Whether your loved one has Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or is just starting to show signs of memory loss, knowing when it’s time for memory care is never an easy choice. However, there are early signs you can look out for to make the optimal and most timely decision on transitioning your loved one to a memory care program. Here at The Gardens at West Shore, we help families transition to memory care when ready. Below are some common early signs for you to consider:
#1 Unsafe and Unsound
One of the most common concerns family members have about a loved one living with Alzheimer’s is for their physical safety. Individuals living with the condition are at high risk for falls, wandering away from home, and a range of other dangerous scenarios. Whether it be in the kitchen, bathroom or outdoors, these risks can keep loved ones worried and up at night. The question of “When is it time to put my loved one into a memory care facility?” requires serious consideration to their overall safety. If you, as a caregiver, find yourself worrying about a loved one’s well-being on a regular basis, the transition to memory care can provide peace of mind while ensuring your loved one is supported and cared for around the clock.
#2 Personal Care & Hygiene
The effects of Alzheimer’s and dementia often lead to nutrition problems for those with the condition. As the disease progresses, it may cause inconsistent eating patterns—the skipping of meals, forgetting to eat and drink, difficulty chewing and swallowing, and even an inability to recognize food. All of these contribute to weight loss, malnutrition and dehydration.
Another significant concern is medication management. In a memory care facility, all medications are carefully regulated. Medications are administered on strict schedules and nursing staff look for any indications that a resident’s regimen should warrant a change.
In addition, many individuals with Alzheimer’s or dementia reach a point where they begin failing to take proper care of themselves. You may notice your loved one is no longer bathing or shaving. These are indicators that your loved one may require assistance from a skilled nursing staff, one that a memory care program can provide.
#3 Isolation: A Shrinking World
One of the early signs an individual living with Alzheimer’s or dementia displays is withdrawal. Your loved one may display unpredictable behaviors that make it difficult for them to go out into public settings to eat, shop, or relax with friends and family. This scenario can lead to depression or feelings of anxiety and may even cause a loved one to become increasingly agitated and disruptive. A memory care program can be a solution in these situations as it enables your loved one to reconnect with others in a safe and conducive environment.
#4 Money Matters: Financial Security
Perhaps you’ve noticed your loved one suddenly seems oblivious to expenses or they’ve found themselves without money in their wallet on numerous occasions – something may be wrong. Another sign is in the mail. Piles of undeposited checks or unopened documents from Social Security and insurance companies, can be a sign that they are no longer able to go reach the bank, make deposits or even have the capacity to manage their own finances. Another concern is a loved one’s vulnerability to scam artists, as they often target the elderly and those with Alzheimer’s or dementia are especially vulnerable. When a loved one is in an environment with constant supervision, these risks are diminished significantly.
#5 The Burnout Factor
As mentioned earlier, the decision to put a loved one into memory care is never an easy one. That said, for most individuals there comes a time when it is important to do so for their own safety and well-being. It’s important to keep in mind that “caregiver burnout” is a real problem – the challenges of caring for a person living with Alzheimer’s can overwhelm even the most committed and sincere among us. Should you decide to transition to a memory care program, do not feel as if you’ve failed your loved one in any way. While you may, indeed, not be your loved one’s primary caregiver, you are, however, making it possible for them to receive the care, security and emotional support they need.
At The Gardens at West Shore, we understand how difficult it may be to transition a loved one to a memory care program. That is why we work with both residents and their families in navigating this next phase of life. Do you have questions about whether The Gardens at West Shore’s memory care program is the right choice for your family? Don’t hesitate to reach out. Our trained professionals are happy to assist.
About The Gardens at West Shore
The Gardens at West Shore is a nursing home located in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, adjacent to Geisinger Holy Spirit Hospital. The center offers short-term rehabilitation, long-term care, and a secure memory care unit providing Dementia/Alzheimer’s care.