If you’re noticing changes in a parent’s behavior that affects his or her day-to-day well-being, you want to do everything you can to help. The trouble is, memory-related health issues often require a level of care that just isn’t possible to provide in a private home setting. To further complicate matters, the changes you notice in your parent’s behavior may occur gradually, so it’s difficult to determine when a transition to a new living arrangement is necessary.
When a parent’s symptoms align with a health condition such as dementia, taking them to a medical professional for a diagnosis is one of the most helpful things you can do. Neurologists utilize a wide range of tests to make a diagnosis, and once your parent receives one, you are in a much better position to decide whether to move them to a professional memory care setting.
The line between memory-related health issues and “normal forgetfulness” may seem blurry, but it’s important to understand the subtle differences. Doing so ensures that you have all the information you need to provide your parent with the appropriate level of care. Here are some of the top things to look out for when you suspect your parent might need a transition to a nursing home for dementia:
1. Disruptive Forgetfulness
There is a difference between a parent who occasionally forgets a person’s name and one who never seems to remember most names. In the latter situation, a person’s forgetfulness has reached a point where it’s likely to negatively affect their daily life. It’s not just names that cause problems — people who suffer from memory-related health conditions tend to forget recently-learned facts, important calendar dates and may even have trouble keeping up with the topic of a conversation.
Many people take the importance of a sharp memory for granted, but when you notice a parent lose theirs, it becomes apparent how dependent humans are on memories to solve everyday challenges. If forgetfulness is getting in the way of your parent’s ability to live normally, it’s likely time to receive a medical diagnosis and possibly begin a transition to memory care.
2. Unusual Speech Patterns
We all run into situations where we can’t find the right words to express our thoughts or feelings. For those who suffer from memory-related health issues, these communication issues arise on a regular basis, and are noticeable to those around them. People with memory-related illnesses often have trouble staying involved in a one-on-one conversations. They may start talking about a certain topic, but lose their train of thought mid-sentence. Conversely, they may start to repeat themselves, forgetting that they have already passed along a piece of information.
When your parent’s ability to participate in a conversation seems to be deteriorating, the underlying cause may be memory-related. Memory care facilities like Cherrywood Pointe provide a safe environment where an empathetic team understands a resident’s speech challenges. Our caregivers know how to communicate effectively when that resident is having trouble expressing themselves. To our residents, feeling listened to is important, even when they can’t articulate their thoughts perfectly.
3. Lack of Interest in Activities
People who face memory-related health conditions often display a marked lack of interest in their friendships or family relationships. To the person’s loved ones, this symptom is one of the hardest to accept. It’s important to remember that their detraction from social activity is a result of changes in their brain, rather than a sudden shift to a rude personality.
The social disinterest may extend to other areas of the person’s life, including indifference towards hobbies and activities that used to bring the person joy. If your parent used to catch every game of their favorite sports team and then suddenly stopped, it’s a good idea to dig a little deeper to determine the cause. While some people grow out of their hobbies and favorite activities, most people will have a reason for doing so. Those who face memory-related health conditions simply cannot enjoy these activities in the same way they used to.
4. An Overall Decline in Health
Some of the most telling signs of memory-related health problems have little to do with memory at all. One such symptom is an obvious downturn in a person’s physical health. Rapid weight loss, neglected personal hygiene, unusual bruises or scrapes, a sinking posture and other surprising changes in a parent’s health may point to memory problems.
Memory problems affect a person’s circadian rhythm, and in turn, their body’s ability to regulate normal health processes. For example, a parent may find themselves waking up in the middle of the night unexpectedly, and have trouble falling back asleep. What starts as a minor issue can quickly devolve into other health problems, creating difficulties in everyday life.
5. A Rise in Your Stress Levels
As much as you love your parent who is facing memory-related challenges, it is still important to take a step back and notice how their struggles are affecting your own health from time to time. Serving as a caregiver for a parent with memory challenges may seem doable at first, but as time goes on, it can become more difficult to handle. This is a job that requires 24/7 attention and care, and unfortunately, most people don’t have the time or necessary resources to give a parent the attention they need. If you find yourself struggling to juggle your own life along with the responsibilities of caregiving, it’s likely time to consider memory care for your parent.
Find Memory Care
Understanding the reasons for putting elderly parents in a nursing home isn’t easy, but it’s necessary. Once you have determined that your parent needs memory care, the challenge is finding a community that makes sense for their situation. At Cherrywood Pointe, our team is available to answer any questions you may have about our facility or caregiving services. We want you to find the right fit for your parent, so we’re here to help however we can.
Learn more about our memory care community to see why Cherrywood Pointe might be the ideal place for your parent. When you’re ready to see our community for yourself, be sure to schedule a tour.