Perhaps you’ve noticed concerning changes in a loved one’s behavior and you’ve begun considering the need for memory care. Talking with a loved one about potential memory care needs may seem uncomfortable at first but a little advance planning can help to ease your worry. Beginning the memory care conversation early on may lead to an earlier diagnosis and provide a more gradual transition while adjusting to the changes involved with a memory care journey. Below are some tips to help prepare you to discuss memory care options with your loved one.
Begin your conversation as early as possible
It’s important to establish a dialogue early on as you begin seeing signs of possible dementia. Initiating that conversation early, when cognitive function is at it’s highest, allows your loved one to have valuable input regarding their future and also allows them to potentially assist in making decisions about their care.
Acknowledge that the conversation may not go as planned
Your good intentions may not initially be met with willingness to have a memory care discussion. It’s helpful not to force a conversation but to revisit it at a later time. Be aware that there may be gaps in your loved one’s self-awareness and that someone experiencing signs of early dementia may not see the symptoms themselves.
Plan how you might begin your conversation
A conversation starter may look like:
- I’m wondering if you’ve noticed some changes in your behavior that I’ve noticed.
- Would you want to know if I notice any concerning changes in your behavior?
You may find that your loved one is willing to discuss your concerns and examine their memory care options. However, if you encounter resistance, revisiting the conversation again later may help ease them into the idea of memory care. Having multiple conversations may be beneficial in developing your loved one’s engagement. If you encounter repeated resistance, you may want to enlist the help of a medical professional.
Offer your support
Understand that your loved one may be afraid to discuss their changes with a doctor and offer your support and encouragement, you may even offer to accompany them on doctor’s visits if they like. Showing support and encouragement throughout diagnosis and in the days and months that follow is important.
Ensure your loved one’s understanding of the benefits of memory care
Educate yourself in advance and be prepared to speak about various care options available in your community. Adult daycare and short-term “respite” memory care may be feasible alternatives to full-time memory care for consideration. Be clear, concise, and positive while explaining the benefits associated with memory care. Once again, having multiple conversations may help your loved one become familiar with the many ways that they may benefit from memory care.
Welcome dialogue and allow for your loved one’s concerns
Being an active listener and engaging in a respectful conversation will allow your loved one to share concerns, ask questions and be as involved as possible in making decisions regarding their care. They may offer valuable perspective as they become accustomed and educated regarding their memory care options.
Create a plan for next steps
Beginning the memory care conversation and engaging your loved one in the potential options for their care may sound daunting but it’s an important step to help ensure their future health and safety. As experts in memory care, American Senior Communities has reimagined person-centered, life-enhancing care in a way that is engaging, yet safe. We are ready to be a part of your memory care conversation. If it’s time to consider memory care for your loved one, you can do so with confidence at American Senior Communities. Learn more at ASCCare.com/MemoryCare.