When assistance is required, many families opt to care for a senior family member on their own. Caregiving is a fantastic way to repay our parents and grandparents for all they have done for us. However, as people age, they become increasingly dependent on us for assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). These tasks include bathing, grooming, meal preparation, housekeeping, and many others, creating a stressful and time-consuming condition for you as a caregiver.
If your elderly relative is diagnosed with a cognitive disorder, such as Alzheimer's disease or dementia, they will likely require specialized care. If you decide to care for them yourself, their condition will undoubtedly increase your caregiving obligations.
Families that desire the best care for their loved ones but are unsure of their ability to deliver it themselves may have difficulty. Assisted living and memory care, especially for adults with Alzheimer's disease or dementia, can be practical ways to make sure that individuals with significant health conditions or cognitive disorders receive the appropriate level of continuing care.
As a Senior Living Advisor in Northern Virginia (Alisha Jones, (703) 878-7870), I am frequently asked by families what the optimal time is to place their loved ones in a senior living community. The truth is that the timing varies from family to family, but here are 10 signs that your family might want to contact me for help finding an assisted living or memory care community for a loved one.
Care Needs Exceed the Capabilities of the Family
As people age and their health, mobility, and mental acuity begin to diminish, they may require specialized care that you are unable to provide. In assisted living and memory care communities, healthcare professionals are trained to give the best care possible so that your loved one is comfortable and well taken care of.
Overwhelmed by Daily Activities
Older individuals and people who are frequently unwell will commonly have trouble accomplishing duties they once performed with ease, such as vacuuming, doing laundry, dusting, cleaning the bathroom, etc. Living in an unsanitary and unhealthy environment can cause numerous health problems; therefore, it will be mentally and physically beneficial for them to move into assisted living or memory care, where cleaning services and much more are provided for them on a daily basis.
Frequent Hospital Visits
Repeated hospitalizations can take a physical and emotional toll on the entire family. Many assisted living and memory care communities provide round-the-clock care by skilled healthcare professionals in a comfortable on-site environment. This arrangement can help avoid the need for frequent hospitalizations.
Inconsistently or Incorrectly Taking Medications
Missing and incorrect medication dosages can be very hazardous. Assisted living and memory care communities offer prescription and non-prescription medication management, which brings families peace of mind and ensures the safety of their loved ones.
Many seniors are unable to shop for nutritious food due to a lack of energy or mobility difficulties. They may also lack the motivation to prepare healthy meals, especially if they live or eat alone. The dining halls of assisted living and memory care communities provide residents with a varied selection of fresh, nutritious meals that can be tailored to fit their individual preferences or dietary restrictions.
Some seniors may begin to overlook proper hygiene practices, such as toothbrushing, bathing, shaving, and hair washing. It’s not uncommon for family members to feel uneasy about providing aid in these areas. Staff in assisted living and memory care communities are trained to assist older adults with everyday tasks while ensuring that those seniors retain their self-respect and dignity, leaving them feeling confident, comfortable, and content.
Isolation from Others
As people grow older, mobility challenges, sickness, depression, and boredom might keep them from socializing with friends and engaging in activities and hobbies they enjoy. With fitness programs, movie nights, game nights, and much more, assisted living and memory care communities provide residents with many opportunities to interact with individuals who share their interests.
Aggressive Behavior Towards Others
Some elderly adults diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease or dementia tend to behave violently or aggressively, in part because of cognitive deterioration. This is a perilous situation that is emotionally draining and puts people at risk of harm. Staff in memory care communities are trained to use empathy and communication to help residents stay calm and keep everyone safe.
Seniors with Alzheimer's disease and dementia will frequently engage in the harmful behavior of wandering. A person with Alzheimer's disease or dementia who sneaks away unaccompanied faces the danger of becoming injured or lost. This risk increases significantly if they attempt to drive. It is generally impossible for a family to monitor a loved one 24/7, so if wandering becomes a concern, memory care communities offer increased security measures to guarantee that residents are always safe and accounted for.
The Caregiver’s Physical and Mental Health is Being Affected
Caring for an elderly loved one can be arduous labor. As their needs expand, so will your obligations. Caregiving may eventually impair your mental or physical health, leaving you fatigued, unhappy, and isolated from friends and activities you enjoy. This is a strong indication that it's time to release your loved one from your care and place them in an assisted living or memory care community. In doing so, you can continue to visit your loved one frequently and be involved in their care plan, but at the same time, you can concentrate on your life instead of dedicating all your time to caregiving responsibilities.
I understand that a decision to cease providing care to your loved one and move them to an assisted living or memory care community might make you feel a level of guilt. However, you can rest assured that it is unlikely you will be able to give your loved one the level of care they will need as time goes on, which will be frustrating for everyone involved.
My experience has shown me that the transition to assisted living or memory care is always beneficial for the families and the seniors they cherish.
No-Cost Assistance Finding Senior Living Communities in Northern Virginia
When it's time to place an elderly loved one in assisted living, memory care, or independent living in the Northern Virginia area, families turn to Alisha Jones of Assisted Living Locators for help.
Alisha has supported families for many years, helping them find the most appropriate living arrangements for their loved ones. Alisha will make sure you have all the information you need to make the best decision possible.
For more information or no-cost assistance with independent living, assisted living, memory care, in-home care, or other senior living options in Northern Virginia’s Prince William County, Fairfax County, Loudoun County, Arlington County, or Alexandria, please call our local elder care experts today at (703) 878-7870 or contact us via e-mail.