When to Move to Memory Care: A Guide for Families

As we grow older, it’s not unusual for our cognitive abilities to change. For some, these changes are mild and manageable. However, for others, behavioral changes may signal the onset of dementia or Alzheimer’s.

Cordwainer Memory Care | Seniors discussing memory care
When is it time for memory care? Our compassionate caregiving team can help you decide when it’s right.

Knowing when to move a loved one to memory care can be challenging but is essential for their well-being and safety. Know that you are not alone: The Cordwainer in Norwell, MA, has compassionate team members who can help you understand the stages of Alzheimer’s and dementia. That’s how you can recognize when it’s time to consider memory care and choose the right community for your loved one.

What are the stages of dementia?

Dementia and Alzheimer’s progress through several stages, each with distinct characteristics. Understanding these stages can help you answer questions like these:

  • What stage of dementia is sundowning?
  • What stage of dementia is falling?
  • What stage of dementia is repetition?

There are three main stages of dementia and Alzheimer’s—in many cases, the symptoms overlap.

Early Stage

In the early stages of dementia and Alzheimer’s, individuals may experience mild memory loss, often misplacing items or forgetting names. They might forget recent events or conversations but can still function independently with minimal support. During this stage, they may need reminders and assistance with more complex tasks.

Middle Stage

Cognitive decline becomes more apparent during the middle stage. This is when symptoms like confusion, language difficulty, and behavior changes surface. Repetition is often observed in the middle stage of dementia. Sundowning and falling typically occur in the middle to late stages of dementia.*

Families often notice their loved ones repeating questions or stories or needing assistance with daily activities in the middle stage. Cognitive decline becomes more significant. These individuals may also experience mood swings and seem confused more often. Additional, intensive support is required.

*Sundowning refers to increased agitation, confusion, and behavioral symptoms that often occur in the late afternoon or evening in individuals with dementia.

Late Stage

In the late stage, individuals with dementia require comprehensive care. They may lose the ability to communicate, recognize loved ones, or perform basic activities like eating and dressing. Family members usually have prominent accident concerns, like the risk of their loved one falling or forgetting to turn off the stove.

In this stage, individuals lose the ability to respond to their environment, communicate, and eventually control movement. Around-the-clock care becomes necessary to ensure their comfort and well-being.

Signs It’s Time for Memory Care

Knowing when to relocate from a private home or when to move from assisted living to memory care can ensure your loved one receives the necessary support. Here are key signs it might be time:

  • Increased Care Needs. If they constantly struggle with daily activities, it’s a clear signal that a higher level of care is needed.
  • Safety Concerns. If your loved one is prone to wandering, experiences sundowning, or is at risk of falling, memory care offers a secure environment tailored to their needs.
  • Behavioral Changes. Significant changes in behavior, such as increased agitation, aggression, or paranoia, often indicate that specialized care is necessary. Memory care communities like The Cordwainer have trained professionals who handle these challenges effectively.
  • Declining Health. Dementia often leads to other health issues, including weight loss, malnutrition, or infections. Memory care communities provide comprehensive medical support for closely monitoring your loved one’s health.

Is there a test to see if you have dementia?

Several tests, including cognitive assessments and brain imaging, serve as measurements for dementia symptoms. Early diagnosis is vital for planning appropriate care and managing symptoms effectively.

Tools like the Dementia FAST Scale (Functional Assessment Staging) provide a structured way to evaluate cognitive decline. This scale measures various functions, from memory and orientation to self-care abilities. Your loved one’s physician can tell you more about these tests and tools and guide you toward choosing a memory care community.

Choosing the Right Memory Care Community

Finding the right memory care community involves careful consideration. Visit several, observe the environments, and take notes. Look for cleanliness, a calm atmosphere, and secure areas designed to prevent wandering.

Memory care should offer specialized programs that cater to residents’ cognitive and physical needs. Check if the community provides regular medical evaluations, physical therapy, and access to specialized health care professionals. Look for personalized care plans that address your loved one’s specific requirements and activities to promote engagement and wellness.

Compassionate, well-trained professionals are essential for providing quality memory care, so meet the team members and observe their interactions with residents. Ask about their experience and training in dementia care, and ensure the community has protective measures in place.

Choosing the right memory care community can transform your loved one’s quality of life. At The Cordwainer, we offer compassionate, comprehensive care designed to meet the unique needs of individuals with dementia and Alzheimer’s. Our caregiving team can answer your questions about when is it time for memory care.

We are here to support your family during this challenging time.

Plan a Visit to The Cordwainer, Your Partner in Memory Care

Schedule a visit and see firsthand how our dedicated team and tailored programs can make a difference in your loved one’s life. Your family’s peace of mind and your loved one’s well-being are our top priorities.

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