The first step in meeting your loved one’s needs is understanding which type of memory loss they have and how far it has progressed. These initial steps will help a family understand memory care, and know when to consider it as an option.
In the beginning stages of a memory disease, your loved one will not require as much assistance as they will in the later stages. To determine if they are having normal age-related memory loss or have an actual disease, such as Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, you should observe their behavior and then speak with a doctor.
In close communication with their doctor, you will gain a better idea of the type of memory loss your loved one is experiencing and what the next steps should be.
In the beginning, your senior loved one may be fine living alone, needing minimal help. But, if their disease has progressed, and they are displaying dangerous behaviors, it may be time to consider an assisted living community or memory care.
Understanding The Signs of Memory Loss
As we age, our brains age, resulting in memory loss and changes. Your loved one may have moments where they can’t recall someone’s name, or they may misplace items, such as the TV remote or their keys. These are examples of normal memory lapses and not a cause for concern.
Understanding when more serious care is needed requires you to know some of the warning signs of memory loss diseases. Look out for the following signs and behaviors:
- Communication difficulties
- Troubles with familiar tasks
- Misplacing important items
- Mood swings, such as feeling agitation or paranoia
- Poor hygiene
- Poor judgment
- Repetitive speech or actions
The leading cause of these behaviors is a memory disease, such as Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. At times, some of your senior loved ones’ actions may be triggered by a mood they feel. Due to their memory disease, they are unable to deal with these emotions and moods alone. With patience, affection, support, and reassurance, you and other caregivers can help.
Knowing that your senior loved one’s behaviors are related to their memory disease can help you be more understanding. Over time you may even be able to see what leads up to specific behaviors and help to keep your loved one comfortable by proactively preventing some of their agitation.
For example, they may become irritated, angry, or violent after being around loud noises or a crowd of people. If these are triggers for your loved one, it would make sense to reduce noises and keep them away from large crowds.
Understanding the different types of memory care
The type of memory care that your loved one needs will depend on the type of memory loss they have and its severity.
In the early stage of Alzheimer’s, many of a senior’s symptoms can be managed with medications. Not all, but some seniors are ready to move into a memory care community even in the earliest stage to optimize their independence and maintain it as long as possible.
When seniors begin to move into the middle and last stage of Alzheimer’s, a memory care community would be especially beneficial. They can receive help and support from trained staff, receive psychological and psychiatric services, and join support groups for a full spectrum of cognitive, spiritual, and physical care.
There are seven stages of dementia. A senior will show no symptoms in the first stage, no memory loss, or behavior change. It isn’t until they reach the third stage where symptoms may become noticeable. By the time a senior reaches the fifth stage, they will need more assistance.
Depending on the care plan for your senior, it can be beneficial to have memory care services at any stage of dementia. This includes specially trained staff, onsite nurses and physicians, psychological and psychiatric services, and support groups.
At The Kensington Falls Church, we offer two neighborhoods that are specially designed for Alzheimer’s and dementia residents:
- Connections is for seniors who are in the early and middle stages of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
- Haven is for those who are in the middle and late stages.
Both neighborhoods are safe, comfortable, and cozy with features including plenty of natural light, smells of home cooked meals, wander management technology, pets being welcomed, and adaptive design to help with recognition and confusion.
Through state-of-the-art therapies, The Kensington Falls Church creates customized, individual service plans to help each resident achieve his or her personal needs and desires through memory care.
Meeting Your Loved One’s Specific Memory Care Needs
You know your loved one better than anyone else, and by now, you probably have a good idea of what their specific needs are.
If you have decided that your loved one needs to move to a memory care community, you’ll want to make the transition go smoothly and set up their care team for success. You could start by making a list of your loved one’s daily needs and usual behaviors.
Even highly trained staff will need to get to know your senior before understanding their specific care. But, with your help, you can make sure your loved one gets off to a good start.
If you know what triggers your loved one, it is essential to share these details. Not only will it help staff and nurses at a memory care community, but it will help your loved one as well. Tell them if your loved one doesn’t like loud noises or if music or white noise helps calm them down, for example.
Share their daily routines, and when they move, have them bring their familiar objects and photographs. Maintaining consistent structure is crucial for seniors with memory loss.
Start Here: Find The Right Memory Care For Your Loved One
The Kensington Falls Church is different from most memory care communities. We offer the two unique and innovative neighborhoods, Connections and Havens, that are tailored to our resident’s needs and that those with memory loss can call home.
We understand that each resident is different and deserves a spectrum of relevant and appropriate care that will benefit them as individuals.
Both neighborhoods offer licensed nurses on-site 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We also provide psychological and psychiatric services, rehabilitation, support groups, and a care team specializing in memory care, tailored to the degree of memory loss that a resident is experiencing.
If you have any questions about our memory care community, please reach out and give us a call. We want to understand how we can help you take care of your senior loved one.