You pride yourself in caring for your aging parent or loved one. You know their favorite foods, activities and their medication schedule. If your loved one needs dementia care, you’ve created a specialized routine to properly provide them with optimal in-home care.
While you may be handling care successfully, it’s important to consider that as their disease progresses, you may be in need of additional memory care services at home or at a senior living community like Newcastle Place. But how do you know when is the right time to seek these services? It can be difficult to be pragmatic, as there are so many emotions involved: grief, guilt and fear may envelop your thoughts. Focus instead on your goal to create the best possible quality of life for your loved one. As their condition progresses and their needs change, the best possible option for them may be to get care outside the home.
Here are five behavioral and medical signs that your loved one may need to transition to a memory care community.
1. Changes in Behavior
Most people are familiar with the subtle behavior changes that occur during early-onset dementia: loss of short-term memory, neglecting one’s appearance, etc. However, it is not commonly known that as dementia progresses, your loved one can become more aggressive and agitated.
Agitation is defined as a feeling of extreme restlessness. Agitated people are easily upset and overwhelmed. Aggression is defined as intense verbal and physical acts. If your loved one has become aggressive toward you or others living in your home, it may be time to move them to a professional care environment where they will be safe from harming themselves and others.
2. Easily Confused
In addition to becoming agitated, many of those in cognitive decline may become easily confused or disoriented while doing simple tasks. It is reported that during later stages of Alzheimer’s one has a “limited understanding of time,” causing them to repeat conversations or behaviors in succession.
One may also become unable to recognize where they are. This leads to your loved one inadvertently putting themselves or others in danger. They might accidentally leave the stove unattended or may walk into a busy street. This confusion, paired with often erratic sleeping patterns, can result in your loved one requiring 24-hour monitoring for their own safety.
3. Frequent Wandering
Wandering is a typical behavior exhibited by many individuals with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. It can also become increasingly dangerous over time, as it puts your loved one’s personal safety at risk.
Loved ones who get up in the middle of the night and are able to access a vehicle can also put others at risk, as well. Putting off the decision to make a change to your loved one’s care can be detrimental to their overall health and quality of life.
4. Loss of Mobility
One of the most excruciating symptoms that can arise during the later stages of Alzheimer’s is change in physical mobility. Your loved one may lose the ability to walk, sit down, or get up from a seated position. They may even begin to have trouble swallowing.
As these mobility issues become more pronounced, it can be difficult to assist your loved one on your own. It could also be dangerous to both you and your loved one, as many caregivers have been put under physical stress trying to move a loved one. At the point where loss of mobility becomes taxing on both you and your loved one, it’s time to seek help.
5. Caregiver Burnout
Last, but definitely not least, evaluate how you are feeling. Caregiver burnout is common, but often ignored because the caregiver feels guilty about addressing their needs. Signs of burnout include, but are not limited to: physical exhaustion, loss of appetite, weight loss and changes in sleep patterns.
Continuously ignoring your physical and mental needs will lead to serious long-term health consequences. If you are physically and mentally suffering, you will not be able to provide optimal care for your loved one.
Explore Memory Care Options at Newcastle Place
If you’re researching memory care options, Newcastle Place is the perfect place to start. We offer a diverse range of personalized memory care services. Regardless of your loved one’s health care needs, our goal is to create a safe and stimulating environment for them to enjoy. Schedule a tour to see our community for yourself.