Becoming more forgetful…
Taking a walk and not remembering how to get back home…
No longer able to remain living safely alone…
The health of the caregiving spouse is declining…
A family whose loved one is living with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia may be familiar with these changing behaviors.
And when that occurs, it’s important to recognize that things will not improve on their own.
Memory impairment diseases are progressive so the behaviors and needs will increase. It’s not uncommon for families to discover that they can no longer provide the level of care needed.
Having the talk about memory care
If this is happening in your family, it may be time to have the conversation about memory care.
Here are a few suggestions that can help navigate this discussion and make sure your loved one has everything needed to live a higher quality of life.
Tips for families when having the talk about memory care
- If possible, include everyone at the table
Make sure everyone feels included, especially your parent or loved one, if possible. If your parents would be more comfortable talking one-on-one, designate a sibling to take the lead.
Make sure people know ahead of time that the family will be talking about memory care and try to find a day, time and location that’s convenient. For those who can’t join in person, schedule a video call so they are part of the conversation.
- Agree on the ground rules
It can be helpful to agree on some parameters of the conversation. Encourage everyone to voice their opinion, be respectful and good listeners.
Acknowledge this can be a difficult discussion but one that is needed. Depending on the situation, there may be more than one conversation. The first one is to begin getting everyone on the same page.
It might be helpful to talk about the priorities, such as keeping your parents safe, or if they’re struggling to eat healthy or are beginning to wander.
- Come prepared and educated
If you’re the one who is in charge of arranging the discussion, it can be very helpful to do your homework first. Ask everyone to learn as much as they can about the disease, common behaviors and possible care options.
Help your family understand the progressive nature of Alzheimer’s or dementia. Include examples of typical behaviors or challenges that may arise in the future. If another parent or family member is the current primary caregiver, make sure to consider their point of view when having the talk about memory care.
- Try to diffuse the emotion
These conversations can be very uncomfortable for some and it’s more helpful to acknowledge that than pretend that it isn’t.
One sibling may struggle to see their mom or dad leave the family home, while another might refuse to admit that there really is a problem – at least not yet. Another child may have formed an alliance with a parent to be on their side.
Prepare ahead of time and think of ways to diffuse heightened emotions.
- Encourage everyone to talk and express themselves
Conversations should be open to expressions of concern, fears and hopes. Make sure the others don’t feel that a decision has already been made and that their feelings won’t be acknowledged.
Steer the conversation toward considering all the options and how they might work. However, it’s key that a workable solution be found. Just hoping that things will get better can leave a parent in a dangerous situation.
- Have a backup plan if having the talk about memory care doesn’t go well
Be optimistic and positive as much as you can but know that many families find the first conversations difficult. People may initially have strong and different opinions with what seems like little room for movement or compromise.
If this happens to you, try to end the conversation on a positive note and ask for agreement that everyone will take a break and then get together again. For those who have specific concerns, encourage them to research what they would consider a good solution.
- Plan for the next step
Success is much more likely if you end the conversation with a plan for the next step. It might be to find common ground, research more options or to visit a memory care community together.
If your parent is currently safe and there is time, it’s OK to agree to revisit the issue in six months or before their needs escalate or there’s a change in health.
Ingleside’s Senior Living
If you’re considering whether a senior living community could be the perfect support for you or your parents to live the highest quality of life, we hope you found these decorating tips helpful.
We also invite you to visit one of our Ingleside communities. We believe it’s even easier to enjoy life with the benefits that we offer, including:
- Maintenance-free lifestyle
- Chef-prepared meals in our elegant dining rooms or casual cafés
- Fully equipped fitness centers
- Heated indoor swimming pools
- Art studios
- Beautiful walking trails
For information on Ingleside’s Westminster at Lake Ridge senior living community located in Lake Ridge, Virginia, please call (703) 420-7105 with questions or to schedule a personalized tour today.
For information on Ingleside at King Farm senior living community located in Rockville, Maryland, please call (240) 414-8557 with questions or to schedule a personalized tour today.
For information on Ingleside at Rock Creek senior living community located in Washington, DC, please call (202) 846-2651 with questions or to schedule a personalized tour today.