One of the most challenging questions we get asked is how to know when it’s time to transition a parent from home care to a memory care community. In many ways, by asking the question, they’ve answered it. Because when you get to the point of questioning the value of keeping them in their home, you are already beginning to take the journey towards making a transition.
The desire to keep parents living in the family home for as long as possible is understandable. For many of us it is the home we grew up in, full of precious memories. For an aging parent it represents a safe harbor, a familiar place that is soothing and comforting.
As dementia progresses, however, this will change. What was once an easy to navigate environment will become more challenging, even bringing potential danger to your loved one.
Here are three signs that, despite your best efforts, a transition into an environment designed for individuals with cognitive disabilities may bring more benefits for your loved one than continuing to care for them at home.
- Increasing safety concerns. Forgetting to turn off a stove, tripping over a carpet, leaving a front door open, all present hazards. Often individuals with dementia will wander out only to be found hours later, frightened and confused. Memory care communities, especially newer ones such as Anthem Memory Care, are built from the ground up to provide safe, secure spaces for individuals with dementia.
- Difficulty providing a variety of daily social interactions. Multiple, varied human interaction is so important to a person experiencing cognitive decline. Even if a caregiver comes to the house to help your loved one care for him/herself, the level of interaction can be minimal at best. A memory care community is, by its definition, a community. That means it’s full of other residents, family members and staff. Multiple interactions occur on a daily basis which helps individuals living with dementia remain connected to the world around them.
- Noticing a decline in physical health. If an individual forgets to take their pills, stay hydrated and eat healthy meals, it can lead to a rapid decline in personal health. How can you be certain that mom is getting all the nutrients she needs daily? What behavior might indicate her dementia has progressed? The professionals who work within a memory care community are highly trained and dedicated to answering these questions and more.
We are often told by family caregivers after their loved ones have transitioned to one of our memory care communities that they feel greater peace of mind knowing that their mom or dad is in a safe, supportive memory care environment. They also tell us that they have only one regret: That they didn’t make the move sooner.