Think about it this way: You work with a qualified physician when it comes to matters of health. You partner with trained financial experts (advisor, CPA, etc.) for matters of money. And unless you’re a mechanical whiz, you count on someone trustworthy and professional to work on your home and motor vehicles. So why go it alone when it comes to senior living and/or memory care? Now more than ever, you just don’t have to.
So if you have questions about how best to ensure lasting care for a loved one(s) experiencing cognitive decline, the help you need may be closer than you think. Start here, for example, as we provide straight answers to three of the most important memory-care-related questions for aging seniors and their families.
Are There Any Early Warning Signs of Dementia and/or Cognitive Decline?
Yes. Cognitive changes, although often overlooked or simply mistaken as being part of the normal aging process, can be evident in the earlier stages. The following “red flags” may signal that it’s time to engage your professional resources and prepare for future possibilities:
- Conversational challenges: Struggling to recall words and names and sustain short-or medium-length conversations; omissions that go beyond the realm of simple forgetfulness
- Routine challenges: Giving up on long-time hobbies and pastimes; drifting apart from friends or forgetting their names
- Unintended weight loss: Can indicate a number of potential issues, from physical and/or cognitive decline to depression
- Personal appearance and care: Is the laundry done, and is their clothing clean and well-kept? Do they change clothes as regularly as before, and assemble outfits that are neat and presentable?
- Subpar home living conditions: An unkempt or unsafe home can signal that the individual is no longer physically and/or cognitively able to properly care for it, and would likely benefit from full-time support
What Should Families Look for When Evaluating Memory Care Providers?
Naturally, there’s a lot to consider when choosing the right memory care provider for your loved one. Factors like location quality, ease of visitation, comfort and cleanliness, safety and many others will come into play. However, prioritizing the features and characteristics that are most important can do much to standardize and simplify the process, avoiding confusion and making it that much easier to choose.
On any community visit or tour, look for (and ask about) things like:
- Care philosophy: What evidence and science-based principles create the foundation for the community’s approach to resident care? Every community should be able to readily describe its philosophy in detail, and each can be different in this respect
- Specialized program offerings: What care and/or lifestyle services are available that are unique to that, particular community? Any special accreditations or certifications?
- Communication structure: How do care professionals from the community ensure regular, seamless and effective communication with residents, families, medical professionals and others?
What Are the Usual Mistakes and Common Pitfalls to Avoid?
We see it all too often that while struggling under the weight of this emotional decision, too many families hesitate, or even worse, they never do decide on a proper memory care solution for their loved ones. That makes delays and indecisiveness the most pervasive problem to avoid…but it’s not always selecting a community that’s the hard part. For many, the indecisiveness stems from sentimental attachment and the desire to ensure a loved one’s care by administering it themselves.
In fact, the lingering stigma of asking for help is one that families typically aren’t ready for, and it’s why so many struggle to overcome it.
In emotional times, it’s often difficult to recognize when the best thing you can do for your loved one is to ask for help yourself. Indeed, a unified family is a great start, but when you join forces with a quality memory care provider whose mission is the same as yours—to ensure lasting happiness and lifestyle quality for your loved one(s)—you get a recipe for exceptional care.
So don’t go it alone. Be knowledgeable and prepared, and act early on to ensure the best possible lifestyle quality for your loved one by partnering with a first-quality memory care provider.