As our loved one’s age, we may notice their physical abilities begin to decline somewhat and it can be concerning to see a loved one’s cognitive ability diminish. Learning about the options and resources that are available is important when considering your loved one’s needs, now and in the future.
We often think of Alzheimer’s disease in relation to declining cognitive ability and while it’s a prevalent reason for cognitive decline, there are many like forms of dementia that can affect a person’s ability to function independently. Whatever the potential diagnosis related to the need for memory care assistance, learning the signs and symptoms of cognitive decline is helpful.
Some Signs of Dementia
The initial signs of progressive dementia are often very small and can be easily excused as fatigue or simple forgetfulness; we’ve all had days where we have trouble remembering something or concentrating on our work. Initially, it might seem like your loved one is just having an off day but eventually, you and your loved one may both notice more of a pattern to their behaviors and that additional assistance is becoming necessary.
You might notice behavioral changes, an increase in irritability, anxiety, or confusion that is out of the norm. Your loved one’s thought processes may begin to change as well, they may have difficulty with the crossword puzzles that they’ve always enjoyed; their house may become increasingly disorganized, you may notice changes in their personal hygiene, and/or they may become lost in familiar surroundings, not knowing the way home or to the store.
Finally, your loved one may present with memory difficulties. They may have short-term memory loss, evidenced by repeating the same information or conversation and often forgetting new information. They may ask you the same questions multiple times, not remembering that they’ve asked you before. Your loved one may have trouble recalling if they’ve taken their medications or whether they’ve had breakfast.
If you begin to recognize any of these signs it may be time for a visit to the doctor. With some testing, you may receive a formal diagnosis or merely some guidance regarding what to look for, either way, involving a medical professional will help you and your loved one become educated regarding best practices and care options.
Caring for Your Loved One at Home
For many families who are in the early stages of the memory care journey with a loved one, remaining at home is the best option and can be relatively easy with some minor adaptions and considerations. With some education and a little extra attention, your loved one may still be able to live with autonomy and independence for some time.
Be mindful that your loved one may become easily overstimulated in busy or social situations. Keeping an eye out and being prepared to offer them a break or an early exit can allow them to enjoy socializing at their own pace.
Keeping a regular schedule provides a sense of comfort for someone experiencing cognitive decline; staying on schedule with mealtimes and bedtime will help them participate with a sense of ease and familiarity. In addition, assisting your loved one in keeping up with family traditions is often great bonding time for everyone. For example, if they are famous for a particular recipe, offer some assistance as needed to allow them to continue providing that signature contribution.
Considering a Professional Memory Care Community
The progression of symptoms related to dementia can make it increasingly difficult for family members to continue care at home. Initially, you may investigate adult daycare services in your area, in these licensed settings, your loved one will be in a safe, caring, and stimulating environment that enables you to navigate your day independently.
Some professional healthcare communities offer short-term care, often referred to as respite care stays. Your loved one can live in a safe environment with trained memory care staff for a weekend or a short term if you need time away due to another commitment. This is also a great option if you are considering moving your loved one to a memory care community permanently, this option allows both you and your loved one to “test drive” what that change may be like.
Eventually, you may need to consider a permanent move for your loved one to a memory care community. Become educated with the best options in your area by touring communities and interviewing their staff. You will want to compare care options and weigh the financial costs associated with professional care.
At ASC, we’ve created a Memory Care program specializing in the unique needs of residents going through memory loss. We utilize a person-centered, wellness-based model of care that incorporates stimulating daily activities to sustain independence and promote a healthy spirit. Our structured, research-based program is a self-contained center within our care community. We focus on maintaining a secure and supportive home environment where residents have a sense of belonging and meaning every day.
If it’s time to talk about memory care, ASC is here to talk with you. As experts in senior healthcare, we have developed our memory care program to serve our residents and their families with quality care and excellence. Begin by visiting us online at ASCCare.com/MC today.