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When to Move From Assisted Living to Memory Care

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Is your loved one beginning to show signs of dementia? As emotionally challenging as it is, it may be time to move them from Assisted Living to Memory Care. This decision carries much weight—it’s hard to admit when your loved one needs constant care so they can live as comfortably as possible.

Every scenario will differ, and the decision will not come easily. Speak with your family, friends, and doctors to ensure that moving your loved one to Memory Care is what’s best. We’ll give you a brief look at what to expect from Assisted Living and Memory Care, a list of signs to consider before making this difficult decision, and some tips to ease the transition.

What is Assisted Living?

Assisted Living communities are ideal for seniors who have started to struggle with some activities of daily living but can move independently or with little assistance. They can organize their social lives and participate in recreational activities. Apartments can be private or semi-private, with comfortable furniture, ensuite bathrooms, and kitchens or kitchenettes.

Social programs are offered for residents to engage in gatherings, games, educational courses, wellness programs, and attend events from the rotating calendar. Seniors can take up new hobbies or browse the community library for fresh learning materials.

Staff in Assisted Living stay available 24/7, and physicians make house calls so seniors can remain in the comfort of their apartment when seeing the doctor. Family members can have peace of mind knowing that their loved ones are looked after by professionals—support is always there if needed.

Assisted Living Services

  • Grocery shopping, carrying groceries
  • Three meals a day (optional)
  • Help getting dressed, if needed
  • Weekly housekeeping and laundry
  • Accessibility-friendly transportation
  • Assistance bathing and using the bathroom, if needed
  • Assistance using stairs
  • 24-hour staff onsite

What is Memory Care?

Memory Care provides its residents with a safe, structured environment designed for seniors with dementia and other cognitive issues that worsen over time. Seniors receive full-time care from staff trained in dealing with dementia. 

The staff in Memory Care provides medical attention and ensures the safety and security of everyone. Medical services are essential in Memory Care, as the residents tend to show symptoms of cognitive dysfunction, including forgetfulness and confusion. 

Memory Care Services

  • Three meals per day, in your apartment or dining room
  • Help with feeding, if needed
  • Medication management
  • 24-hour care and nursing staff onsite
  • Apartments designed for cognitive issues
  • Routine health evaluations
  • Housekeeping and laundry
  • Support groups
  • Accessibility-friendly transportation

Senior couple together worried about their memory.

Signs That It’s Time to Move to Memory Care

Consider this list when deciding whether it’s time to move your loved one to Memory Care. Your worries won’t disappear, but at least you’ll have peace of mind knowing that they’re safe and receiving the care they need. 

If your loved one already resides in an Assisted Living community, you can ask the staff if they’ve taken note of any of the following indicators. 

  • Needing complete assistance with activities of daily living
  • Frequently forgetting things, people, dates
  • Hoarding or not maintaining adequate living conditions
  • Wandering or getting lost
  • Needing help to decide how to spend days
  • Struggling to socialize and managing relationships
  • Getting overwhelmed easily by sights and sounds
  • Grappling with critical thinking and making decisions
  • Struggling with mobility and personal care
  • Seeing unexplained physical changes from forgetting to eat or eating too much
  • Changing behavior, like being less engaged in activities and confused more often
  • Feeling lonely, isolated, and no longer making new friends
  • Showing signs of depression and sudden mood swings

This list is non-exhaustive, and, if you can, you should speak with your loved one’s doctor to help make this emotional decision.

Tips to Ease the Transition

Guess what? This transition will take strength, but you are more than capable. Muster all the empathy and compassion you can, and remember that your loved one is struggling, too, perhaps in ways you can’t imagine. These tips can lighten the load (literally and emotionally) of moving to Memory Care.

  • Pack and unpack for your loved one

Seeing pictures and knick-knacks could trigger confusion if your loved one struggles with memory loss. You can pack while your loved one is sleeping or enjoying a meal, so they don’t have to deal with anxiety caused by someone shuffling their belongings around. Having their new room unpacked will ease the transition by bringing them into a familiar space.

  • Prepare a consistent answer from the family

On moving day, your loved one will probably continue to ask what’s going on. Having a standard answer will ease confusion and help instill comfort.

  • Check out the social and community activities

When your loved one moves into Memory Care, encourage them to mingle and meet their new neighbors. Maybe they can join a game of bingo that week or share a meal with the other golden gals in Memory Care.

  • Talk about your emotions

Not just your feelings, but your loved one’s feelings, too. Answer questions they have and ask them to share their emotions attached to moving to Memory Care. Keeping an open dialogue reminds them of your unconditional love.

Think About Your Feelings, Too

It goes without saying, but there’s no easy way to deal with the emotions that come with caring for a loved one who has dementia. You may feel guilty that you can’t provide the help they need, but remember that caregiving can be detrimental to your own mental health, and burnout is real.

It’s not selfish to move your loved ones into Memory Care—you’re doing it for their health and safety. Seniors with dementia and other cognitive issues may need more supervision and medical attention than you can provide (hello, busy schedules!). 

You might feel helpless, but moving them into Memory Care can allow your loved ones the safety, comfort, and dignity they deserve. Rather than being isolated and lonely elsewhere, in Memory Care, they’ll have companionship and proper care—and that’s one of the best things you can do to improve their quality of life. 

Contact our team to discuss the appropriate senior living options for your loved one.

Written by kaplan

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