If your loved one has been diagnosed with dementia, living at home may be possible in the early stages. But as a progressive disease, the care needs can eventually exceed what is possible to provide at home.
As the symptoms can change gradually, it can be difficult for the family to know when memory care may be the right choice.
What is memory care?
A memory care community provides care and support for those living with dementia and include residences and common areas designed to ensure a welcoming and safe environment.
Therapy programs, activities and amenities tailored to the needs of the individual are also offered. The staff are specially trained to care for those who are living with dementia and understand that quality of life is still important.
The stages of dementia
Each individual can react differently, but the following are general stages that typically occur and might help your family recognize when memory care may be right:
- No impairment: this can occur in the very early stages of dementia where no symptoms are being shown.
- Very mild decline: there may be slight changes in behavior but the individual is still able to be independent.
- Mild decline: Changes in thinking and reasoning begin to be noticeable. There may be difficulty in making plans or remembering recent events.
- Moderate decline: Increased problems with planning or memory will occur. Traveling and handling money can become more of a challenge.
- Moderately severe decline: Familiar names and numbers may not be remembered. Assistance will be needed with basic daily functions.
- Severe decline: May forget the name of spouse and will need help eating. There may be noticeable changes in personality and emotions.
- Very severe decline: The person will no longer be able to speak or communicate their thoughts, or walk, and will spend most of their time in bed.
When is memory care right?
Being prepared ahead of time can help you create a course of action for your loved one and assist in making the best decision of when memory care may be right.
Educating yourself and also talking with family and friends who may be noticing changes can help you decide.
Signs when memory care may be the right choice
These signs may indicate that it is time for your loved one to move into a memory care community:
- Changes in behavior
As the disease progresses, you may notice increased anxiety or frustration. Your loved one may become more easily agitated and may take this out on others, although it is not intentional. It’s important that both the individual with dementia and the caregiver remain safe.
- Living in an unsafe environment
If your loved one is living at home alone, they may forget to turn off a burner on the stove, may become prone to falling and injuring themselves or might begin wandering and not be able to remember how to get back home.
- Overall health decline
Dementia affects more than just memory loss. Sleep becomes difficult as well as remaining stable and walking steadily. Individuals may have trouble with grooming or hygiene. Injuries can become more common and they may not remember how to get help if it’s needed.
- Shrinking social life
Becoming self-conscious about what they may do or say can lead some with dementia to avoid social situations. The lack of interaction is detrimental to their health but there may also not be many opportunities to safely and comfortably connect with others while living at home.
- No longer eating healthy
A nutritious diet is also important for those living with dementia but eventually, it can become more difficult to eat. Communities are knowledgeable about how to prepare and present food to be appealing, as well as providing finger foods or utensils to support the individual’s independence.
- The caregiver’s health is declining
Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia can lead to stress and an inability for caregivers to take care of themselves, often resulting in their own health deteriorating.
Families should pay attention to the physical and emotional condition of the caregiver and ensure that respite is provided. If the time comes when it is apparent that the caregiver is no longer able to manage this high level of responsibility, memory care may be the right choice.
- Your instincts are telling you it’s time
Sometimes the most accurate sign that it’s time for memory care comes from the instinct of the primary caregiver or family members. Even if the changes can’t always be articulated, those who have spent a lot of time with the individual will be aware that there has been a shift in behavior.
Ingleside’s Senior Living
If you’re considering whether a senior living community could be the perfect support for your parents to live a safe and high quality of life, we hope you will 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.