Caring for an aging loved one is never an easy task. Especially when one starts to show signs of memory loss. The disorder can start slow, making it easy to miss and often confusing for everyone involved.
But at what point do you decide to get your loved one more help than you can provide? You want them to keep their way of life, but not at the cost of their safety and health.
Let’s look at eight signs it’s time for memory care.
Is your once clean-shaven father suddenly looking scruffy? Or your neatly dressed mother now showing up in wrinkled, dirty clothes?
As memory begins to decline, basic personal hygiene habits become more challenging to maintain. Some signs of this may include unbrushed teeth, missed showers, and ungroomed hair.
Your loved one may be forgetting to keep up on their personal care. Or they could have forgotten how to perform the tasks at all.
Many suffering from memory loss become unable to care for their home life.
This becomes evident with signs such as the kitchen piling up with dirty dishes. Expired food fills the refrigerator. And unopened bills cover the coffee table.
They forget to do everyday tasks that were once second nature for them, such as taking out the trash and paying their bills. This causes unsanitary living conditions, not to mention financial distress.
Look for notices from collection agencies. Check the house for something as simple as spills that haven’t been cleaned up. These can all be signs that your loved one is developing a loss of attention.
In the early stages of memory loss, an individual can become withdrawn. They may either realize something isn’t right or experience a change in behavior. In either case, they isolate themselves from the people or activities they once loved.
And as the memory loss progresses, your loved one can start to exhibit unpredictable behavior. They may become aggressive or easily irritated, and it makes it difficult to take them out into public situations.
When this isolation occurs, depression sets in. And it causes your loved one to feel lonely or restless. That’s when memory care can provide the activities and stimulation they need in a safe and controlled environment.
Physical safety is one of the biggest concerns when it comes to memory loss patients. They become easily confused and can put themselves, and their health, at risk.
Forgetting to turn the stove-top burner off. Not taking needed medication – or taking too much of it. Even going out for a walk and becoming lost are all signs that your loved one is at risk.
Think about how often you worry about their well-being. Are you regularly checking in to make sure they are ok? Have they had an increase in falls, injuries, or accidents?
These are all red flags that signal a need for memory care help.
Not taking the proper steps to take care of their health is a critical sign that it’s time for dementia assisted living.
They may fail to show up to doctor’s appointments. Forget to eat meals or end up snacking on unhealthy foods. Or mix up their medication schedule.
And if your loved one has a chronic health condition, it may become worse due to improper care.
Look for evidence of declining health. Are they losing weight? Is their medication taken in the amounts and times it should be? Are they taking the steps they need to keep a chronic condition under control?
Keeping your loved one healthy is a top reason to seek memory care when they are unable to care for themselves.
Changes in their physical appearance should trigger concern when a loved one is suffering from memory loss. Not only does it signal their health is at risk, but it also reflects their state of mind as well.
Do they have unexplained bumps and bruises? Have they become more fragile looking? Do they slump or hunch over?
Noticeable weight loss is common due to forgetting to eat. But others may experience weight gain when they forget that they have eaten and eat yet again.
Also, pay attention to how they move around. If they are walking more slowly and hunched over, it could be a sign that they are having trouble remembering where they are going or why.
One of the more unexpected symptoms of dementia is hoarding.
Have you walked into your loved one’s house and noticed piles of magazines that continue to build? Boxes of the same cereal collecting in the pantry? Or trash they insist they’re saving for later?
Those who suffer from memory loss may forget they have bought a particular item and continue to buy it every time they go to the store. Those boxes of cereal or many bottles of the same hand lotion could signal their mental health is declining.
And an unwillingness to let go of useless items is another sign your loved one is losing a grip on reality.
Caring for a family member or loved one who’s suffering from dementia can be mentally and emotionally taxing. Especially when that caregiver is the main source of care. And as dementia progresses, the caregiver exhaustion only grows.
While you may feel guilt in no longer being able to handle the situation, know that it’s not your fault. Most people are not able to provide the bulk of care long-term, and that’s when memory care can help. The staff has specialized training to be able to handle the situation with patience and professional care.
It’s never an easy decision to admit your loved one needs help. But if you’re able to recognize the signs it’s time for memory care; you can have peace of mind knowing they are getting the care and protection your loved one deserves.
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