Memory loss can be frustrating and heartbreaking for everyone involved — the person experiencing it and their family members or caregivers. Deciding when your loved one requires memory care can be a complex and emotional process. But there are ways you can make the process easier by taking some time to learn about what memory loss means, how it progresses, and what steps you can take now, so that your loved one will be able to live comfortably at home until they need more intensive assistance in the future.
Get to know the 10 key signs that indicate it may be time to transition your loved one to a memory care community.
10 Key Signs It’s Time For Memory Care
1. Questions About Your Loved One’s Safety
Memory loss due to aging affects everyone as we get older, but doesn't usually interfere with daily life until later in life when it becomes more severe. Whether your loved one lives with you, alone, or in an assisted living community, if you are constantly worried about their safety, it may be time to transition to a memory care community.
2. Worries About Your Own Safety
Many people experience significant shifts in their personalities as dementia progresses. This can lead to confusion and agitation, resulting in violence or the threat of violence. Memory care communities are familiar with these symptoms and are equipped with the practical knowledge needed to help your loved one work through their emotions.
3. Unexplained Physical Changes
Changes in your loved one's posture, weight, or even mobility can be indicators of their need for more assistance. Memory care communities are able to monitor your loved one's eating habits and overall wellness, which otherwise may be impacted by their memory.
4. Isolation and Loneliness
People with Alzheimer's or dementia often have feelings of isolation and loneliness, which can increase the risk of depression. Luckily, memory care communities have active and engaging calendars with activities that are specifically designed for people living with memory loss.
Alzheimer’s and advanced dementia can result in severe memory loss. It’s important to be aware if your loved one begins to forget other loved ones’ names or addresses, or starts to confuse family members. Another risk of memory loss is your loved one not being able to remember how to reach emergency services in the case of a medical emergency or if they get lost.
6. Concerning Living Conditions
Early dementia can sometimes present itself as hoarding at first. Naturally, your loved one should be caring for their home, but if you find that their mail is piling up or other household messes become uncontrollable and a regular issue, it may be time for specialized care. Within a memory care community, housekeeping and linen services can help your loved one stay clean in their new home.
7. Disorientation and Confusion
Your loved one struggling with feeling shaky or unsteady on their feet may be a sign of the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s. Falling risks increase with this, putting your loved one at risk of unintentionally harming themselves. If your loved one starts to show signs of being disoriented or confused, it’s time to take the next step in their care plan. They will be the safest in a memory care community where 24/7 supervision and medical staff are on standby.
8. Changes in Personal Care
If you notice your loved one has body odor, unkempt hair, or other personal hygiene issues, memory care services may be in order. Forgetting to bathe or something as simple as trimming your nails for a prolonged period of time can be a sign of dementia. In a memory care community, the services that are typically provided include personal care and assistance with activities of daily living to help your loved one stay on schedule for personal upkeep.
Wandering can be extremely dangerous for people with memory loss. Your loved one could walk somewhere and not realize where they are or how to get back home. If they wander during inclement weather, your loved one is at risk of exposure to the elements. Memory care communities are secured and oftentimes have designated, enclosed outdoor spaces to give your loved one freedom to be outside under the supervision of their caregiver.
10. Feelings of Burnout
Caregiving takes both a mental and physical toll on you. With the help of specialized support within a memory care community, your loved one can receive the assistance they need to live comfortably, and you can focus on spending quality time with them, as opposed to taking on all of their care needs.
It’s important to recognize these signs and understand how the specialized support that memory care communities offer can help. Make the best decisions for your loved one’s well-being and future by being as informed as possible.
At Birmingham Green, our Northern Virginia Health Care Commission offers a holistic approach to memory care in Manassas, Virginia, for families and seniors seeking memory support for Alzheimer’s and dementia care. Backed by our 90-year history of excellence, we offer person-centered care that’s customized to each resident’s specific memory impairments and combine high-quality health care with engaging programs. If you’re interested in learning more about Birmingham Green’s senior living services and life on our campus in Manassas, contact our team or call us at (703) 257-0935 today.