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When something extraordinarily bad occurs, such as a serious car accident or a diagnosis of a terminal illness, our first instinct is to spring into action and make plans.
But when we are talking about memory care assisted living, the immediate impact of age-related cognitive decline is less obvious. In fact, the symptoms and signs of dementia and Alzheimer's tend to appear slowly over time, which makes it harder to predict when memory care assisted living will really be needed.
And there are also other effects to consider that build up over time—things like the emotional and psychological impacts of dementia on the spouse and family members. Denial can also play a part in making it difficult to plan properly for memory care assisted living. For example, a common misconception is that caregiving can't be all that hard. Emotions can also get the better of people when discussing this topic, which can muddy the waters even more.
Several studies indicate that the sooner a person with dementia or Alzheimer's is moved into a memory care community, the better outcomes they'll have – emotionally and physically.
Here are the five key signs that you should watch out for if considering memory care assisted living.
We all forget things once in a while, and this happens more frequently as we get older. But, if it happens all the time – routinely – then that could be a cause for concern. For example, routinely forgetting names, how to get to familiar places, paying bills, forgetting important dates – isn't normal. These are the early signs of dementia, and as soon as you notice them, you should get them to schedule an appointment with their physician.
After the diagnosis is made, you should bring up memory care assisted living in the conversation. Of course, most of us desire to live in our homes for as long as possible. And this is ok in the early stages of dementia, as long as their safety isn't being put at risk.
Meanwhile, it's a good time to start visiting, touring, and checking out licensed and reputable memory care communities nearby. You'll glean a lot of valuable information that will help out a lot later. As mentioned earlier, studies have shown that it's a good idea to move individuals into memory care before it's too late, before worse symptoms of Alzheimer's or dementia can develop.
If you are the primary caregiver for your loved one with dementia or Alzheimer's, then you know it's a 24/7 job. If you aren't a caregiver, or if you are new to it, then you should know that caregiving without regular respite care will eventually become unsustainable. Even if there are in-home care providers, a person with mid to late-stage dementia or Alzheimer's will need an increasing amount of medical assistance. The nearly limitless amount of household tasks at this point becomes more than what most households are able to bear.
If you're getting close to, or have already gotten to your limit, then the time has come to think about memory care assisted living.
Unfortunately, memory loss has all sorts of other side effects that lower quality of life. For example, driving a car, making a grocery list, preparing a meal, remembering to take medicines each day, or even remembering to eat can all be negatively impacted by memory loss.
Also, losing track of days and hours can have a horrible impact on your circadian rhythm. For seniors with dementia, this can result in insomnia, Sundowner's syndrome, and sleeping disorders. All of these can greatly harm your health and wellness.
There are also physical indicators of memory loss:
Not being able to remember the way home or where they planned to go can put them at great risk of getting injured, lost, getting scammed, or becoming the victim of a crime.
The home isn't necessarily a safe haven for a person with dementia, either. People with Alzheimer's or dementia are more likely to suffer injuries in the home and are also less likely to call for help, either through 911 or by pressing a "life alert" button.
If you are experiencing constant worry for your loved one's situation, transitioning them into memory care should be considered. It will bring you peace of mind knowing that they are continuously being supported and attended to day-in and day-out.
A person with Alzheimer's or dementia tends to experience a worsening social life, making their condition worse. One of the benefits of memory care assisted living include having a lower caregiver-to-resident ratio. This means that there will be a higher number of caregivers for residents than In independent living communities. There is also access to on-site medical care.
At a memory care community, residents can lead rich and vibrant social lives. There are daily activities available, outlets for many creative passions, and supervised excursions. Much research and wisdom are behind memory care assisted living centers. If you'd like to learn more about the different options in your area, check out our senior living directory.
In your heart of hearts, if you really feel that it's time to move your loved one into memory care, then it's definitely time. Give these feelings the respect they deserve and book a consultation with a memory care assisted living center near you. Following that, your intuition will guide the way.
If there's one thing that we'd like you to take away from this post, it's this: be proactive about memory care before the person in your life really needs it. You don't want to find yourself in the unfortunately common situation of your family member or spouse hitting rock bottom before any action is taken. Malnutrition, accidents, injuries, and worsening quality of life are just some of the possible consequences that can be avoided if people are proactive.
Don't wait until your loved one gets worse or until you or your family members cannot keep a handle on things anymore. Instead, be aware of the symptoms and signs of cognitive decline, and pay attention to your loved one's physical and mental well-being. Start looking into memory care assisted living options today.
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