It’s not uncommon for older adults with early stage Alzheimer’s disease to continue living independently with help from family or close friends, but there may come a point when their needs exceed what you can provide for them. But how do you know when you’ve reached that point? You can start by learning more about the common signs and symptoms, exploring the different levels of care available, and how to broach conversations about memory care.
Common signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s
It’s easy to chalk up forgetfulness to one of the many effects of getting older. But it’s when memory problems persist that there can be cause for concern. Many of the early signs of Alzheimer’s can be easily brushed off and explained as part of the aging process, so it’s important to educate yourself on the most common symptoms and be able to recognize them when you see them:
- Memory loss, especially recently learned information
- Changes in their ability to plan or problem solve
- Difficulty completing daily tasks
- Confusion about where they are or how they got there
- Vision problems
- Trouble holding or following conversations
- Leaving their belongings in unusual places
- Poor judgment or decision-making
- Withdrawal from work or social activities
- Mood and personality changes
Many of these symptoms are manageable in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, but it’s when they worsen to the point that a person is a danger to themselves or others that you may want to consider care options.
Memory care options for individuals living with Alzheimer’s
As difficult as it can be to live with Alzheimer’s, there is no shortage of care options available to help caregivers provide for the needs of their loved one as they chart a path forward.
Adult Day Center
Your loved one may be able to continue living at home, even while demonstrating the early signs of Alzheimer’s. If you’re their primary caregiver, check to see if there is an adult day center in the area. Adult day centers are health facilities that can provide your loved one with structure and socialization in a group setting during the day. Not only do they offer quality care during the day for your loved one, but they can also provide much-needed relief and free up time for you to get other things done.
It never hurts to ask for help and in-home care can provide additional support if your loved one is living at home. The cost of in-home care varies from one service to the next and will likely depend on the services you require. Generally, in-home care providers can assist with housekeeping, provide personal or skilled medical care or simply keep your loved one company.
They may not always be willing to admit it, but no one needs respite more than a caregiver. Adult day centers and in-home care are both forms of respite care, but there may also be senior living communities in your area that offer respite care. Though not typically covered by insurance or Medicare, respite care may be worth exploring if there is a provider in your local community.
Adult day centers and in-home care are both adequate options if you only need supplemental care, but there are more hands-on alternatives available to you. Residential care communities are often available specifically for older adults who require memory care, though they may offer varying levels of care. Cost is of course going to be a consideration and it will ultimately depend on the services and amenities offered.
Preparing for a care-needs discussion
If you are preparing to have a conversation with your loved one about the level of memory care they need, understand that it will be harder on you than it is on them. They may very well believe that nothing is wrong with them. It’s important not to argue with them but to be supportive. Make it clear that you love them, you are concerned for them and you want them to be safe.
Don’t hesitate to seek out support for yourself, either. These conversations can be difficult and emotional. Ask a friend for advice, especially if they themselves have had a loved one with Alzheimer’s. If you have a close friend or family member who has a positive influence over your loved one, consider asking them if they are willing to be involved in your conversations. You can lean on the staff members of a memory care community as well, as they should be able to provide tips and guidance.
Memory care services and support at Edgemere
Located in Dallas, Texas, Edgemere is a senior living community that offers independent living, assisted living, skilling nursing, rehabilitation and memory care to residents. If a resident of our independent living community requires a greater level of care, we have a resident care manager on staff who can help them determine if they need to transition to a different level of living. They work closely with home health providers and the residents and their families to determine where a resident would be best served.
Residents of Edgemere’s memory care wing find themselves living in a nurturing and compassionate environment. Members of our team are certified in providing memory care work with individuals and their families to better understand and overcome the challenges of living with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. New technology and techniques are integrated into our programming to ensure that residents live an engaged lifestyle and feel that every day is purposeful and fulfilling.
Maintaining a calm and comfortable environment for our memory care residents is our top priority. The most important thing that we can and must do is treat each resident as a whole person. They each have their own thoughts, feelings, hopes and plans, and having Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia does not change that. We treat every resident with dignity and understand they each have their own unique story and personality.
To learn more about the memory care services we provide for residents at Edgemere, please fill out the form below or give us a call at 214-265-9100.