Is Memory Support Right for My Aging Loved One?
June 17, 2019
Humans are problem-solvers by nature – something that has served us well over the ages. When something serious happens in our lives, like an accident or a diagnosis of serious illness, we naturally react by making plans and hitting the ground running. It’s easier to react this way when a problem is spurred by something sudden and drastic. When it comes to subtler, slower changes such as cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s, knowing how and when to act isn’t as clear-cut. Since symptoms and signs of the disease are progressive and don’t usually require immediate action, it can be hard to know if, or when, Memory Support is right for an aging loved one.
“Many individuals choose to remain at home following the diagnosis of dementia because they are still capable of living independently, and don’t want to move away until they need the help,” says Christine Denton, Executive Director of Heartis Village of Brookfield in Brookfield, WI. Ironically, as the disease progresses, the more help a person needs, the less they want to move away from home due to the way the brain is affected. Many times, it’s the individual’s family and loved ones who will ultimately need to make the decision that Memory Support is the right choice.
“When your loved one gets a diagnosis of dementia, there generally isn’t a reason to move them into Memory Support right away, but there are positives that come from moving to a Memory Support community before they really need the help,” says Christine.“Not only does it provide peace of mind for loved ones and help reduce the anxiety, stress and challenges that can come from caring for an individual with dementia, but it also helps your loved one to make the community their ‘home.’ This means that, as the disease progresses, your loved one will be able to ‘age in place’ in a community that is safe, comfortable and familiar.”
Multiple studies have shown that moving individuals with cognitive diseases into Memory Support communities sooner rather than later results in better mental, physical and emotional health outcomes for the individual.
Assisted Living Memory Support communities like Heartis Village of Brookfield can be an excellent choice for this situation, says Christine. “Since we offer both Assisted Living and Memory Support services at our community, we’re able to help seniors and their families transition from a more independent living style to a 24/7 healthcare plan. It can be really wonderful for families because they don’t have to worry that their loved one is not being taken care of or is an unsafe location. Everything in our community is designed to help meet the needs of our residents so they can live confident, safe and meaningful lives.”
5 Signs that Memory Support Might Be Needed
If you are a caregiver for an aging loved one who is considering whether or not Memory Support would be beneficial, here are five signs you should watch for.
- Signs of dementia
Sure, everyone has “senior moments” now and again, and it does become more common with age. However, when forgetfulness becomes the norm rather than the exception – especially when the forgetfulness includes things like how to pay bills, getting lost when going to familiar places and not remembering the names of your loved ones – these could be the first signs of dementia. If you’ve noticed your aging parent become increasingly forgetful, it may be time to schedule a visit to a physician and get an official diagnosis.
- Caregiver stress
Family members and friends are often considered to be the second victims of dementia, particularly those who are primary caregivers. Being a caregiver for a loved one with dementia is an all-day, every-day job, and it can quickly become unsustainable through no fault of your own. As dementia progresses, a greater level of healthcare assistance is required and it simply can’t be done by one single person. If you as a caregiver have reached a point where providing care for your loved one is all-consuming, it’s time for you to seriously consider moving your family member to a Memory Support community – for their safety and yours.
- Declining health
Memory loss affects our entire lives. As your loved one’s memory worsens, they will forget things such as how to prepare meals, managing medication, driving a car or even whether or not they’ve eaten or bathed or taken care of basic health needs. This leads to declining physical health, increases the risk for injury at home (such as falls or getting lost) or even becoming scammed or being the victim of a violent crime. The peace of mind that can come from a Memory Support community – with nurses and staff available around the clock, secure entrances and exits and on-site security – can be priceless, especially during the mid to late stages of dementia.
- Increased social isolation
Aging adults with dementia who live at home become increasingly isolated and socially removed. This can actually cause the symptoms of dementia to increase. Conversely, individuals living in a Memory Support community have thriving social lives thanks to organized activities, an instant community of friends and caregivers and meaningful activities that bring joy to residents. In fact, research has shown that individuals who move to Memory Support communities can see an improvement in cognitive abilities and a slowdown of the disease progression at times.
- Your gut is telling you it’s time
Ultimately, family members and other loved ones should listen to their instincts. If you suspect in your heart that a Memory Support community would be beneficial to your loved one, it’s probably true. There are many resources you can use to help make your decision easier. Consider speaking with medical professionals, therapists and counselors at Memory Support communities to figure out the best path forward.
“Family members and other caregivers are always operating from a place of love and want to do what’s best for their aging loved one, but sometimes we wait until an accident or another emergency forces our hand,” says Christine. “We encourage loved ones of seniors with dementia to do their research well in advance and proactively make decisions before an emergency happens. While the desire to live at home is completely understandable and can be a good choice in the beginning stages, take that time to visit, tour and explore different Memory Support communities so you have the best information available. By transitioning before it’s completely needed, your loved one will have a better adjustment, a better quality of life and a better future for the dementia journey.”
We Would Love to Hear from You!
If you have comments or questions about Heartis Village of Brookfield or our signature VIVA! Programming, we’d love to hear from you. Just call 262-422-6591.
Be Inspired. Every Day.
Opening Late 2019!
Offering Assisted Living and A Knew Day® Memory Support, Heartis Village of Brookfield in Brookfield, WI, has a unique perspective on senior living that changes minds … and changes lives.
While many people think all senior living communities are the same, that couldn’t be further from the truth. At Heartis Village of Brookfield, you’ll notice our difference right away. We believe that moving to a senior living community is a natural step in life’s journey that should be celebrated and supported. That’s why we provide an enriching lifestyle where our residents can Be Inspired. Every Day!
The desire to lead a full, active and meaningful life never diminishes, even if we need care to live an independent lifestyle. So our signature assisted living and A Knew Day® Memory Support provides our residents with everything they need to experience an engaging lifestyle. What does that mean, exactly? It means…
- Enjoying a lifestyle free from worries with services, amenities, dignity and independence
- Experiencing choice and convenience with an array of floor plans, programming and more
- Focusing on health and wellness – physically, mentally and emotionally
- Having the support of caring professionals who believe aging is a process that should be celebrated and applauded
Offering a variety of apartment floor plans, award-winning VIVA!SM programming by Pathway to Living®, delicious dining options, programming designed around the seven dimensions of wellness and so much more, Heartis Village of Brookfield provides Assisted Living and Memory Support residents with the best of both worlds – the inspiring lifestyle they deserve with the exceptional care they need.
For more information, please call us at 262-422-6591.