If you are caring for a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, you have undoubtedly contemplated this question. You may be struggling with feelings of guilt mixed with fear that the responsibility will become more than you can handle. The decision to move an aging loved one into a memory care community is never easy. However, due to the progressive, degenerative nature of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, a 24-hour memory care community will eventually become a necessity.
How to Recognize the Need for Memory Care
Once memory loss is diagnosed, your loved one may be able to live independently, or with family, for some time. So how do you know when it’s time for professional memory care? The Alzheimer’s Association suggests that caregivers ask themselves the following questions to determine if it’s time to move a loved one into a memory care community.
Is your loved one unsafe in their current home? Consider how often you worry about slips and falls, household accidents or wandering outside the home. If your loved one has already fallen, been in an accident or suffered an unexplained injury, these are important red flags. Neglecting finances or falling victim to a scam are additional warning signs.
Is your loved one’s health suffering? Often memory loss can affect your loved ones’ ability to maintain healthy eating habits and hygiene, so keep an eye out for weight loss, skipped meals and spoiled food. If they are missing medication doses or failing to manage other health problems, this is also a major concern, as is incontinence, dehydration and paranoia.
Are your loved one’s needs beyond your physical abilities? If your loved one has become dependent on you for daily activities, including bathing, it may be physically more than you can safely handle. If you are at risk for injury or find your own health suffering, it may be time to seek help.
Are you becoming stressed, irritable or impatient? Caring for someone with dementia is mentally draining, particularly if your loved one experiences “sundowner syndrome“— a period of agitated behavior that becomes more pronounced later in the day, or exhibits verbal, physical or sexual aggression. Check in with yourself for signs of depression, hopelessness and trouble sleeping.
Are you neglecting work responsibilities, your family and yourself? Caregiver burnout is a very real concern. If the progression of the disease and your loved one’s loss of cognitive abilities is demanding more time than you have to give, it’s in everyone’s best interest to seek professional memory care assistance.
Would the structure and social interaction at a memory care community be beneficial? Isolation is a common problem for those with Alzheimer’s. The unpredictable nature of the disease makes it hard for them to go out, leaving them restless and lonely. Memory care communities provide recreational programming and activities tailored to those living with dementia, and memory care staff are trained to use distraction, redirection, and other techniques to keep residents calm and safe.
How to Choose a Memory Care Community
Unlike an assisted living/enriched housing community, memory care communities have staff that are specially trained to care for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. In addition to 24-hour care and assistance with daily tasks, memory care communities provide activities designed to support socialization and stimulate cognitive abilities, and they are secured to prevent wandering.
If your search for a memory care community includes the Albany NY area, we invite you to take a tour of the Eddy Memory Care Community at Marjorie Doyle Rockwell Center in Cohoes and the Eddy Memory Care Community at Eddy Hawthorne Ridge in East Greenbush. The Eddy is committed to improving the quality of life for individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia through innovative memory care in a warm, homelike environment, where dignity and independence come first. Contact us or call (877) 748-3339 to speak directly with a senior living specialist and schedule a tour.