Six Signs It’s Time for Memory Care

daughter visiting father in the retirement community

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If your loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or another type of progressive memory impairment, you may be wondering how you can tell when dementia care is needed. While some symptoms – like profound confusion or frequent, impactful periods of forgetfulness — are well-known to most, others are much more subtle. So when is it time for memory care? Follow this guide to learn early signs that can help determine when memory care can bring valuable benefits to those you love and care for.

Know the Early Symptoms

Learning the early symptoms of dementia in elderly adults is key to choosing the right time to move. One of the earliest signs most will notice is frequent, short-term forgetfulness. While it’s common for older adults to occasionally forget a name or appointment, be aware if your loved one forgets things they’ve just learned, or asks for the same information repeatedly.

For some, vision impairment and dementia go hand in hand. If your loved one is having trouble driving, reading, judging distance (depth perception) or identifying colors, they may be developing a memory-affective disorder. However, it’s important to note that this doesn’t apply to seniors with cataracts, glaucoma or other physical visual impairments.

The Six Big Things to Watch For

1. Missing medications.
Pay close attention to your loved one’s medication schedule to see if they’re missing doses or taking their medication at the wrong time. If your loved one repeatedly forgets when they’re supposed to take their medicine even after you’ve reminded them, it’s likely time to move to a memory care community. There, they’ll have a dedicated staff of caregivers who can keep them on track.

A closeup of a senior woman placing medication into a weekly pill sorter.

2. Isolation and anxiety.
Due to the stress and anxiety brought on by significant memory loss, seniors with dementia will often withdraw from friendships, interest groups, clubs and community organizations. Loneliness and isolation are shown to increase both the risk and rate of cognitive decline — life at a memory care community provides built-in fellowship and socialization.

Shot of a thoughtful senior woman looking out of the window at home

3. Wandering.
Exit-seeking or wandering behaviors are very common in seniors with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. They may not remember that they’re at home, which can cause anxiety and a desire to flee. We’ve all seen the news reports about missing seniors, and the best way to avoid that is by making sure they’re in a comfortable, caring setting where exits are securely monitored 24/7.

4. Caregiver burnout.
Between managing your loved one’s concerns and your own busy life, it’s not uncommon for adult children and family caregivers to experience burnout. But this burnout can have serious psychological effects on seniors with dementia, who require a lot of patience and can sense our stress and tension. Often, having a designated, professional caregiver is the best solution for both the parent and their children.

A photo of a senior man and his father having an argument

5. Outbursts.
As seniors progress through the stages of dementia, they may experience extreme mood shifts and emotional outbursts — often, these outbursts become loud, violent and disruptive. Memory care professionals are trained to handle these outbursts by redirecting behavior through positive engagement, alleviating the possibility of injury and distress for caregivers and residents alike.

6. Hazardous conditions.
For many seniors with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, it can become difficult to perform a lot of the regular tasks of daily living, like cooking, bathing and cleaning. This can lead to a number of extreme health hazards — from dangerous obstructions along footpaths in the home to unsanitary kitchens and bathrooms — that can present many vectors for injury and infection.

Two silver pots on a stove with steam rising up

The Ridge Is Here to Help

Still curious about the benefits of memory care and how it could help someone you love? We’re here to help you. Whenever you’re ready for more information, simply contact us. Our team of memory care professionals are always ready to answer any and all of your questions, and offer resources to help you make important decisions.

At The Ridge Senior Living communities, you’ll find genuine support backed by a strong reputation for quality service. We employ the newest techniques, technologies and methods to ensure that our residents’ days are always full of new opportunity. We hope you’ll lean on us as a reliable partner you can trust while you and your family plan what comes next.