No one doubts the impact Alzheimer’s disease and similar memory-related illnesses have on older people—and their families.
One of the key issues families face is safety.
Not only do memory-related illnesses make it more difficult for older adults to make safe decisions, but they also can make living alone increasingly difficult. Many times, seniors need a family member to care for them, or families may need to hire someone to ensure their loved one is safe, their needs are being met and they are living the best life possible.
Unfortunately, older adults with dementia may no longer be able to live alone after a time. If you have a loved one currently living at home and you find yourself wondering if that arrangement is still safe or when it may be time to plan a move to a memory-care community, here are signs that may help you in determining a plan:
● A loved one is becoming increasingly depressed, agitated and aggressive. Dementia can cause loved ones to act out, feel isolated and even be suspicious of others. In such cases, it may be time to consult a professional about a move. Those who work in senior living communities are trained to deal with this situation, calm behaviors and tailor programming, socialization and more to meet specific needs.
● Wandering is beginning to occur more frequently. Those with memory-related illnesses can tend to forget where they are, wander or try to find a place that’s less noisy, crowded and more comfortable.
If everyday activities are causing your loved one to wander, consider making a move to a memory care community. In the meantime, install locks on doors, alarms on windows and exterior doors and ensure walkways are well-lighted in case a loved one does wander.
● The person can no longer care for him- or herself or take medications properly. Medication management is a big safety hazard. If your loved one is no longer able to take prescriptions properly, is at risk of taking too many doses or skipping them altogether, you may want to hire someone to assist or consider a move to a memory care community.
And if you are noticing your loved one is no longer showering, is wearing the same clothes multiple days in a row or is having trouble with personal hygiene, you may want to speak to a professional.
● Care needs are increasing rapidly. If it seems as though your loved one’s needs are changing on a daily basis and you can no longer assist the person at home and are suffering from caregiver stress, please talk to the team at a memory care community. Staff members will be able to help you make a decision on how to continue caring for your loved one, manage your stress and support your loved one throughout this journey.
● Living at home alone is diminishing the loved one’s quality of life. Seniors living at home by themselves can feel isolated. They may not have access to programming, activities or social opportunities or be able to connect with others as they would in a memory care community. This situation can lead to depression, anxiety and further difficult behaviors.
● The person’s home needs many adaptations. Many older adults with memory-related illnesses may need to have their home adapted to make it safer. Often, this step can be costly, full of hassles and stressful for both caregivers and loved ones.
If your loved one’s home needs adaptations such as lighting, railings, bathroom additions or other renovations, you may find it easier to consider a memory care community.
For more information or other assistance, please contact any Diakon Senior Living Community today. We would be happy to help you and your loved one.
Julie Craft, NHA
Executive Director, Frey Village