Signs Your Aging Parent May Need Memory Care

Your Aging Parent May Need Memory Care

Is it Time for Memory Care?  

According to Pew Research Center, more than half of adult children in this country, – 52% of those with parents ages 65 to 74, and 64% with parents ages 75 and up, – have helped their parents with housework, home maintenance and errands.

Helping out with errands and some of the activities of daily living can be manageable for busy adult children, but for the 15.7 million family caregivers in this country who are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or memory loss, the demands of caregiving often becomes unattainable. 

So, what happens when the care and support required are more than you or a family member can provide? What happens when your loved one’s safety is at risk? A senior living community that has a memory care or memory support neighborhood is a solution for many. 

“We often hear from adult children who find themselves in this situation,” says Janet McNemar, NHA, MBA, Executive Director of Saunders House.“They realize that their parent or loved one needs care. They’re afraid to leave them alone and are constantly worried about their well-being. But they often feel guilty about not being able to provided the necessary care. And they are almost always unsure about when it’s the best time to make the move.”

To help get a clearer picture of timing, there are warning signs. Here are some of the most common. 

1. Problems or Difficulties with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)

  • Hygiene, bathing and grooming – Is your mom bathing or showering on a regular basis? Is her hair washed and neat? Is your dad neatly shaven or beard well kept?
  • Using the bathroom properly – Is your loved one suffering from incontinence?
  • Eating –Are healthy meals being prepared and eaten? Is there fresh food in the refrigerator and pantry?
  • Dressing –Is your loved one able to get dressed without assistance?
  • Walking/Transferring – Can your loved one safely get out of bed in the morning? Can they or she easily get in or out of a chair and walk around the house? Have they experienced any falls or lack of balance?

2. Changes in Appearance

  • Weight loss caused by not eating, poor diet, difficulty cooking or shopping for food
  • Weight gain caused by poor eating habits, unhealthy food choices, lessened mobility
  • Clothing –-   Is your loved one wearing clean clothing? Is it appropriate for the weather (for example, sweaters in winter and short sleeves in summer)?
  • Personal appearance – Does mom or dad look uncharacteristically unkempt?
  • Signs of injury – Have you noticed any bruises or cuts on their arms or legs, indicating a fall? Or burns on their hands or arms, indicating challenges with cooking?

3.  Behavioral or Mood Changes

  • Lethargy – Does your loved one seem unmotivated? Have they lost that “drive” that you’re used to seeing?
  • Loss of Interest –Has your loved one given up favorite pastimes or hobbies? Have they lost interest in activities they used to love, like reading, knitting, crafts, etc.?
  • Temperament – Have you noticed changes in your loved one’s temperament? Are they easily agitated? Do they suffer from mood swings?
  • Trouble with time – Does your loved one have difficulty keeping track of time? Are they forgetting important dates?
  • Sleep –Is your loved one having trouble sleeping? Are they suffering from insomnia? Do they sleep all day or take frequent naps?

4.  Household Challenges

  • Daily activities – Is your loved one having trouble keeping up with the house cleaning, cooking, laundry, lawn work, bills, food shopping, or any other instrumental ADLs.?
  • Medications –Can your loved one safely manage medications? Are they taking prescription medication properly? Or taking too much or too little? Are there empty prescription bottles? Or bottles that appear that no pills have been taken?

5. Memory Challenges

  • Forgetfulness – Have you noticed your loved one forgetting to take medications? Pay bills on time? Misplacing items? Are you more frequently asking yourself ‘Is this a sign of normal aging, or possibly the onset of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease?’
  • Confusion –Are you aware of any confusion?  Getting lost on walks? Inability to recall names? Repeating stories or questions? Difficulty performing normal and familiar tasks? Trouble finding the right words?
  • Poor judgment –Has your loved one shown signs of poor judgement or loss of reasoning skills? Have they given away money or belongings? Fallen for scams or sales pitches?

What’s Next?

If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to start planning your next steps. It starts with a conversation.

Talk with Your Loved One

Have a calm, loving heart-to-heart talk with your loved one about your concerns. Try these conversation starters to make it easier: I only want the best for you, and I’m worried about you living here alone. I’m concerned about you not eating well or taking your medications properly.

Make an appointment with their primary care physician for a complete physical and wellness assessment. Plan to accompany your loved one to the visit.  The results of this exam will help provide you with the answers you need to take the next steps, if necessary.

Identify Senior Care Resources

If possible, call or visit senior living communities and assisted living communities that offer specialized memory care to discuss options for your loved one.  If your loved one needs 24-hour care, memory care in a skilled nursing facility like Saunders House may be required.

Most senior living communities and nursing homes provide personalized tours and can answer any questions you have. “We’re here to serve seniors and their families, and are happy to show them around Saunders House,” says Janet. “Choosing the right memory care communityis essential in ensuring your loved one receives the most appropriate level of care at the right time. It also means peace of mind for families.”

Janet adds, “Saunders House provides quality care that is enhanced by an engaging and fulfilling lifestyle for the older adults who live there. Here, we offer the best of both worlds: personalized care and attention combined with specialized programming andconvenient amenities that our residents need and our families love.” 

Keep Family and Friends in the Loop

Get in touch with family and friends and let them know your loved one is moving into asenior living or memory care community. Encourage them to visit. “The doors are always open to guests and loved ones at Saunders House,” says Janet.  

Saunders House: Upholding A Healthy Tradition of Care and Wellness

At Saunders House, we provide short-term rehabilitation, memory care, respite care, traditional nursing care or restorative care. Come visit us and see how the services and care we offer can benefit your family.

For more information, contact our Admissions Office today.

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