Is It Safe for Your Loved One With Dementia to Age in Place?

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Is It Safe for Your Loved One With Dementia to Age in Place?

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Is It Safe for Your Loved One With Dementia to Age in Place?

When a loved one is diagnosed with dementia, it’s easy and natural to feel many emotions. From anxiety and fear to the relief of having a diagnosis, it can be a lot to sift through. Once you do, though, you’re likely to encounter many questions, like whether or not it’s safe for your loved one to continue to age where they are. 

Simply because they’ve been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia doesn’t mean they immediately need to move to a memory care community. However, there are some signs to look for when determining whether they should consider making that move.

Signs Your Loved One Needs Memory Support

One of the most important signs you should watch for is any difficulty in managing their healthcare. From mismanaging medications to missing doctors’ appointments, there are many things you don’t want your loved ones to ignore. Sure, a missed hair appointment isn’t necessarily a cause for concern. However, when they repeatedly miss their appointments or incorrectly take their medication, it’s time to consider memory care to ensure their health is appropriately managed.

Another sign to look for is a lapse in personal hygiene or home cleanliness. While seniors can generally have a harder time getting around, dementia can make this even more difficult. Like before, a single instance of forgetting to take the garbage can to the curb isn’t a significant problem. However, if your loved one is regularly neglecting their personal or home care, that could indicate that they aren’t coping well or need additional assistance.

You should also be aware of any major changes in their behavior or personality. Sleep disturbances, personality changes, or severe memory loss (like getting lost walking through their neighborhood) are all indications that they might be ready for professional memory support. The most important thing is to keep your loved one safe, and sometimes seniors with dementia reach a point where they need help to do so.

Finally, be aware of when caring for your loved one becomes too much of a stressor on you. Chances are you haven’t been taught how to handle many of the changes that come as someone is diagnosed with dementia. If you’re your loved one’s primary caregiver, you’re likely giving up other things in your life to care for them. You might reach a point where it feels like it’s too overwhelming. That’s okay. You’re doing a great job. That probably means that your loved one is ready to move to a memory care community, where they can get the high-quality memory support that they deserve.

The Benefits of Memory Care

If you realize that it’s no longer safe for your loved one to age in place, don’t be dismayed. Memory care communities are designed specifically for seniors with dementia and Alzheimer’s. They are created to help seniors and their families navigate and manage the signs you noticed. 

By moving to a memory care community, your loved one will be surrounded by professionals who know how to respond to their unique needs. You won’t need to worry about the state of their home or whether they remembered taking their medications. 

Instead, when you visit with your loved one you’ll be able to focus on what’s most important. You can spend your time cherishing each moment you have together and being present with your loved one enjoying each other’s company. Do a puzzle, create a scrapbook, or simply talk and catch up with one another.

Choosing a memory care community is a loving decision that you and your aging loved one can make that prioritizes their well-being. When they move to a memory support community, neither of you will need to worry anymore. You’ll be confident that they’re receiving the care and support they need, and they’ll know they’re in good hands. 

dementia guide - marjorie p lee

Kristin Davenport
By
February 16, 2021
Kristin Davenport is the Director of Communications for Episcopal Retirement Services (ERS). Kristin leads ERS’s efforts to share stories that delight and inspire through social media, online content, annual reports, magazines, newsletters, public relations, and events. Kristin earned her BFA in graphic design from Wittenberg University. She joined ERS after a 25-year career as a visual journalist and creative director in Cincinnati. Kristin is passionate about making Cincinnati a dementia-inclusive city. She is a Lead SAIDO Learning Supporter and a member of the ‘Refresh Your Soul’ conference planning team at ERS. Kristin and her husband Alex, live in Lebanon, Ohio with their 2 daughters. She also serves as a Trustee and the President of the Lebanon Food Pantry and is a board member for ArtScape Lebanon.

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