Providing Specialized Care for Your Loved One
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, over half of adults turning 65 will need long-term support services in the future. This is often due to Alzheimer’s or dementia-related cognitive decline.
It can be hard to sift through all the available options when making a decision about long-term care. And if your loved one has dementia, they may need a higher level of care than general assisted living can offer.
That’s where memory care centers come into play. Unlike assisted living, these facilities address the unique needs of those living with dementia.
Here are a few of the signs that memory care may be the best long-term care option for your loved one.
A Dementia Diagnosis
Any diagnosis of dementia should prompt you to at least look into your options for memory care. Not everyone with dementia will need this level of aid. Regardless, it’s important to go over your options sooner rather than later.
Dementia can pose many unfamiliar challenges for caregivers. These include agitation, aggression, and paranoia, among others. No matter what struggles your loved one is facing, the experienced staff at a memory care facility be able to help.
Specialized Health Concerns
As dementia progresses, it often leads to a decline in physical health as well. People struggling with memory loss may forget meals, medication, and basic hygiene. They may also lose track of time, leading to a disruption in their sleep cycle.
Other health conditions often related to late-stage dementia include:
- Depression, anxiety, and mood swings
- Increased risk of injury and falls
- Dehydration and malnutrition
- Aspiration and pneumonia
- UTIs and loss of bladder control
Everyone’s journey with dementia is unique. As such, your loved one may not experience everything on this list. But without proper medical training, caring for any of these conditions by yourself can be difficult.
When choosing a memory care community, make sure to select one that can provide the personalized health care your loved one needs. The facility’s nurses, CNAs, and other caregivers will be able to help with medications and use any necessary medical equipment. They’re trained to recognize the warning signs of dementia-related conditions and can help your loved one stay healthy.
Sensory overload is a common symptom of dementia. As our mental processing declines, sensory inputs like sound and light become overwhelming. For someone with dementia, the sounds of construction, traffic, and radio chatter can lead to agitation and anxiety.
Memory care facilities provide a quiet, soothing environment with just the right amount of sensory input. Their rooms are designed with touches like calm but contrasting colors, no busy patterns, and small amounts of ambient noise. When combined, these minor adjustments can reduce the amount of over-stimulation your loved one goes through.
Wandering or Getting Lost
One of the symptoms of dementia that’s frightening for caregivers is developing a habit of “wandering” outside. Frequent exercise is a great way to promote cognitive health and shouldn’t be discouraged. But when solo walks are combined with memory loss, they can result in your loved one getting lost away from home.
It’s important to understand that while it may seem like these walks are random, they’re often a reaction to an unfavorable environment. Your loved one may leave home because they’re looking for someone, re-living an old routine, or escaping sensory overload. Or, like anyone else, they may have pent up stress or energy that they need to release.
If you’re concerned about your loved one leaving the house when they’re by themselves, it may be time to transition into memory care. Care centers have safe areas for residents to walk in without the danger of getting lost or injured.
Declining Social Life
A decline in social activities is an unfortunate part of life for many seniors. The deaths of friends, inability to leave home, and physical decline can leave elderly adults with feelings of loneliness. Those affected by dementia are at an even higher risk of isolation because of communication difficulties.
A memory care community can replace those lost connections with new chances to socialize and make friends. They provide fun group activities, compassionate caregivers, and plenty of opportunities to socialize. Many assisted living facilities also use therapy pets to provide much-needed animal companionship.
As of 2016, an estimated 34.2 million Americans were responsible for the unpaid care of someone 50 or over. When trying to care for a loved one with dementia on top of their other responsibilities, many find themselves stretched far too thin. Caregiver burnout is nothing to be ashamed of, but addressing it early can prevent exhaustion and feelings of resentment.
As members of the so-called “sandwich generation” often find out, you can’t give 24-hour dementia care while managing a career and family of your own. A memory care center can take away that worry by providing a safe, monitored environment that still allows for independence. As a result, you can remain a part of your loved one’s life without becoming overwhelmed.
Making the Transition to Memory Care
Don’t wait until your loved one’s dementia becomes severe to start touring memory care centers. Starting the process soon after diagnosis allows them to be more involved in decisions about their care. Take time to visit each facility, get to know the care staff, and find a place where your loved one feels at home.
While all major life changes can be hard, remember that entering a memory care center isn’t the end. It’s an opportunity to regain lost independence, make new connections, and enjoy a more carefree lifestyle.
Choosing a Memory Care Facility
While even the best memory care communities can’t cure dementia, they can help your loved one to lead a happy, normal life.
If you’re considering your options for long-term support services, look into The Manors of Citrus assisted living. Our assisted living communities are some of the few in the area with secure memory units. Here, your loved ones can maintain their freedom and independence while receiving the specialized care they need.
Contact us today to schedule a tour at one of our three beautiful Citrus County locations.