Watching a loved one go from being independent to needing help with most of their daily tasks can be incredibly challenging. Still, when you love someone, you sometimes have to make difficult decisions that you know are in their best interest. Do you have a loved one in assisted living and are worried it’s no longer the right fit for them? Keep reading to discover when to move from assisted living to memory care.
Navigating the Transition From an Assisted Living Community to Memory Care
The good news is that the transition from an assisted living community to memory care is one that the staff at any facility has been through multiple times. They know how to help their residents transition in the smoothest way possible. All that’s left is for you to know when to move from assisted living to memory care, and the answer largely depends on how much your loved one’s disease has progressed.
Understanding Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease
Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease impact a person’s memory, thoughts and language processing. Often, a person with dementia will struggle with learning, thinking, reasoning and remembering. Over time, dementia can worsen. It’s essential family members keep an eye on their loved ones for signs of dementia worsening so they can determine when the individual needs more support with their day-to-day activities.
Early Stages and Signs of Cognitive Decline
Some of the early signs of cognitive decline in patients with dementia are:
- Difficulty performing regular tasks
- Increased memory loss, especially around information just learned
- Challenges performing essential daily tasks (cooking, self-care, taking prescriptions, etc.)
- Challenges with language (remembering names, places, words)
- Frequent confusion around time and place
- Questionable decision-making
- Frequent misplacement of essential things (keys, phone, wallet)
All these symptoms could appear even in the earliest stages of dementia. But if the condition develops, these signs will present more frequently. At some point, symptoms will be so dramatic that the individual will need more frequent monitoring and assistance.
Memory Impairments and Mental Health Concerns
One of the most important signs that a patient with dementia is deteriorating is when there’s an uptick in personality changes and mental health problems. Dementia can come with symptoms such as:
- Mood swings
- Personality changes
- Loss of initiative and depression
Many of these mental health changes come from confusion and fear. Someone slipping further into dementia doesn’t always understand what’s happening around them, which can lead to anger and sadness. However, if these feelings deepen, they can sometimes present additional challenges for caregivers or assisted living facilities. A patient going through mental health shifts might benefit from more frequent supervision at a memory care center.
The Role of Family Members in the Transition
Family members are crucial when loved ones transition from assisted living communities to memory care.
Maintaining Relationships and Managing Personal Affairs
First, you’ll want to reassure your loved one that their moving into memory care isn’t going to change any of the family relationships. Your loved one will need reassurance of frequent visits and communication so they can feel connected to their family.
Additionally, moving from assisted living will mean someone must take over personal affairs for the patient with dementia. You’ll need to designate a person to handle your loved one’s tax filings, finances and all other paperwork.
Collaborating With Medical Professionals and Staff Members
A successful move from assisted living to memory care goes beyond the relocation. Family members should work closely with the memory care facility’s medical professionals and staff to keep up with their loved one’s condition. You’ll want to know how your loved one is adjusting, if symptoms are worsening and if they need additional support.
Assisted Living Facility Versus Memory Care Services: Making the Right Choice
One way to know when to move from assisted living to memory care is by evaluating the differences. These two programs are quite different, and knowing what each offers is crucial to identifying which aligns more closely with your loved one’s needs.
Daily Living and Personal Care in Assisted Living Communities
Assisted living communities focus on providing residents with a high quality of life through entertainment, socializing and activities.
Recreational Activities and Community Activities
Some of the recreational activities you may find in an assisted living facility are:
- Physical activities, like exercise classes
- Mental stimulation activities, like art classes or book clubs
- Volunteering outings
- Special community and socialization events
- Field trips and excursions
Medication Management and Additional Support
In addition to entertainment, assisted living communities support their residents’ healthcare needs. This includes medication management, access to health care staff and counselors and any other additional support that may be required.
Specialized Care in Memory Care Units
Compared to assisted living, memory care units focus more on helping residents maintain a high quality of life and stay safe while they experience dementia and Alzheimer’s disease symptoms.
Addressing Memory Loss and Cognitive Abilities
Staff at a memory care facility are specifically trained to deal with patients with dementia. All staff will be aware of the status of patients and help them navigate their symptoms. Individuals with more developed dementia symptoms will get the close attention they need to stay safe.
Facilities Specifically Designed for Dementia Care
Memory care facilities are designed to make senior dementia care as easy as possible. This could include things like clearly marked restrooms and signage, healing gardens for relaxation and sensory rooms for stimulation.
Recognizing the Signs of Increased Confusion and Memory Impairment in Seniors
Daily Routine Observations
Watch out for the following warning signs that may indicate it’s time for memory care.
Regularly Misplaced Items and Losing Track of Time
A common warning sign is that your loved one regularly misplaces essential items like keys and wallets. This is a potential sign they can only manage with constant supervision.
Changes in Mobility and More Structure Needed
If your loved one is dealing with mobility issues and dementia symptoms, they likely need full-time support. They can’t function efficiently without guidance anymore.
When to Seek Additional Support
Knowing when to move from a senior living community to memory care can be challenging. But if you’re already wondering if this is the next step for your loved one, they’re likely ready (or almost ready) for this change.
Consulting With Medical Professionals
One way you can get clarity is to seek professional medical advice. Ask the senior living facility staff if it’s time for a change. They engage with your loved one the most often and will have the best insight into when to make the next step.
Cedar Creek is Here for Your Loved One
Contact Cedar Creek today if your loved one is ready for a memory care home. We offer compassionate, qualified care and can happily answer any of your questions. Your loved one will be in good hands with us.