnosis of a dementia-related illness usually means the illness has progressed enough to interfere with daily life.
Changes in Behavior
Is your senior loved one normally very particular about their appearance or their home, but you’ve observed a decline in how they care for these areas of their life? Are they generally a very patient and easy going person and you’ve noticed a shift toward being more agitated or irritable?
General forgetfulness can happen to anyone but if you’re noticing a persistent recurring change in their behavior, take notice.
These kinds of changes can be a result of something more than just forgetfulness or frustration. It may be a symptom of deeper confusion or long-term memory issues.
Physical Safety Becomes a Concern
Has your loved one gone out for a walk and not been able to remember how to get home? Have they had other difficulties such as getting in a fender bender or causing themselves harm because of confusion or forgetfulness?
These incidents may be a sign that your loved one has forgotten the rules of the road or has become confused while trying to accomplish daily tasks. If you’ve noticed an increase in these kinds of situations, take it seriously. You don’t want to wait until your loved one is injured or injures someone else.
Sometimes when memory becomes an issue, a loved one isn’t remembering to take medicines or they forget that they have already taken medicine and take too much. They may stop taking care of their personal hygiene, cleanliness at their home, or even forget to eat or go grocery shopping. These can all lead to a decline in your loved one’s overall health. Making it increasingly important to check in and help them find the support they need.
Failing Health of a Caregiver
If a loved one with memory issues is being cared for by a spouse or relative who can no longer manage that responsibility, it may be time to consider memory care.
Caring for a loved one with memory issues can be very challenging and demanding. This can lead to caregiver burnout. If possible it would be best to intervene before such an event occurs.
It’s Time for Memory Care
Senior loved ones staying independent for as long as they feel comfortable and are safe is ideal. But when memory loss begins to interfere with daily life, your loved one may need additional support.
You’re not alone in caring for your loved one’s memory challenges. There is help that can alleviate your feelings of stress and concern. Give yourself and your loved one the peace of mind that comes with knowing they are being properly cared for.
Receiving the positive benefits from memory care early is beneficial, not just for seniors, but also for their caregivers and family.
Learn more about The Kensington’s team of loving and attentive caregivers, as well as our extensive memory care services. This can help you determine if memory care at The Kensington is right for your loved one.
If your loved one has already been a part of The Kensington family, the transition from assisted living to memory care will be that much smoother. For example, we have residents where one spouse is in our assisted living community and the other, who needs memory care, is able to stay on the same campus, keeping them close and providing each person with their best level of care possible.
Schedule a virtual tour or call us to learn how we can help you manage this new stage in your lives.