5 Signs it Might be Time for Memory Care

How to Know If Your Loved One Needs More than Home Care

Imagine living with dementia but still engaging with others, reminiscing during music therapy or being reassured by a compassionate team when beginning to feel anxious.

These may only be moments, but they truly do matter. While remaining safe and connected, residents in memory support communities receive care from a specially trained staff and participate in programs that can greatly contribute to a higher quality of life.

While it’s often possible to remain at home during the earlier stages of this progressive disease, it’s not uncommon for families to discover the level of care required will eventually exceed what they are able to provide.

How do you know when it might be time to consider a memory support community? It’s a question many caregivers ask. Along with the advice from a trusted physician, there are a few general signs to look for. Here are 5 of them:

5 Signs it Might Be Time for Memory Care

The following situations may indicate it’s time to consider a move from home to a higher level of care, such as a memory support community:

1. Struggling with daily routines  

Medication, diet, and a regular routine are all important to the well-being of an individual living with dementia. Affecting cognitive processing, even simple tasks can become more difficult, such as bathing, grooming, or getting dressed – and will require increasing assistance from the caregiver.

If the individual is unable to fall or remain asleep through the night, this can also be a sign that it might be time for memory care. Sleep disturbances typically ensure the caregiver will also not receive needed rest.

Memory support vs home care: Caregivers can become injured when helping their loved one. But a memory support community provides a trained care team skilled in assisting those with dementia and Alzheimer’s with daily activities. Staff are also practiced in responding, interacting, and encouraging residents to live their best lives.

2. Wandering and other behavioral changes  

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, six in 10 people living with dementia will wander or become lost at least once. Many will do so repeatedly, and it can happen during any stage of the disease.  

You’ll also want to look for behavioral changes that can make it harder for a caregiver to manage, including increased falling, trouble with eating, confusion, anxiety or even aggressiveness.

Memory support vs home care: Communities provide around-the-clock attention and are also designed with secured spaces so residents are safe but can move about freely.  

3. Individual and caregiver isolation

It is crucial to watch for signs of social isolation for both the individual and the caregiver. Loved ones may begin to withdraw from family or friends as their anxiety increases or they’re unable to follow social cues. This can negatively impact their health and wellbeing.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, caregiver burnout is a real danger. As a state of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion, overburdened caregivers will often experience fatigue, anxiety and depression. Without respite care, it may become easier for caregivers to stay at home as the disease progresses.

Memory support vs home care: Memory care communities provide activities and opportunities to socialize. With the weight of responsibility lifted from primary caregivers, they can maintain their own wellbeing while also staying involved with a loved one’s care.

4. Decline in caregiver health and wellbeing

Families should watch for changes in the caregiver’s health, both physically and emotionally when considering whether it’s time for memory care support. The risk is even higher for an elderly spouse or family member who provides the primary care.

It’s not uncommon for caregivers to neglect their own health needs. They may cancel their doctor appointments or decline invitations to socialize. And if relief isn’t available, they may soon need intervention or care themselves.

Memory support vs home care: A community provides reassurance and peace of mind that your loved one is being well cared for. Families can return to their roles of spouses, sons or daughters and enjoy spending time together in activities outside of caregiving.

5. Changes noticed by family and friends

Caregivers may not notice changes as quickly because they are with the person every day. It can also be harder to admit that a loved one’s health is declining.

You may want to ask if other family members and friends are seeing a deterioration in appearance, behavior or abilities. Take note of observances made as these might be more objective and can provide clues whether it’s time for memory support.

Memory support vs home care: Communities are knowledgeable about the progressive levels of dementia. Each memory care community has an attending physician and medical team skilled in how best to provide person-centered care so they can address a resident’s changing needs accordingly.

Making the Memory Support Decision Before a Crisis

While the above 5 signs can be helpful in determining if it’s time for memory care, it’s always better to make the decision before there is a crisis. An accident or incident that requires a transition from the home places more stress on everyone. A plan and a physician’s advice help the family prepare for the right decision.  

Visiting memory support communities and determining the availability of social opportunities and activities, nutritional programs, medical care and safety measures can provide a lifeline of reassurance to the family. Planning ahead also makes it possible for the individual to contribute to the decision.

The needs of the caregiver should be accounted for as well – including the accessibility of respite care. In one study, nearly 75% of caregivers for loved ones with dementia were concerned about maintaining their own health, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Over 1 in 3 stated their health had worsened and almost 60% rated the emotional stress of caregiving as high or very high.

Memory Support at Presbyterian Village North

At Presbyterian Village North, we support both the individual and the family as they navigate the dementia journey.

We focus on the quality of life for our residents with a staff specially trained in the best practices of dementia care. Residents make their homes in private apartments while benefitting from the daily interactions with others and participating in our exercise, music, art and cognitive therapies.

With outdoor seating and dining possibilities, our secure garden courtyard and protected walking paths encourage our residents to venture outside while remaining safe from wandering.

We also provide the following services:

  • Licensed nursing staff on site 24/7
  • Medication administration
  • Assistance with activities of daily living
  • Chef-prepared cuisine
  • Special activities and social programs
  • Access to a full continuum of care
  • Expanded gym and aquatic center
  • Physical, occupational and speech therapy

Presbyterian Village North is a compassionate resource for your loved one and your family. Please call 800-400-4130 if you have any questions or would like to schedule a personal visit to our community.