When your loved one is dealing with dementia or Alzheimer’s, it’s important to make sure they get the care they need. At the earlier stages, respite care or in-home options may be enough. But as the condition progresses, you’ll need help with dementia care from trained professionals —for both of your sakes. One of the best options for those with Alzheimer’s or dementia is a long-term memory care community with expertly-trained, specialized staff. We’ve put together the following guide to help you through this process.
When to Look for Memory Care
At first, you may be able to handle your loved one’s dementia or Alzheimer’s symptoms. However, the condition can rapidly progress and become far too much for one person to manage—even in-home nurses. Several signs signal that your loved one needs long-term help with dementia care; these include:
- Major behavioral changes
- Apprehension about performing activities like feeding themselves or brushing their own hair
- Increased confusion that puts themselves (or you) at physical risk
- Mobility issues
- Problems maintaining a safe and clean living environment, including hoarding
- Forgetting to take meds or not following dosage instructions
- Wandering away from the home
- Fits of anger, anxiety, or extreme emotions
Remember, you’re not failing your loved one by not being able to deal with these symptoms. Caregivers that overburden themselves are at serious risk for burnout, which can cause physical or mental concerns. Not only that, but a caregiver who is burnt out and unwell won’t be able to properly look after their loved one.
How Long-Term Care Plans Help You and Your Loved One
Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease with worsening stages of symptoms. While it can be emotionally hard to do, it’s vital to plan ahead and consider what your loved one will need in the future. Memory care communities are designed to help with dementia care in ways that can keep your loved one healthy longer. These include specialized socialization programs, stimulating activities, and round-the-clock care.
It’s also a kindness to act fast, rather than wait until the condition progresses to more challenging stages. It can be much more stressful to move your loved one when they are more prone to fear or confusion. Having them settle into a long-term care environment earlier gives them a chance to adjust more easily. It also prevents you from having to make a rushed and frantic decision if your loved one rapidly deteriorates.
Transitioning to a memory care community also allows you to reclaim your former relationship with your loved one. Instead of playing the stressful role of the primary caregiver, you can focus on enjoying your time together and bonding.
Will My Loved One Be Happy in Memory Care?
It can be easy to feel guilty about your loved one leaving their home or not being able to take care of them on your own. However, remember that it will improve both of your lives in the long run. Memory care communities are designed to not only care for your loved one’s physical health but also their mental and emotional well-being. They can make new friends, try new activities, and enjoy themselves in a safe, nurturing environment.
Memory care also helps your loved one feel more independent. Instead of having to give up their favorite hobbies, they can enjoy more accessible ways to do what they love. While moving into memory care is a major change, it doesn’t have to be seen as a negative one. Finding help with dementia care can help give your loved one more of their life back.
What’s more, inclusive communities like Vineyard Henderson allow for partners to live with their loved ones. So whether it be mom and dad moving in together, a close friend or partner, or if you want to live with your relative, you can.
Learn more about the benefits of partnership in memory care.
What to Look for in a Memory Care Community
It’s vital to find a memory care community that you trust and feel comfortable with. When finding help with dementia care, you’ll need to consider the location, cost, and available amenities. While researching options, look for communities that:
- Encourage family involvement in planning and decision-making
- Keep family members aware of any needed changes
- Provide medical care
- Have staff trained in dementia care
- Offer personal care and assistance
- Provides healthy, varied meals
- Tailor activities and diets to interests, needs, and abilities
- Have planned activities, including on weekends, evenings, and holidays
- Offer transportation
- Offer religious services and celebrations (or transport to services)
- Treat all residents with dignity, respect, and individual attention
- Are clean and well-maintained
- Offer plenty of visiting hours
Long-Term Care for a Loved One with Dementia or Alzheimer’s Can Help You Both
The right memory care community can offer you and your loved one security, peace of mind, and comfort. Alzheimer’s and dementia are serious conditions that require proper, trained medical care. By choosing long-term memory care for your loved one, you’re helping them to live their best life.