One in five Americans over age 65 experiences some degree of cognitive impairment. And while many people assume that Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause for memory loss, there are actually many different types of dementia conditions that fall under this umbrella term.
One of the earliest symptoms of Alzheimer's disease is forgetfulness. While it's normal to lose things like keys, passwords, and phone numbers over time, it becomes worrisome when those losses begin affecting daily activities such as cooking meals or shopping. As the cognitive disease progresses, patients may start forgetting how to complete simple tasks like brushing their teeth or dressing. They might even forget what they had for breakfast.
The good news is that early detection can help slow down the progression of Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia. Doctors use a variety of tests to diagnose the condition, including blood work, brain scans, and psychological evaluations. But there are certain warning signs that indicate it's time to consider moving your loved one into a memory care facility.
When Is It Time for a Memory Care Facility? Lookout for These Signs
ADLs (activities of daily life) include things like dressing, eating, grooming, toileting, etc. These are commonly used benchmarks for judging whether someone requires additional assistance throughout the day.
It’s best to have a physician assess your loved one’s physical abilities and if they need assisted living or memory care services. To gauge a senior's abilities and safety, the doctor may ask if your loved one:
- Gets lost on routes they take frequently, such as going to the grocery store or taking a walk around the neighborhood
- Have trouble remembering to eat or drink
- Isn't taking their medication appropriately
- Is struggling to bathe regularly or get dressed as usual
If any of these red flags are present, your loved one's doctor may suggest a mental status exam.
In some cases, families are able to recognize early warning signs of dementia. In others, they aren’t sure what to look out for. But bringing up safety concerns is an effective way to start conversations about cognitive impairment.
Your loved one’s doctor will recommend asking your relatives or your loved one’s caregivers if there are any safety issues related to your loved one's behavior. These could include leaving burners or ovens on while cooking, leaving doors open or pets unattended, wandering off, or having unexplained injuries.
When it's time for a memory care facility, one of our memory care communities will be some of your best options for treatment.
When In-Home Memory Care Just Isn’t Enough
Memory care facilities provide services for people who live with Alzheimer's disease or another form of a progressive degenerative brain disorder. Nurses in memory care facilities often have certifications or training in memory care that outmatch certifications of in-home memory care providers.
While nursing homes provide 24/7 skilled nursing care, memory care facilities offer a safe and structured environment that's specially designed to protect residents against wandering and self-harm. It’s a reliable next step when in-home care is no longer feasible or sustainable.
Are You Ready to Learn More About Memory Care at the Creeks?
Now you know when it is time for a memory care facility, you can make an educated decision on when to seek out local communities and what type of memory care to look for.
Contact The Creeks today to learn more about our memory care communities near you.