Memory Loss and Care Communities
Navigating memory loss and care communities often raises the question of when is the right time to move a parent. Care communities offering memory care can be the answer for aging parents who are struggling with daily activities or are no longer safe to live alone
When is the Right Time?
While each family situation differs, the right time can be early when an elderly parent can still socialize and be active even though the thought of moving can be daunting. The benefits of activity, socialization, consistent medication administration and proper nutrition are significant for managing the progression of memory loss.
On the other hand, a parent whose dementia has progressed may experience more appropriate care in a smaller setting community setting like a personal care home that has less hustle and bustle. This article offers seven insights into why and when moving parents with memory loss into a care community can be the right thing to do.
1 Increasing Care Needs
Senior care communities offer support with daily activities that include bathing, dressing, medication reminding, light housekeeping, and meals. While family caregivers often provide many of these activities, considering memory loss and care communities means thinking of the benefits of increased physical activity and socialization.
While family caregivers like to do it all, many are balancing careers, raising a family, pursuing education, and their own social lives with the time commitment of caring for elderly parents. When the daily care needs of parents are met, adult children can visit and enjoy time with parents instead of working through a long list of tasks.
2 Isolation and Loneliness
If a loved one has stopped driving and becomes isolated at home the social aspects of an assisted living or memory care community are extremely beneficial to warding off depression which is a common side-effect of being isolated and living alone. A component of caregiving rarely considered is the isolation and loneliness that family caregivers experience when they trade part of their lives to care for aging parents.
Isolation and loneliness are factors of aging, memory loss, and being a caregiver that can be managed when considering memory loss and care communities and benefits for parents.
3 Activities and Socialization
Many times after a spouse passes away the caregiver spouse may feel lost. Especially if the time dedicated to caregiving was significant and the surviving spouse had given up time with friends and social activities.
A move to a care community offers a fresh start and makes it easier to meet people and establish new friendships. If memory loss is diagnosed, remaining in the family home, unless finances permit care in the home may eventually necessitate a move. Starting a new life that provides routine and social support can also help a spouse manage through grief.
4 Progressing Memory Loss
Individuals with memory loss who might have remained independent at home with the support of in-home caregivers may reach a situation where it is not safe to remain at home without 24/7 care. At this point, after reviewing available finances, many families choose to move a loved one to a memory care community where support and socialization is available 24/7 at a more affordable rate.
Looking at the future, if there will not be enough money to provide care in the home, considering memory loss and communities that offer a Medicaid spend down is a practical plan to make sure a parent with memory loss receives care.
5 The Benefit of Daily Routines
After retirement, regular routines of work disappear. Many individuals, especially those experiencing memory loss, may not be able to initiate contact with friends or participate in social activities.
Because of a lack of daily routine, aging parents may expect family members to become their social network. While there is nothing wrong with family support, being exposed to opportunities based on knowing what happens tomorrow and throughout the week can result in better overall care for a parent.
6 Home maintenance
Daily life without the responsibilities and expense of maintaining a home is greatly simplified by a move to a senior care community. Few older adults tell me that they miss activities such as yard work, shoveling snow, housekeeping, or preparing meals. Senior care communities offer freedom from many daily activities that become tedious or time-consuming.
7 Caregiver Exhaustion
The daily life and responsibilities of family caregivers can be exhausting. While caregivers hesitate to burden aging parents or a spouse with their needs, it’s no secret that caregiving relationships become unbalanced.
The emotional and physical health of the caregiver often suffers. Investigating memory loss and care communities is a thoughtful step to protect the health and well-being of the caregiver and the care recipient.
Why There’s Never a Perfect Time
There may always be a reason to delay memory loss and care community conversations. Talking about care needs is rarely a discussion that families find comfortable.
However, it is important to recognize that there are risks in waiting too long to consider memory loss and care communities. The support provided in senior care communities may be considered preventative in nature.
Older adults with memory loss forget to take medications as prescribed. Many have lost the desire to prepare meals and as a result, lose weight. begin losing weight. Others who are isolated become depressed or anxious. Remembering to bathe and manage personal hygiene can become challenging.
Moving a Parent is a Proactive Strategy
Rather than watch a loved one struggle to maintain in a private home or apartment, consider investigating a senior care community that offers many benefits and that may prevent the requirement for a higher level of care provided only by nursing or rehabilitation communities. At the point a serious fall or health issue occurs, a senior care community may no longer be an option. Many older adults state that they do not want to live in a nursing home.
The decision to move a loved one to a senior care community will have a better outcome if not rushed or made as to the response to a health or medical crisis. Investigate and tour communities early before the need, involve your loved one in the process if possible, and plan the move at the time appropriate based on the need of your loved one.
For more information on caring for aging parents with memory loss, listen or read The Caring Generation Podcasts.
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