Sarah Benbow, Executive Director of Communications | Aug 23, 2022
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that one in nine adults age 45 and older experience confusion or memory loss.
Early stages of memory loss or dementia may not initially affect a person’s ability to live independently and take care of themselves. But cognitive decline is inevitable for individuals with progressive dementia — meaning you may face a time when you need to make decisions about your loved one’s long-term wellbeing and safety.
If you have a loved one suffering from dementia, here are six signs that it might be time for you to consider moving them to a memory care community to improve their quality of life and keep them safe.
Memory care is long-term care that is focused on individuals with progressive-degenerative dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease. Oftentimes, these residents require a higher level of care support than assisted living can provide. Individuals and their families often decide to make the move to memory care once advanced dementia makes it unsafe for a person to remain in their home.
While they still offer 24/7 skilled nursing care, memory care communities largely differ from nursing homes because they provide a more structured environment for residents who are in danger of becoming disoriented and wandering. Memory care facilities also offer programs that are built around the unique cognitive needs of someone living with dementia. Through memory care, residents can experience art, food, music, aromatherapy, and other mediums that contribute to a healthy life in an environment that keeps them safe, fulfills their interests, and encourages them to learn new things.
Deciding it’s time to move a loved one to a community that offers memory care is never an easy decision. However, there are some signs that can signal that it might be time to make the transition. Keep a lookout for the following signs in your loved one.
Keep an eye out for dramatic changes in your loved one’s behavior. This could be anything from fear of driving or declining social invitations to increased irritability or changes in personal hygiene. These behavior changes could indicate that your loved one’s dementia is advancing.
Individuals with progressive dementia conditions often experience disorientation or confusion. This makes it easy to forget important life skills, including the rules of the road while driving, or even forgetting to turn off the stove after cooking. When these conditions begin to affect the individual’s overall safety, it’s time to intervene. Memory care provides an environment that will keep your loved one safe while allowing them to maintain as much independence as possible.
Caring for a loved one who requires a high level of care, such as individuals with dementia, can be overwhelming — and it can quickly lead to caregiver burnout. Without having regular respite care, these situations quickly become unsustainable. If you are approaching or have already reached the point where you feel weighed down by the demands of being a caregiver, memory care may be the best option for both you and your loved one.
Dementia can make interacting with family, friends, and neighbors increasingly difficult, often negatively impacting a person’s social life. The loneliness experienced from this social isolation can cause an even faster decline in your loved one’s mental and physical condition. In a memory care community, your loved one can experience daily organized activities, creative outlets, and supervised excursions to keep social isolation at bay.
Changes in your loved one's physical wellness may be the most straightforward sign that memory care might be needed. Watch for:
Not only do these signs indicate that your loved one’s quality of life is decreasing, but they also mean that their likelihood of getting hurt at home is increased. Plus, their ability to seek help decreases as cognitive skills continue to decline, meaning they may forget how to call 911 or press a life alert button. If you worry about your loved one’s physical well-being regularly, a memory care community can provide a safe living environment with supervision for all of your loved one’s needs.
At the end of the day, no one knows your loved one like you do. That means there isn’t a better judge than you to know when it’s time to look into memory care.
If you have a gut feeling that your loved one has experienced changes that may threaten their physical or mental wellbeing, honor those instincts and consider a consultation with a memory care community.
At Walker Methodist, we believe anyone living with memory loss deserves to live a productive, fulfilling life. Our approach to memory care not only improves residents’ day-to-day life, but it brings safety, structure, and enjoyment back to those who feel lost.
For more information about our Music and Memory program or our overall approach to improving quality of life through memory care, contact a member of our team today or schedule a time to see one of our memory care communities in person.