Knowing When It’s Time for Memory Support
One of the hardest decisions a caregiver will have to make is knowing when it’s time for their loved one to move into memory support. While you may know, logically, that it’s the right decision for your loved one, making that call can be very trying and emotional.
“Many family caregivers feel like they’re betraying their loved one by even thinking about placing them in memory support,” says Ashley Lodi, Executive Director of Azpira at Windermere, an Assisted Living and Memory Support community providing thoughtful and award-winning care to seniors. “A lot of times, adult children promise Mom or Dad that they won’t put them in a ‘home,’ so that’s causing them to feel guilty. Or they feel like they’re failing as a caregiver because they can’t take care of their loved one anymore. While these feelings are natural, you must remember that choosing memory support for your loved one is actually a selfless action.”
Ashley says that recognizing that it’s time for memory support for your loved one means that you’re choosing the very best possible care for him or her. “You’ve recognized that you can no longer provide your loved one with the caring assistance and safe environment they need, and you’re taking steps to make sure they can enjoy the highest quality of life possible,” she says.
Individuals with memory issues like Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia will, as the disease progresses, eventually need around-the-clock, professional care, which is something that family caregivers simply can’t provide.
“Memory Support in a community like Azpira at Windermere is provided in a special section of our community and includes caring, highly trained staff who are available around-the-clock, seven days a week,” Ashley explains. “Our purpose is always to provide the best possible care for those with dementia while also creating a positive, fulfilling environment that allows them to make the most of every moment. Memory support also has benefits for family members – it means they’re able to step back from the caregiving role and instead can nurture the relationship they have with their loved one.”
Knowing It’s Time for Memory Support
Ashley says that when it comes to a dementia diagnosis and moving into memory support, sooner is better than later. “The sooner your loved one moves into memory support, the easier it will be for them to recognize the community as their home,” she says. “We also encourage moving sooner rather than later because, with the proper care, we can help our residents manage their symptoms and even stall or slow the progression of the disease for a time.”
As a caregiver, have you been considering when it would be wise to move your loved one into a memory support community? Here are some things to consider to determine whether a move would be a good option for your loved one (and yourself).
Is it becoming harder to manage your loved one’s health?
Individuals with dementia usually have other underlying health conditions, which can result in many different medications. As a caregiver, it’s your responsibility to make sure your loved one is safely taking their medicine – which can be quite an ordeal, especially if you’re talking about at dozens of pills throughout the day. Plus, you have to monitor your loved one’s health and make sure that he or she gets to the doctor when necessary. When you’re juggling all the aspects of caregiving, this can be incredibly difficult.
Is your loved one’s mobility decreasing?
A dementia diagnosis doesn’t just mean that your loved one’s memory will fade. It also means that everything from their mobility to physical dexterity and abilities will regress, too. As the disease progresses, it becomes increasingly harder for a family caregiver to help their loved one perform even the most common everyday tasks like using the toilet, getting dressed and walking down a hallway. This can eventually result in accidents or injury. Is your loved one exhibiting worrisome behaviors like wandering? Dementia causes a variety of worrisome behaviors like wandering – which can be terrifying for a caregiver and life-threatening to your loved one. In order to ensure a safe and secure home, caregivers usually have to spend large amounts of money to install safety features. Even if you do invest in security features, many caregivers still worry about loved ones getting out. And that’s just for starters. There are plenty of other worrisome behaviors that those with dementia may exhibit, like aggression, anxiety or hallucinating.
Are you experiencing increasing levels of stress or burnout?
Many caregivers don’t often think about their own health and safety when it comes to moving a loved one into memory support. But that can be the biggest reason you should consider it. Caregiving is incredibly stressful, and the threat of caregiver burnout is incredibly common. Many caregivers report health issues and increased stress levels after becoming a caregiver. Ultimately, you can’t provide good care unless you, yourself, are cared for. Sometimes, the best thing you can do for you and your loved one is to get them the support they need … so you can enjoy the care and support you need.
How To Make the Move
Once you’ve made the decision that memory support is the best choice for your loved one … now what? While actually moving your loved one requires coordination and a lot of planning, there are many tips and tricks you can use to help smooth the transition and make it as easy as possible for everyone involved.
Visit your loved one’s new community several times before the move. Visiting the community with your loved one can help them potentially become more familiar with it. It also provides a good opportunity for staff members to meet and learn about your loved one so they can help make the transition a little less scary and unfamiliar.
Decorate their new space with familiar items. Before you move your loved one into the new community, set up the room with familiar items that will help the space feel more like home. Personal and familiar touches will help your loved one feel calmer and more comfortable. It also ensures that there are familiar memories and faces to help them acclimate to their new home.
Plan on spending moving day with your loved one. The very first day at the new community can be difficult for everyone, and it’s better if you can clear your schedule so you don’t have to worry about work or other matters. Be sure to talk with the staff prior to move in to make a plan (and get their opinion on how the day should go – they will more than likely have some good insights).
Become a part of the community. After your loved one moves, visiting on a regular basis will help both of you settle into a more “normal” pattern. This also gives you the opportunity to become familiar with the community, get to know the staff and become more adjusted to this next chapter of the journey.
Although it is a tough decision to move your loved one to memory support, remember that you are doing it out of love. You’re helping provide them with the very best care possible so they can continue enjoying a high quality of life. With compassion, time and assistance, you will settle into a new normal and be able to better focus on what’s important: the existing relationship you have with your loved one.
Live Well. Age Well. Be Well.
At Azpira at Windermere, located in Windermere, FL, we’re redefining how older adults Live Well. Age Well. Be Well. Our lifestyle is far from “typical.” Our vibrant and engaging Assisted Living and uplifting A Knew Day® Memory Support inspires our residents to live passionately with purpose, every single day.
Step outside your apartment and you’ll experience a community offering thoughtful and award-winning VIVA!SM programs that are proven to enhance your life spiritually, mentally and physically. Azpira at Windermere’s team of specially trained wellness professionals are passionate about building unique relationships with every resident and guiding older adults as they set new goals, forge new relationships and live life at their own pace.
Azpira at Windermere is all about creating an environment that is ahead of the curve in wellness, fitness, spirituality, technology and preventative care. As the times and technology are changing, so are we. Residents and their families, along with our Resident Care Manager, will meticulously build a wellness plan that addresses medicine distribution, fitness objectives, nutrition needs and socialization goals.
Get excited about life at Azpira at Windermere. Our team is eager to guide you on the path you want to live – whether it’s enjoying your own city, exploring new ones, spending time with old friends or spearheading a program of your own, this is your time to live the life you want with the luxury you deserve.
To learn more or to schedule a personal visit, contact us at 407-278-8508