What to Look For: Transitioning from Assisted Living to Memory Care
People with mild or even moderate dementia can live fulfilling lives in assisted living. Specially trained assistance with medication management, bathing, eating, toileting, grooming and mobility allows residents with memory loss to experience a well-rounded lifestyle. But how can loved ones know when to move from assisted living to memory care? Below we’ve listed some developments that may signal a need for specific memory care assistance.
When You See Telltale Behavioral Changes
If you’re considering moving from assisted living to memory care, look for certain changes in demeanor that suggest the condition has progressed. Behavior changes can take many forms, depending on the individual, so it helps to know several common signs. Your loved one’s sleep patterns may alter substantially. You may find that they’re sleeping quite a bit during the day and not much at night. This disruption to normal daily rhythms often creates increased confusion and irritability.
Your loved one may make unusual financial decisions, some of which might worry you. They may even give money to strangers. Your loved one might become more suspicious of the people around them, losing a sense of trust they felt previously. They may accuse trustworthy people of stealing from them or trying to hurt them. Your loved one may begin to have delusions or demonstrate compulsive gestures or behavior, like shredding tissues or picking at their own skin.
Keep an eye out for notable shifts in their typical behavior, and ask their assisted living caregivers to let you know what sort of changes they notice as well.
If They’re a Danger to Themselves or Those Around Them
As dementia progresses, people often experience temperament changes, leading to behaviors they would have never displayed before the condition took hold. If your loved one becomes rough or belligerent with you or their caregivers, it may be time to consider moving from assisted living to memory care so they can receive specialized attention. Caregivers might see more volatility in the evening. This is a common phenomenon called “sundowning,” and memory care team members are trained to handle these kinds of episodes.
When cognitive function declines, residents are also at an increased risk of falling. Memory care neighborhoods are usually built to help minimize the potential hazards, and caregivers will be on hand at all hours to help.
Additionally, in the later stages of dementia, residents are more prone to wandering. For their safety, it is a good idea to move them into a safe and secure neighborhood that’s built to prevent wandering while still allowing them to go out in the sunshine and take part in activities.
When They Need Specialized Dementia Care
If you notice your loved one has lost a significant amount of weight, is having trouble eating or swallowing, or needs assistance standing or moving, they may benefit from having a team of caregivers who can provide them care at all hours. By this late stage, their lack of mobility and diminished diet can cause your loved one to become especially vulnerable to infections. Having the support of memory care professionals provides them the specialized assistance they need and gives you the opportunity to visit and spend precious time together with less stress and anxiety.
Consult with their assisted living caregivers and current physicians, but if it seems like your loved one needs constant supervision or assistance, it’s probably time to think about transitioning from assisted living to memory care.
If you’d like to know more about memory care at The Meadows at Green Hills Manor, let us know. We would be happy to talk with you about residence options, our Heartfelt CONNECTIONS™ initiative, and the expertise of our team members.