Signs that your parents might be ready for assisted living or memory care
TAMPA, Fla. (Nov. 14, 2019) – November is World Alzheimer’s Month. It’s also the start of the holiday season when family and friends gather together for possibly the first time this year. For adult children with aging parents, now is a good time to check in and make sure that their family members are living a full, healthy life with all the support and care they need.
While parents or relatives may say that they are doing fine over the phone, there are a number of signs to look for that may suggest otherwise.
“Deferred home maintenance and poor housekeeping may suggest that their home has become too much to manage on their own,” said David Schupack, Executive Director of The Watermark at Trinity, an assisted living and memory care community in Pasco County. “While stacks of unopened mail, particularly from banks and creditors, may mean that they can no longer manage their finances on their own.”
Other signs to look for include changes in appearance. If your loved one was once clean shaven, and now they have an unkept beard, or they have lost or gained a considerable amount of weight, it may signal that they are no longer able to keep up with their daily care and it may be time to consider an assisted living community. Sudden forgetfulness and changes in memory are also important to pay attention to.
“As we age, our memory starts to change,” said Schupack. “However, there is a difference between the normal effects of aging and memory loss from Alzheimer’s or dementia. If your parent has become more forgetful, play close attention to the types of things they are forgetting.”
According to Suzanne Burtzlaff, Executive Director of The Fountains at Boca Ciega Bay in St. Petersburg, forgetting things like where they put their keys or whether the front door is locked can be a normal sign of aging. However, if they begin to forget how to complete normal daily tasks such as using the telephone or finding their way home, this may point to a more serious issue.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are 10 signs to look for that may signal early Alzheimer’s. These include problems with speaking or writing, confusion with time or place, and changes in mood or personality.
“If you notice any of these changes in your parent, it may be time to start the conversation about assisted living or memory care options,” said Burtzlaff. “This is a difficult conversation to have, but an important one to ensure that your parents is well cared for.”
To navigate this conversation, the communities recommend waiting for an opportune moment to present itself. Either after a fall or a particularly bad day, or following an instance where your parents’ memory failed them. It’s also important to involve your loved one in these conversations, assuming there are up to the task. This will prevent them from feeling ambushed and reinforce that the decision is about what’s best for them.
“We all want what is best for our parents, and communicating that is an important part of navigating this process,” said Burtzlaff. “Take time over the holidays to really check in with them. Ask them how they are doing. Are they lonely? Has their home become too much? Have they become forgetful? There are many options available that will help them to gain independence and find happiness in their new phase of their life.”
The Watermark at Trinity and the Fountains at Boca Ciega Bay are managed by Watermark Retirement Communities. For more information, visit www.watermarkcommunities.com.
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