Currently, about 5.8 million Americans aged 65 years or more suffer from Alzheimer’s dementia. Caring for a loved one who has Alzheimer’s or any other type of dementia can be extremely challenging. Still, some families hesitate to move their loved ones to a memory care community until it is too late. At BridgeWater Assisted Living, we understand that deciding to send your loved one to memory care in Arizona can be overwhelming.
When it comes to dementia, not everyone experiences the same symptoms. In fact, the disease can progress at different rates for different individuals, making it difficult to identify the appropriate time to transition the patient to memory care. But memory care offers a relaxing environment and a high standard of personalized care for such individuals. This helps them to thrive and manage their condition in the best possible manner. In this article, we will look at five signs that indicate it’s time to move your loved one to memory care.
1. Decline in Overall Health
Conditions like dementia can have a devastating effect on the overall health of the patient. In the early stages, memory loss can make it difficult for your loved one to shop for groceries, cook proper meals, or eat on time. As a result, they can experience significant weight loss. They may also forget to take their daily medicines on time, giving rise to various other health issues.
As the disease progresses, your loved one may find it difficult to even chew correctly, resulting in inhaling the food directly into the lungs. This can cause aspiration pneumonia, which is potentially fatal if not treated immediately. A poor diet can also affect bowel movements and cause severe constipation and abdominal pain. The lack of proper nutrition can make your loved one more prone to catching a cold or flu too.
In later stages, you may notice they have difficulty controlling their bowels, leading to frequent soiling. Additionally, your loved one may also suffer from urinary infections and lose control of the bladder.
2. Your Loved One Is in Distress
Living with dementia is a terrifying experience. You may start noticing sudden changes in the behavior of your loved one. For instance, they may completely lose interest in activities they previously enjoyed or become very restless. It’s also common for such patients to experience hallucinations, such as insects crawling on their hands, or to engage in conversations with imaginary people. Some dementia patients also exhibit aggressive behavior toward their caregivers, including physical abuse.
Since those with dementia experience difficulties with mobility and balance, they may also become prone to falling. And sometimes the medication can make them dizzy, making it tricky to judge distances. As a result, they may bump into objects in the house. Such falls and trips can cause severe injuries and pose a significant health risk for your loved one. These risks can be mitigated by making the transition to a memory care community with safety precautions and full-time nurses on staff.
3. Complete Disregard for Personal Hygiene and Appearance
Those with dementia have difficulty maintaining personal hygiene. It’s common for such patients to forget to take baths or brush their teeth regularly. Some also forget what to do with various toiletries. For instance, the patient may not remember the use of toothpaste or shampoo. They may forget to wash or style their hair or shave at regular intervals, resulting in an unkempt appearance.
Not taking regular baths can cause body odor and lead to a variety of skin issues. Similarly, poor oral hygiene can lead to tooth decay, cavities, and painful gums. Your loved one may also refuse to change clothes regularly or roam around in inappropriate clothing. The staff at a memory care unit is specially trained to help residents with a variety of activities of daily living.
4. You Are Experiencing Caregiver Burnout
Taking care of a loved one with dementia isn’t easy. The burden of responsibilities can leave you completely exhausted, both physically and emotionally. As a result, it’s very common for most caregivers to suffer from caregiver burnout. Symptoms include anxiety, depression, changes in your sleeping patterns, irritability, difficulties concentrating, and withdrawing from your social life.
You may even feel extremely angry with the person suffering from dementia. If you continue to remain in a state of burnout, you may also experience other health problems.
This can be an extremely stressful experience for your family, especially for the person who’s receiving your care. You may find it challenging to provide the quality care that your loved one deserves.
5. Your Loved One Needs More Support Than You Can Provide
As a patient enters the advanced stages of dementia, it may become impossible for you to provide the high degree of care necessary. For instance, providing round-the-clock assistance with going to the toilet, managing incontinence care, or taking care of your loved one’s personal hygiene can be a lot for a single caregiver to handle.
When a caregiver is no longer able to meet a loved one’s needs, those unmet needs can aggravate other symptoms or cause further health issues. For example, a lack of incontinence care can result in frequent urinary tract infections or painful bedsores.
Don’t feel guilty if you can’t meet your loved one’s needs alone. It’s okay to ask for help.
Find the Right Community to Provide Your Loved One with the Care They Deserve
If you recognize one or more of these signs, it’s likely time to consider memory care for your loved one. The right memory care will provide full-time support in a safe and comfortable environment, improving the overall quality of life for the dementia patient. You’ll want to ensure the care programs you consider are adequate to support your loved one’s unique needs.
If you’re considering your options for memory care in Arizona, the innovative program at BridgeWater Assisted Living can help. We believe in following a holistic approach to healthcare to support dementia patients. Our exclusive science-based activities program promotes positive outcomes for those facing cognitive decline. We use a combination of art, music, mindfulness, and cognitive therapies to help all residents and improve memory, motor function, and cognitive skills. If you want to know more about how our memory care can help, call us today.