After a visit home for the holidays you may have some new concerns. Seeing your aging parents in person is different than over the phone. And spending a full week with them may have caused you some concern.
So, Should You Move Mom?
This is a great question. And the truth is there is no simple answer. What are the red flags that have you concerned? In the early stages, mom may be able to live in a more independent environment for a while. Of course, it is important that someone checks in on her regularly. You would want to ideally have a team of people looking out for her.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association 5 symptoms in the early stages include:
2.Trouble remembering names when introduced to new people
3.Challenges performing tasks in social or work settings.
4.Losing or misplacing a valuable object, like jewelry.
5.Inability to plan or organize things
Someone in this stage may still drive, work, participate in social activities. In fact, it can often be hard for families to recognize that there is a real problem unless they see the individual daily. If someone you love has been diagnosed in this stage it will give you an opportunity to research resources.
Begin Your Search Now
It is tempting to put this off. But procrastinating will only cause you more heartache. And you will need resources later on. Don’t wait. This is a good time to visit memory care homes and facilities. Really good ones often have a wait list. The truth is the situation could change rapidly. And you will want to be prepared.
Build Your Team
Hire A Professional
Hiring a professional care agency is a good first step. Look for one that employs a nurse to assess and supervise. This will ensure that a professional is checking on Mom and can notice changes that will need attention.
This will also ensure that Mom has food in the house and is eating well. You caregiver can also drive mom where she wants to go. This will eliminate any worry about Mom having a car accident.
Check With The Neighbors.
Ask if they would mind checking on her once a week and report back any concerns they have. Neighbors often see and know a lot but hesitate to get involved. However, if you ask for their help they will usually be more that happy to do so.
Talk to The Pastor At Her Church
There may be programs available that can help that her church or someone in the community offers. Ask if there is a team of people who check on the elderly. A lot of churches are offering this ministry to help their seniors.
This is also the time to get all of the necessary legal documents in order. See an elder law attorney to make sure you have everything you need. If you have already taken care of your legal documents have an attorney look them over to make sure nothing was missed.
When the Symptoms Worsen
The mid stage is often the longest and can go on for years. In this stage the symptoms may become more noticeable. Hopefully, you and your team have been paying attention. In the mid stage you may notice:
*Mood changes and depression
*Forgetfulness or confusion about what really happened
*Help may be needed to choose appropriate clothing
*Changes in sleep patterns (sleeping all day and up all night.)
*Confusion about where they are or what day it is.
*Personality and behavioral changes, including paranoia and delusions
*Compulsive, repetitive behavior like hand-wringing or tissue shredding
*And probably the most worrisome: wandering and getting lost
Getting lost is a huge concern.
We have all seen the Silver Alert billboards and notices on our smart phones. And no one wants Mom or dad to be a victim. Hopefully you have been paying attention. As such you have taken away the car keys. This is not easy. Though Mom may easily give up her keys today. She may be upset tomorrow when she cannot find her car keys or she discovers that her car is missing out of the driveway.
If you have been the primary care partner for Mom you may be starting to feel a bit overwhelmed at this stage. Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s is not a one-person job.
This is the stage where you should really consider placement in a memory care facility.
This is Not a Nursing Home.
In fact, the smaller ones like Light Heart Memory Care look more like a home. Designed specifically for patients with Alzheimer’s and other types of Dementia these homes have plenty of room for someone to wander around. There is even a large back yard and patio area that is secured. This allows residents to come and go outside as they please. And it alleviates the feeling of being locked in.
Memory Care Homes are small enough to be able to personalize the care to each individual. Staff members are trained to know how to communicate with the residents. Even the ones who may not be able to speak or who seem to talk gibberish. And because they do not have a history with the person, the staff is able to accept each person for who they are today. While a daughter or son may be appalled and embarrassed by mom’s behavior, a trained caregiver is not. They have no expectation.
If you think it may be time for Memory Care placement, you are probably right. Stop by today for a visit whether you are ready to place Mom now or you just want information for the future.
In honor of our founder Pat Mack we are carrying on the tradition of caring for our residents in "The Light Heart Way"
Call_281-282-0770 to schedule a tour of Light Heart Memory Care.
And remember to have a light heart. Everything is going to be okay.