The ability to think clearly, remember, and reason are a few of the abilities that many may take for granted. They are a part of everyday life, and until something changes in those processes, we don’t really think about how much of our daily lives they play a part in. However, those who suffer from dementia experience increasing difficulty with these everyday functions as their cognitive abilities gradually decline.
Those with dementia can function normally for many years with the occasional support of friends and family. However, as the disease gradually worsens, the difficulties of remembering to take medications, pay bills, and make other decisions that can negatively impact daily life become more frequent and require greater attention. It can be difficult to know the right time to place those with dementia into a professional care facility, but it may be the healthiest, safest, and best long-term care decision that could be made.
Recognizing the Signs
Facilities that are designed to work with dementia patients are staffed with professionals who are trained to work with those needing specialized care. A few signs that a person may need memory care professionals include:
- Behavioral changes. As with most health conditions, a person’s behavior plays a significant role in determining how their health is impacting them. Changes in social activity or withdrawal, changes in daily functions such as driving or daily hygiene routines, and increased anxiety or agitation could all be significant signs of progressing dementia.
- Physical safety is jeopardized because of confusion or disorientation. This can be one of the more significant and dangerous signs. As these symptoms increase, driving or leaving the home alone can be very difficult tasks. Confusion could cause a patient to forget driving rules, or if they leave for a walk, they could forget how to get home.
- Overall physical health declines. This could indicate broader dementia-related issues, such as forgetfulness to shop for groceries or eat or even a lapse in taking medication on a consistent basis. They could also make themselves more ill by overdosing on medication because they do not remember taking the appropriate dosage.
- The person charged with their care becomes ill or increasingly unable to provide that care. Many who suffer from dementia are cared for by other loved ones or spouses. When the health or wellbeing of that person changes, it can become increasingly difficult to provide the necessary care.
- Incontinence. Unfortunately, this can be an increasingly difficult side effect of dementia. As incontinence increases, many care providers find it more and more difficult to take care of the patient.
Making the Decision for Memory Care
While recognizing the signs of dementia development is important, knowing the right time to place a loved one into memory care comes down to a few simple questions.
- Is my loved one safe in their current environment?
- Could my loved one cause harm to another person?
- How does my loved one feel about their current situation?
- What is the advice of the medical professionals who help provide regular care?
- Can my loved one receive care in their home and remain protected and safe, or would a facility provide a better situation?
- If I were in the shoes of my loved one, what decision would I want those around me to make for my own care?
The answers to these questions could provide the clarity that you may need to seek the best care and support for your loved one. It is important, however, to remember that facilities are designed to help those suffering from mid-to-late stages of dementia, including Alzheimer’s. Many have units designated for memory care that are tailored to help those needing day-to-day support services through the assistance of trained professionals.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How Long Can a Person With Dementia Live at Home?
A: The amount of time a patient can remain at home varies. Some who suffer from the disease can live the remainder of their lives at home, while others will need the assistance of trained professionals in a long-term care facility. Any timeline related to a medical diagnosis varies from person to person and should be monitored through regular checkups with a medical professional.
Q: Do Dementia Patients Do Better at Home?
A: Because dementia is a cognitive disorder, the longer a person can stay in their own home, the more benefits it can provide. There is familiarity in the home, which can provide a sense of security and even ease the mind of a person who has been diagnosed with dementia. In a home, there are routines that a person completes daily. The repetition of these day-to-day routines also helps provide a consistent environment.
Q: When Should a Dementia Patient Not Live at Home?
A: There is no set timeline, but as discussed in this blog, family members should consider the person’s ability to take care of themselves, perform daily tasks, and ensure the safety and security of themselves and those around them. Each dementia patient will go through different stages of the disease, so it is important to pay attention to increasing symptoms and not to specific timelines.
Q: What Are the Final Stages of Dementia?
A: Late stages of dementia include a severe decrease in the ability to communicate properly. Many people with dementia will be able to remain communicative with those around them, but the communication will be inconsistent and often incoherent. Cognitive skills will continue to decline, and personality changes will become more severe. In these late stages, it is important for continued positive interaction from friends and family, even if it is difficult for them to do so.
Professional Care from Rocky Mountain Assisted Living for Memory Care
Making the decision to place a loved one in the care of professionals for dementia can be extremely difficult. However, the benefits of such care can be comforting to the patient and their family. If you have questions about long-term care for your loved one who has been diagnosed with dementia, contact us today, and our medical professionals can help provide you with information to make the decision in the best interest of your loved one.