It’s easy for loved ones to identify when elderly family members require medical assistance. Car accidents, other forms of medical trauma, and terminal illness diagnoses often inspire the decision to help these loved ones move into residential facilities where they can get the help they need. Unfortunately, age-related diseases that cause cognitive decline rarely present such straightforward impacts.
It can be very difficult to determine when an older family member struggling with dementia is no longer safe to live at home. The problem is, research shows that elderly dementia patients who receive dedicated memory care have better mental, physical, and emotional outcomes. There’s no way to make the decision to move a loved one to a dedicated memory wing at an assisted living facility pain-free, but family members can read on to find out about the most common signs it’s time to take the step to clarify their options or validate their choices.
Dementia often causes severe disorientation or confusion, which can place patients in dangerous positions. They may wander away from home and forget the way back, or attempt to drive despite having lost a license and may cause an accident. If these kinds of incidents are already occurring, it’s definitely time to look into memory care living.
Ideally, caregivers should look for earlier signs of confusion and disorientation to identify a need for increased supervision before their loved ones place themselves in dangerous situations. Look out for conversational and behavioral queues, such as forgetting to eat, moving more slowly, or losing track of conversations, and don’t ignore them. It’s difficult to have conversations about a loved one’s faltering neurological health, but it’s also essential to his or her health and safety.
Older adults, especially those with dementia, often need help accomplishing basic daily tasks like maintaining personal hygiene. For those who live alone, bathing, brushing hair and teeth, doing laundry, and accomplishing other simple tasks can become impossibly difficult. If family members notice a decline in personal hygiene marked by body odor, unkempt hair, or unwashed clothing when they visit loved ones, they should take it as a sign that it may be time to discuss additional services or different living arrangements.
It’s common for family members to provide caregiving services to loved ones with dementia. While the help provided by live-in family caregivers can help elderly dementia patients maintain their independence at home for longer, it can take a serious toll on everyone involved. Caregivers often allow their own physical health and emotional wellbeing to suffer, leading to burnout. Attempting to provide ongoing assistance to a dementia patient in the midst of a physical or emotional health crisis creates an unsafe situation for both the patient and his or her loving family. It may be better to look into placing the person in a memory unit, either temporarily or permanently.
Dementia and other degenerative neurological conditions make it more difficult to socialize. Patients often feel isolated and lonely, increasing their chances of becoming depressed. Moving to a memory unit will give lonely dementia patients access to a community of residents and staff who will ensure that they’ll have opportunities to socialize.
Dementia patients often experience declines in their physical health as a result of cognitive and behavioral changes. They may forget to take medications as intended or lose the ability to go shopping and cook food at home, leading to weight loss. It’s always best to schedule a doctor’s appointment to identify the cause of a loved one’s declining physical health. If the doctor determines that the declines are a result of decreased cognitive capacity, the patient may benefit substantially from the additional assistance provided at a memory unit.
Spouses often assume the responsibility for providing dementia patients with assistance around the home. When a patient’s husband or wife passes away, becomes physically incapacitated, or begins to experience cognitive decline, it can leave him or her without access to help with daily activities while simultaneously creating an additional emotional burden. Sometimes, other family members move in to help, but more often than not, the patient will be best served by moving to a specialized facility.
Looking for a long-term memory unit for a loved one in Washington? Look no further than Pioneer Place Memory Haven. This locally-owned residential home prides itself on its Christian values and provides dignified, comfortable living for residents struggling with Alzheimer’s disease and an array of other memory impairments. Browse the website to learn more or call (253) 539-3410 to schedule a tour today.