When to Move from Assisted Living to Memory Care
You should move from assisted living to memory care when you start to experience more frequent or severe effects of a memory impairment or need more help with daily tasks than normal.
Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia are progressive conditions, which means signs and symptoms of the disease get progressively worse. As their condition progresses, people with dementia need an ever-increasing amount of specialized support that is not available in an assisted living environment.
Most assisted living communities offer housing, support services and health care as needed. Assisted living services include medication management, transportation and help with everyday tasks such as dressing and bathing. Memory care communities, in comparison, offer a higher level of support from staff that are trained to support individuals with memory impairments.
Memory care communities, also sometimes known as Alzheimer’s care or dementia care communities, are structured around the unique needs of people with memory impairments. Staffed with caring, compassionate professionals who understand memory issues, these communities provide care that is more comprehensive than that available in assisted living communities. While both assisted living communities and memory care communities focus on maintaining independence, memory care communities emphasize safety, employ a more proactive approach to socialization and activities and employ staff with a keen awareness of sensory issues.
Dementia progresses at an uneven pace, worsening rapidly for some people and advancing over the course of years for others. This can make it difficult to determine the right time to move from assisted living to memory care. Fortunately, there are clear signs that it may be time to make the move.
6 Signs it is Time to Move from Assisted Living to Memory Care
1. Assisted Living Caregivers Suggest Moving to Memory Care
Assisted living professionals have the training and expertise to recognize the signs of advancing dementia. Ask whether your family member is engaging in group activities, has trouble dressing or eating or is behaving differently and what staff recommends.
2. Your Family Member Wanders
Six in ten people with Alzheimer’s disease will wander, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Even those with the early stages of dementia can be confused or disoriented for a short time. Those that wander are at a higher risk of accidental death, most likely due to their inability to recognize harmful situations.
While assisted living communities provide security, memory care communities provide a higher level of security that helps prevent wandering.
3. Your Family Member Is Lonely or Isolated
Getting out with a family member who has dementia can be challenging for caregivers. Without interaction with other people, though, your family member is likely to feel lonely or isolated. Left unaddressed, these feelings can increase the risk of depression. Lack of interaction and stimulus can cause your family member’s mental condition to deteriorate.
While assisted living communities offer activities, memory care communities fill the day with interesting and fulfilling activities specifically designed for people with Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia. These memory care programs are purposeful and fun, and they can help mitigate much of the anxiety and agitation that often accompanies dementia.
4. Your Family Member Shows Signs Of Unexplained Physical Changes
Unexplained physical changes, such as unintentional weight loss or weight gain, changes in posture and mobility problems can indicate your family member needs a higher level of care. People with memory issues can forget to eat, for example, or forget that they have already eaten and eat again. Slow movements may be a sign of disorientation or confusion.
Memory care professionals closely monitor the food intake, activities and physical health to ensure your family member is healthy and eats regularly.
5. Your Family Member Is Showing Signs Other Than Memory Loss
Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia cause memory loss, but the progression of these conditions also cause other problems that can require advanced care unavailable in an assisted living community. If your family member seems more indecisive than before, has trouble interacting with others or behaves inappropriately, it may be time to move from assisted living to memory care.
6. You Want to Help Your Family Member Get the Most Out Of Life
Both assisted living and memory care communities help people get the most out of life, but memory care communities can provide services and care designed to help people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia lead fulfilling lives, even as the disease progresses. Memory care communities offer activities that help slow memory loss and provide care to ease the physical effects of dementia.
Make the Transition Easier with the Right Community and Timeline
There is no single sign that you or a relative needs to transition to memory care, which also means it can be hard to pinpoint the exact time to move. However, you can use the signs above as markers to indicate you may want to think about a transition.
The move from assisted living to memory care is often easier if the community offers both assisted living and memory care. Georgia retirement communities that offer both make it possible to transition from one type of care to another, without ever leaving the community. This seamless transition helps prevent “transfer trauma,” which is the type of stress a person with dementia can experience when moving into a strange environment.
Heritage of Brookstone is an inviting supportive living community offering assisted living and memory care neighborhoods. We provide compassionate, dignified and respectful care to those with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. For more information, contact us online or by telephone at 770-423-0080.