Moving a senior loved one into a memory care community is not a decision that can be made lightly. Often it takes careful consideration and conversations amongst family being that it can represent a major lifestyle change. Progressing medical conditions, especially dementia, are a big reason why family members start thinking about making this switch from independent living to assisted living or a secure memory care facility. Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are two common conditions affecting the ability of a senior to live on their own—  according to WebMD, about 5%-8% of adults over age 65 have some form of dementia. This percentage doubles every 5 years after 65. As many as half of people in their 80s have some dementia.

The reality is that most family members aren’t equipped to give their senior loved ones the proper care required when dementia and Alzheimer’s disease get to a certain point, and often it is a crisis that forces the conversation. To avoid some of that stress, it is important to recognize the right time to move them into an assisted living and memory care community so they can take advantage of all the benefits of living in a safe and social community. Memory care neighborhoods, such as the one at Berman Commons offer an open and airy, but secure environment, specialized programs, medical oversight and attention, and more, specifically for individuals with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. You may be thinking, “my loved one isn’t ready to move to a memory care community.” Look out for these 3 major signs that will alert you when your loved one needs memory care: 

Changes in Behavior 

Changes in behavior are common when a senior’s Alzheimer’s disease or dementia has gotten worse. Many times, the person may become more anxious or irritable, which can then lead them to isolate themselves. Depression may also be noticeable in someone suffering from memory loss because they can have trouble remembering a routine that keeps them active, social, and stimulated. Another cause of mood swings or sudden changes in behavior may be a result of unhealthy habits, like medication mismanagement. Many seniors are on a variety of medications for common, age-related concerns, and their health is dependent on taking them daily. Memory care communities help make sure that residents take the correct medications at the correct times, stay hydrated, well nourished and engaged both mentally and physically.

Most importantly, if your loved one is wandering or has forgotten how to get home, it is a red flag that they are at risk of hurting themselves or others and need the protection a secure community can provide.

Neglecting Personal and Home Hygiene

You may also notice that the senior who previously kept their home clean and organized has suddenly become messy and cluttered— which can be a result of both memory loss and depression. There are a lot of responsibilities that come with independent living, and as we see our loved ones age, it’s likely that those tasks become more difficult to manage or are forgotten about altogether, including paying bills. In addition to neglecting household responsibilities, you may also notice that a senior suffering from memory loss has stopped caring for their hygiene. Hygienic tasks like showering regularly, brushing their teeth, changing clothes each day and cleaning themselves properly after the bathroom are often done less frequently and could ultimately cause a threat to their health. Try to make it a point to check in on the state of their living quarters, and observe their hygiene routine. If neglected, you will know it’s time to start having conversations about moving into a memory care community. 

An Overwhelmed Caregiver 

Caring for a senior who suffers from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease is a challenging task, no matter if it’s a family member or an in-home medical professional. Senior adults experiencing memory loss can often be disorientated, and at times may lash out at their caregiver. Additionally it is emotionally challenging when a loved one forgets your name or that you are even related. When the responsibility of caring for a senior becomes more of a burden, it can start to affect both the senior and the caregiver. This can be another major sign that it’s time to seek help and the services of an assisted living, memory care community where trained professionals can provide patience and give each resident personalized care. 

Memory Care Can Help

As you notice changes in a senior’s personality, cleanliness, and personal hygiene, or start to feel like you or your caregiver can no longer provide the proper level of care, it is time to start having the conversation of transitioning to assisted living. In particular, memory care organizations may be the best course of action to provide a higher level of supervision and specific design features tailored to individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. As difficult as memory loss may be for the affected senior and family, the best thing to do is to start researching your local network of services to help determine what setting is most comfortable and appropriate for you or your loved one. 

Jewish Home Life offers a variety of senior care options with around-the-clock skilled nursing assistance catering to those affected by memory loss and more. For additional information, please call 404-351-8410.