Alzheimer’s is a disease that affects every person differently. Many in the early stages of Alzheimer’s are able to continue to maintain a measure of independence while relying on support from family or close friends. But for others, their cognitive functions can decline rapidly to the point where they are a danger to themselves. To better understand when the time is right to consider memory care options, learn more about the common signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s and the levels of care available to help provide for the needs of your loved one.
Common signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s is a degenerative brain disease that breaks down your memory, thinking and reasoning skills. Some of the most common symptoms can be mistaken for signs of aging. It’s when the symptoms, particularly memory problems, begin to have a serious impact on a person’s ability to live their life and maintain their independence that you need to be concerned.
Here are ten of the most common symptoms a person in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease is likely to experience:
- Forgetting recently learned information
- Struggles with problem-solving
- Difficulty completing everyday tasks
- Losing track of time or where they are
- Vision problems and spatial impairment
- Problems speaking or writing
- Misplacing things in unusual places
- Decreased or poor judgment
- Withdrawal from hobbies and social activities
- Dramatic mood and personality changes
Memory care options for individuals living with Alzheimer’s
Because Alzheimer’s progresses in stages, people in the early stage of the disease are often able to continue living their lives, though adjustments must be made and precautions taken. If you are a caregiver providing for a loved one who is living with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, know that there are a variety of care options available to help ease your burden.
Adult Day Center
Adult day centers provide a safe and supportive environment for older adults, providing much needed relief for caregivers who may need time to rest and take care of themselves. The purpose of an adult day center is to provide stimulating social and physical activities for older adults, which contributes to their health and well-being. When checking for adult day centers in your area, consider their hours of operation, cost and fees and the types of services they offer.
If your loved one is able to continue living at home, you may need assistance in providing for their needs. In-home care can provide a variety of medical and non-medical services. Non-medical in-home care providers can assist your loved one with daily living. Medical in-home care providers are often licensed health professionals who provide skilled care services.
As the primary caregiver for your loved one, you don’t have to go it alone. Respite care can provide exactly what the name suggests, offering both the care your loved one needs and the support you need. Adult day centers and in-home care typically offer levels of respite care, otherwise you may want to check your area for a senior living community that offers respite care. One important aspect of respite care to keep in mind is that it is not typically covered by health insurance or Medicare.
Residential care is a good option if your loved one requires more hands-on care. Generally, there are residential care communities tailored specifically to older adults in need of memory care, but you may also expand your search to senior living communities that offer a continuum of care options on-site. Cost will certainly be a consideration as you explore different communities and it will likely depend on the level of care and the types of services and amenities that are offered.
Preparing for a care needs discussion
Making a decision that is in the best interest of your loved one isn’t always easy. What kind of care and support do they need now? What level of care might they need in the future? You’re going to be asking yourself a lot of these questions through the decision-making process, and your loved one who is showing signs of Alzheimer’s will need to be part of the discussions, as well. It can be a difficult and emotional process.
Our advice is to start having those conversations as soon as possible. Once you have started to notice the first signs of Alzheimer’s, it is better to say something then, rather than waiting for more symptoms to appear. It will also be better to begin discussions when your loved one’s cognitive functioning is at its highest. Be prepared for the possibility that they may honestly believe there is nothing wrong with them. Think through how to best approach that conversation with them and consider which family members or close friends you want to be involved. If there is someone who holds a positive influence over your loved one, ask them to be involved.
Memory care services and support at Abbey Delray
Located in Delray Beach, Florida, Abbey Delray is a senior retirement community that offers independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing, rehabilitation and memory care to residents. If you are a resident already living in our independent living community, you can transfer into a different residence to receive a greater level of care as needed. Residents in need of memory care, for example, can receive this specialized care within the community they know and love, reducing the anxiety accompanying a difficult diagnosis.
Residents of our memory care unit all received personalized care, developed with the resident, their family and our support team. Not only do we have team members certified in providing care for seniors living with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, but we also have a nurse and a certified nursing assistant on-site 24 hours a day to provide assistance when residents need it.
To learn more about the memory care services we provide for residents at Abbey Delray, fill out the form below or give us a call at 561-454-2000.