Many adult children worry about their parents as they age. Did you know dementia symptoms can vary day to day making it difficult to pinpoint when it may be time for memory care? Worrying behavior, safety concerns, and caregiver burnout can be top signs that it may be time for a memory care facility. These questions can help you evaluate your family’s situation:
1. Have you noticed changes in your parent’s behavior? Have friends or family members commented on the changes in behavior? If you are your parent’s full time caregiver, it may be difficult to notice progressive changes, such as behavioral shifts and steady weight loss. Try to take note of what others are saying.
2. Is hygiene a concern? People with dementia may forget daily hygiene practices, like bathing or changing clothes. They may struggle to style their hair or apply makeup.
3. Does your loved one wander? Seniors could become confused or disoriented and wander far from home without realizing where they are or how to get back. This can be dangerous, especially if your loved one wanders near busy roads or gets caught in severe weather.
4. Are living conditions safe? People with dementia may begin to hoard household items, or neglect cleaning or laundry. They could eat spoiled food, forget to clean up after pets, or forget to turn off the stove.
5. Are medications properly managed? Forgetting to take prescription medication, or taking too much of it, can lead to serious consequences.
6. Is your parent getting proper nutrition? Many seniors aging in place may forget to eat, or they may overeat after forgetting that they’ve recently had a meal. Significant changes in weight are a warning sign that it may be time for memory care.
If you are the primary caregiver to your parent, there are also questions you should be asking of yourself. It can be difficult to admit but caregiver burnout can have serious consequences for you and your aging parent, both physically and emotionally. Do you feel like nothing is really going well? If so, it may be time to seek some help when caring for someone with dementia. It can be common for dementia caregivers to feel frustrated and overwhelmed sometimes, but if left untreated, those feelings can lead to burnout and negative consequences for both the caregiver and his or her loved one.
If, in answering these questions, you feel like your parent may need memory care, consider asking your aging parent’s doctor about next steps and a dementia diagnosis. Memory care communities can provide the support needed for your parent to age in a safe, stimulating environment where his or her medical and emotional needs are met.
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