As your loved one journeys through the stages of Alzheimer’s or dementia, a time will likely come where even the simplest of tasks becomes very difficult. At this time, making a transition to a memory care community can greatly reduce the stress and worry for you, as well as the stress, worry and confusion that your loved one may be feeling. Deciding when to move from an Oceanside senior living community into a memory care facility can be difficult, but will help greatly with keeping your loved one safe, and allowing you to focus on bonding and making memories together.
What are the differences between Oceanside senior living communities and memory care facilities?
It is important to note that there are some very important differences in the types of services that a memory care facility can provide.
- There is an emphasis on safety: Seniors with moderate to advanced memory issues may wander and lose their ability to think critically. Memory care communities are designed to keep them safe, while still allowing them to have as much independence as possible.
- There is a more proactive approach to the activities and socialization: Memory issues often mean a loss of executive function and social skills. Seniors living in assisted living are typically able to manage their own social lives. Those in memory care communities are given help with socializing, deciding how to spend their days and help with managing their relationships. The activities are designed specifically to address the needs of those with memory care issues.
- There is a keen awareness of sensory issues: People with dementia can be easily overwhelmed by unfamiliar sights and sounds. They may find comfort in sensory stimulation. Memory care units work to keep seniors busy and engages, without making them feel overwhelmed or threatened.
- Memory care communities have a team that is highly experienced with Alzheimer’s and dementia: These diseases are about more than just memory loss. It affects nearly every aspect of life. The staff in the memory care communities are trained and experienced with dealing with all of the many affects of these diseases and they know how to best support those facing these challenges.
While there is no simple, one-size-fits-all timeline for people suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia, there are some signs that will help you when you are considering when to move your loved one from an assisted living facility into a memory care community.
Significant changes in behavior
Alzheimer’s disease and dementia affect nearly every area of a person’s life, including their behavior. There are things to watch for when you are spending time with your loved one. Are they acting more irritable or confused than normal?
Do they seem withdrawn or depressed?
Talk with the assisted living community staff about any changes that they may have noticed. Perhaps your loved one is no longer taking advantage of the social activities anymore. Perhaps they are becoming easily agitated. Dramatic behavior changes may be a sign that it is time to transition to a memory care community. These communities have the education, tools and resources needed for reliable memory care.
Increased need for caregiving
While the staff members at assisted living communities, like those in Oceanside, are often more than happy to help with caregiving needs, sometimes the tasks related to memory loss become too much for the assisted living staff to handle. The truth is that most assisted living communities that don’t specialize in memory care aren’t equipped to take care of people who are in the later stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. If this is the case, you may find yourself having to fill in for more and more of the caregiving gaps. You will likely start to become overwhelmed and may feel like the caregiving is becoming too much to handle. In this case, moving your loved one into a memory care community is likely your best option to ensure that your loved one is getting the care that they need to have the best quality of life that they can.
The need for constant supervision
As your loved one reaches the later stages of their journey with Alzheimer’s or dementia, it is likely that they may become a danger to themselves and those around them. Something like forgetting to turn the oven off can have dire consequences not only to them, but to their home and possibly even the homes around them. It is also common for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia to wander off, become confused and lost, and possibly even attempt to drive somewhere. These are all incredibly dangerous for both the individual and for those around them.
Each person experiences Alzheimer’s or dementia differently, and each person’s disease progression is different, so there are no clear-cut rules on when it would be best to move your loved one from an assisted living facility into a memory care facility. However, you need to advocate for your loved one as they are likely going to be unable to advocate for themselves. Chances are, helping your loved one move into a memory care community will not only help to keep them safe, but will also help to improve their quality of life. This move can also have a positive impact on your own peace of mind and your ability to have a meaningful relationship with them as you will be focused on them instead of on their care.
Knowing when your loved one should make the transition from an Oceanside senior living community to a memory care facility can be difficult. Don’t be afraid to consult your loved one’s doctor or their assisted living community director if you’re uncertain. Keep in mind that it is important to do your research about the differences in assisted living compared to memory care. As transitions can be even more difficult for people with memory loss, you don’t want to be making any unnecessary changes in their lives. Moving into an assisted living community that also specializes in memory care may be a great option for helping to minimize the impact that those transitions can make.