According to the World Health Organization, there are approximately 10 million new diagnoses of dementia annually. This is a staggering statistic, but nothing is quite as overwhelming as when your loved one becomes one of those 10 million. When your loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia, you suddenly find yourself making many decisions about their current and future care.
Many seniors living with dementia can live at home successfully during the early stages of the disease as long as they have support and resources from helpful family members and neighbors. Unfortunately, due to the progressive nature of dementia, living at home alone or with a partner is not sustainable for the long term.
Here are a few warning signs that it could be time to move into an assisted living community, specifically to enjoy the benefits of memory care interventions.
Warning Signs That It Could Be Time to Move
All seniors are unique, and dementia progresses differently for everyone. However, there are some warning signs that could indicate that a move to senior living would be the safest and healthiest decision:
- Recent and frequent falls in the past few months
- Wandering outside of the home and becoming lost
- Increased confusion in general
- Increasingly impaired judgment (wearing seasonally inappropriate clothing, making mistakes while cooking or baking)
- Inability to manage personal hygiene tasks consistently
- Medication mistakes (taking too much or not enough, or not keeping up with their prescribed schedule)
- Increased anxiety, depression, or paranoia
- Inability to safely make meals, including safely storing leftovers
- Resistance to inviting home health workers or other caregivers into the home
- Inability to manage daily household tasks
The Right Next Steps
When you begin to notice warning signs in your loved one, it is time to begin researching assisted living communities that feature a specialized memory care neighborhood. Seniors living with dementia can find peace and calm in these exceptional neighborhoods, thanks to a specially trained staff who know the ins and outs of the disease’s process. Dementia-specific interventions, coupled with an environment built for residents to succeed, can be the perfect way for your loved one to be safe and well cared for.
Ideally, you should move your loved one to a memory care neighborhood before a safety or health crisis warrants it. When you are able to plan for the move and rally your family members to help, it can make the process less traumatic for your loved one (and for everyone involved).
Starting the Conversation
If your loved one is diagnosed with dementia in the early stages of the disease, you can — and should — make them a part of decision-making and planning for the future. Together, you can make major decisions including financial and healthcare plans. You will also be able to find out more about what your loved one wants for the future, which will help you to make better decisions on their behalf when needed.
Finding a Memory Care Community
Finally, whenever possible, include your loved one in the process of finding a memory care community. While investigating your options, you should make observations that could indicate exceptional care, such as:
- A dining program that encourages choice as well as adaptations when needed
- An engaging and fun activity calendar that features programs throughout the day
- Staff who are specially trained in memory care techniques
- Meaningful relationships between staff and residents
- A safe environment and a calm atmosphere
- Family support groups and other resources
- Events that encourage family members to get involved
To see exceptional memory care in action, contact your local Arbor Company community today. Our communities are dedicated to dementia education for all staff members, and we use innovative programming to keep our residents safe, happy, healthy, and engaged.
Learn more about assisted living in our free download, The Complete Guide to Assisted Living. You’ll discover assisted living options, costs, and how to make the transition as smooth as possible.