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When Is It Time for Memory Care?

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Watching a loved one experience memory loss can be very challenging. There are obstacles for any senior in cognitive decline and also for the family and network supporting them. When cognitive conditions grow worse, a memory care unit may be the best solution for their health.  

When to explore memory care for a senior is an important question. It’s never an easy choice to transition a family member into an assisted living community, but the benefits are worth exploring. Memory care is a heightened level of support for those with dementia and memory loss.

All American Assisted Living at Londonderry provides residents who experience memory loss a safe, comfortable community to participate in. Several indicators will help you realize the time is right. Schedule a tour of our community to help understand when professional memory care is the right decision for a senior you love.

Understanding Professional Memory Care

Memory care units are special living spaces within assisted living communities that focus on helping people with degenerative cognitive conditions. These living areas provide seniors with Alzheimer’s (and other diseases negatively impacting memory) a lifestyle that helps manage their disadvantages.

The residents in our memory care units can expect to receive all the help and guidance they need for completing a daily routine and engaging with their community. But they are also offered a level of independence. Regardless of the degree of a resident’s cognitive decline, they are always treated with compassion, integrity, and respect.

Benefits of Memory Care Units

The added support of memory care goes beyond a traditional assisted living community and is catered to residents with memory loss challenges. The benefits of full-time memory care include:

  • Specially Trained Staff: professionals who care for memory loss residents are educated in dementia care training.
  • Coordinated Daily Routines: specially planned activities and consistent daily schedules help reduce stress for those suffering from cognitive limitations.
  • Regulated Nutritious Diet: healthcare professionals make sure that memory care residents are eating healthy every day and engaging in social meal settings.
  • Medication Assistance: making sure that seniors are taking their necessary medications on a prescribed schedule.
  • Enhanced Security: memory care units are safe for people with Alzheimer’s and prevent residents from getting lost or wandering into danger outside the community.
  • 24/7 Medical Response Team: licensed nurses and a support network to ensure that memory care residents’ physical safety is always a priority.

Acknowledging Cognitive Diseases

Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia are affecting a significant amount of the senior population. More than 6 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s and the numbers are rising. A person with memory loss issues may become very frustrated as their capabilities regress. These cognitive changes can make normal daily activities very challenging.

Symptoms of Dementia 

Alzheimer’s and all forms of dementia negatively affect cognitive function. This alters reasoning, memory, and behaviors. Some slowed thinking is natural as we age, but substantial changes in cognitive ability may be signs of more serious memory loss. 

If a senior you love is displaying the following symptoms, it’s the right time to start considering professional assisted memory care:

  • Difficulty remembering new information
  • Forgetting long-term memories
  • Disorientation and confusion about events, time, and place
  • Sudden mood and behavior changes
  • Irrational suspicions about family, friends, and caregivers
  • Difficulty speaking, swallowing, and walking
A nurse working on a puzzle with a pair of memory care patients.

Recognize the Need for Full-Time Care

Memory loss has yet to be prevented or cured. But the right lifestyle conditions can diminish the impact that dementia has on older people. Memory care units in an assisted living community strive to provide ideal conditions for a person suffering from memory loss.

All American Assisted Living at Londonderry helps families cope with serious memory loss in 2 ways. First, by offering a lifestyle to seniors that balances their ongoing needs with a sense of independence. Secondly, by absorbing the responsibilities that family and friends have been tasked with. 

Your parent, grandparent, or other senior in your life may be slowing down in their mental capacity. Some behaviors and challenges are indicators that the assisted living conversation needs to happen sooner than later.

Can They Perform Normal Daily Duties?

The Index of Independence of Activities for Daily Living (ALDs) is a set of essential activities that can be used to gauge an older person’s ability to live unassisted. These basic adult behavioral functions include:

  • Feeding: eating regularly
  • Dressing: selecting reasonable clothing and dressing yourself
  • Personal Hygiene: bathing and grooming regularly
  • Continence: controlling bladder and bowel functions
  • Toileting: using a toilet normally and cleaning yourself afterward
  • Ambulating: getting out of bed and being able to move around

When a senior cannot perform these tasks alone, it means that memory care discussions are a good idea. Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IALDs) are normal weekly actions that require some cognitive ability. An inability of a senior to complete IALDs could be the first sign that rapid memory loss is occurring. Consider whether a senior in your life has the ability to:

  • Communicate effectively using the telephone, email, and messaging apps
  • Drive themselves safely or arrange for alternative transport to and from home
  • Shop for groceries and safely make themselves a meal 
  • Maintain a reasonably tidy home and clean up messes 
  • Take prescribed medications on time and responsibly
  • Manage their finances effectively and keep up with monthly payments 

Do They Require 24/7 Monitoring? 

When memory loss begins to accelerate, a senior will require more assistance throughout the day. Does a senior in your life need assistance 24 hours or for most of their day? If the answer is yes, memory care in an assisted living community may be the preferred lifestyle for both of you.

People with cognitive difficulties may require supervision to prevent them from wandering. About 60% of people with Alzheimer’s wander about without knowing where or why. This can be very dangerous for a senior, but most families do not have the means to supervise a family member 24 hours a day. Memory care units have the staff and the facilities to manage wandering seniors and allow them freedom without sacrificing their safety.

Assistance may also be necessary for incontinence issues and difficulties using a toilet properly. When a loved one requires near-24 hour supervision, the memory care program at All American Assisted Living at Londonderry offers a peaceful, comfortable lifestyle.   

Can They Communicate Wants & Needs?

Seniors who cannot effectively communicate with family and caregivers should be considered eligible for memory care. Assisted living memory caregivers are trained in interacting with residents who experience severe memory loss. And full-time support staff can build routines and schedules that may not be possible for a family member with other demands.

Are basic requests like what the person wants or needs difficult to understand? Does a senior in your life have trouble remembering their question before finishing a sentence? These are signs that memory care can be a beneficial transition. This is a very appropriate time to tour our memory care units and take the first steps towards a more comfortable lifestyle for your loved ones.

Managing Memory Loss Together

Professional memory care in an assisted living seniors’ community is an ideal solution for many families managing cognitive decline. Deciding when to explore this option should depend on the behaviors and lifestyle of the beloved elder in question.

When normal daily activities are nearly impossible independently, and full-time supervision is necessary, a memory care community may be the right choice for a senior and their family. You can schedule a tour of our entire assisted living community or contact our support team for more information about the next steps for healthy senior living.

Written by kaplan

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