As people age, a natural phenomenon that will happen to many of us is memory loss. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), about 40% of adults 65 or older experience age-associated memory impairment. A smaller but significant percentage of these adults will develop some form of dementia, a degenerative disease that leads to memory impairment and general cognitive decline.
In this blog, we’ll discuss how to talk about memory loss with those affected and when you should consider moving a loved one to a memory care facility that is specialized for their care.
Should You Tell Someone They Are Losing Their Memory?
Let’s start with the earliest stages of dementia. Early on, pre-diagnosis, it can be hard to tell that someone is actively experiencing cognitive decline due to dementia. However, it’s important to help individuals experiencing cognitive decline retain their independence and a sense of autonomy. Sharing their condition with them and getting a formal diagnosis is an important first step.
How Long Can a Person with Dementia Live at Home?
Many families understandably choose to support their loved one with dementia at home for as long as they can. Deciding when to move a loved one from their home or their family’s home to memory care can be difficult. You don’t want to move them sooner than necessary but certainly don’t want to wait for something unfortunate to happen that forces your hand. Generally, when an individual’s dementia progresses to a state where they need constant care beyond what family caregivers can provide, dementia patients should live out their days in a home catered to their 24/7 support.
How Do You Know When It’s Time for Long-term Care?
As dementia progresses in individuals, their cognitive and functional decline will reach a point that means that they are no longer capable of caring for themselves. While many family members lovingly step up into caregiving roles or hire formal helpers for in-home companion care, more specialized care is often necessary. For dementia, when to move to assisted living or memory care facilities will differ based on an individual’s specific level of care needs.
Here are a few signs that memory care is needed:
- Safety concerns. Dementia patients’ safety can easily become compromised as their condition worsens, especially as they tend to wander, neglect their personal hygiene, have accidents, etc.
- Increased care needs. With increased behavioral issues and reliance on others for ADL support, it can make sense to have trained professionals at the beck and call of your loved one.
- Social isolation. Many aging individuals, especially dementia patients, experience loneliness and isolation. Memory care facilities provide structured activities that helpfully promote socialization and stimulation.
- Caregiver strain. Caregiver burnout is a serious matter, and there often comes a time when an individual’s care needs surpass what can be provided for them at home.
- Worsening quality of life. Ultimately, if you notice your loved one’s quality of life declining, it is time to consider if a facility catered to their care is a better option for their livelihood.
How Long Do Most People Live in Memory Care?
Memory care can be beneficial for dementia patients across multiple stages of the condition, but especially for those entering its mid-to-late stages. These comfortable residences are designed specifically for individuals with memory impairment, loss, or challenges. The average length of stay in memory care homes is around two to three years, although it will, of course, vary across individuals.
How to Tell a Dementia Patient They Are Going to a Nursing Home
When you’ve made the choice to place the majority of a loved one’s care in the hands of experts in dealing with dementia, you will, at some point, have to tell them where they are headed. It can be hard to begin these conversations and harder still for some patients to grasp the idea of leaving their homes. Here are some pieces of advice for how to tell your loved one with dementia that they’re going to a nursing home or memory care facility:
- Choose a private, calm setting where they feel comfortable and safe.
- Explain the necessity of increased care, perhaps citing examples of times when it has been difficult for your family to fully take on caregiving duties.
- Leave them space to share their feelings and empathize with them as much as possible.
Story Cottage: Indiana’s Leading Memory Care Community
If you want to learn more about how to get a dementia patient into a nursing home or memory care facility, receive dementia resources for family members, or provide your loved one with the best care in the state of Indiana, contact us today to learn more about our best-in-class memory facilities.