Signs a Senior Needs Memory Care
As we age we lose brain cells which can result in us forgetting a name or where we left our keys. This is normal aging that we call a “senior moment.” This is not the memory loss that requires special care.
We love our elders, but sometimes the care they need is more than we can provide at home. A person with memory loss that interferes with their normal daily activities may need memory care. Memory problems can result from dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke or brain injury. Dementia is a more general term which includes Alzheimer’s disease. While stroke and brain trauma may respond to treatment, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are progressive cognitive problems, meaning that they will not get better but may be slowed down. That also means that the problem comes on slowly – so slowly that you may dismiss the early signs.
Caring for Someone with Alzheimer’s
We often liken dealing with seniors with memory problems to dealing with children. Both groups tend to be forgetful, especially when they are distracted or thinking about something else. But children will get better as they mature. Seniors with memory problems due to dementia will not get better, so it is unrealistic to expect it. Seniors themselves often do not recognize their memory problems, tend to think it is temporary or try to cover it up. From infancy we all have the experience of getting stronger, smarter, better as the years go by. It’s hard to face the fact that you may now be on the downhill slide, getting weaker, more forgetful and sometimes sicker as time goes by. Even for seniors who are healthy, some seemingly minor accident, like a fall, can set off a cascade of health-related events.
Caring for a senior can be very demanding, especially since most caregivers also have jobs, families and other demands on their time. If you feel overwhelmed and just want to put off making any big decision because things aren’t too bad right now, you may be fooling yourself. Although dementia comes on slowly, we sometimes dismiss it as “Grandma is having a bad day.” But if it is dementia, Grandma isn’t going to get better. She will continue to have bad days and worse days. It’s time to talk to her doctor about her symptoms and possible options.
Some Signs to Watch for in Your Senior Loved One
- Memory loss
- Hygiene problems
- Extreme personality changes
- Sudden mood swings
- Becoming physically violent or verbally abusive
- Wandering off
If your loved one is living independently or with you, these are signs that it’s time to see your doctor. If it is dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, you may want to consider a home. If she is already in a home, it may be time to think about getting her a more advanced level of care.
Memory care is usually given in a specialized facility, wing, unit, or program. It will offer structured daily activities and routine that is helpful for dementia patients. Alzheimer’s care facilities are licensed and staffed to handle the greater demands of caring for patients with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
You can find local Alzheimer’s care facilities in your town at SeniorAdvisor.com.