This is never an easy topic. Many families understandably find it stressful and even a bit overwhelming to think about when to move a loved one from assisted living to memory care. But it’s important to understand in case you’re ever faced with this decision.
The first thing to know is that if your loved one’s senior living community is properly managing their care and communicating with you and other family members, there should be no surprises.
Differences in Senior Care: Assisted Living vs. Memory Care
Let’s start with a quick overview of the differences between assisted living and memory care. Not all long-term care options are the same. You may already know this, but if you’re just beginning to do your research or need a refresher, let’s quickly go through the differences.
Assisted living and memory care communities both provide:
- Medication management
- Assistance with activities of daily living
- Daily meals
Assisted living communities are designed to support the independence of their residents while providing just the right amount of assistance with activities of daily living and personal care.
Memory care is a type of long-term nursing community that offers specialized dementia care due to a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
Signs It’s Time to Move from Assisted Living to Memory Care
If your loved one starts showing any of these signs of dementia and their actions compromise their safety or the safety of others, moving from assisted living to memory care is most likely in their best interest and will have a positive impact on their quality of life:
- Wandering off
- Getting lost
- Aggression that escalates quickly
- Frequent bouts of forgetfulness
- Deteriorating hygiene
- Difficulty socializing
- Changing eating habits
- Problems participating in activities
3 Considerations in Deciding When to Move From Assisted Living to Memory Care
The signs above may not occur all at once or to the same degree. Everyone reacts differently to Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. If we had to boil it down to three things to look for when evaluating the right time to move from assisted living to memory care, these are the most helpful:
1. Losing interest in activities they’ve always enjoyed.
Assisted living communities are similar in design and scope to independent living communities. The goal at these communities is to help residents maintain their independence as long as possible. As such, assisted living communities generally include multiple dining options, a range of independent and group activities, and regular social opportunities.
If your loved one suddenly stops participating in community events, no longer wants to eat their meals in the dining room and becomes more and more isolated, these are clear signs they may be finding it difficult to handle normal activities, even those they’ve long enjoyed. In this case, transitioning to memory care might help them remain properly stimulated and engaged by providing the right level of support and appropriate activities.
2. Progressively needing more support.
Is your loved one calling you or other family members more often? Are they asking for more frequent or longer visits? This, too, can be a sign that they are no longer comfortable in their assisted living community and are looking for familiar faces and trusted family members to provide them with the assistance they’d normally receive from the community.
This is another sign your loved one’s dementia is progressing and that they need the more guided support of a memory care environment. By helping them avoid overstimulation, memory care providers can reduce your loved one’s feelings of anxiety. The right environment will ensure they feel safe and are more comfortable.
3. Confusion and losing track of normal day-to-day things.
As dementia gradually progresses, your loved one may appear more confused and forgetful. When they reach the point where they can no longer keep track of mealtimes and activities and aren’t able to keep up with their personal affairs, it is probably time to consider a move from assisted living to memory care.
When you visit, are there piles of unopened mail? Does your loved one often complain that they’ve misplaced items? Is their residence unusually cluttered or disorganized? These are all signs your loved one needs more support than they’re currently receiving in assisted living.
Sagewood Offers a Safe and Supportive Environment
Each member of our memory care team is trained in the innovative and proven Heartfelt CONNECTIONS – A Memory Care Program®. This is a comprehensive, individualized program based on the latest in memory care research and best practices that starts with getting to know each resident’s life story and focusing on each resident’s capabilities.
Your loved one does not have to be a current resident to be admitted to our memory care program. Desert Willow Assisted Living and Memory Care at Sagewood accepts direct admissions, and every memory care resident gets a private suite. To learn more about our memory care community, contact us today. We’re here to help.