Eventually requiring the help of assisted living or a nursing home can be a difficult transition for a senior who has prided themselves on being independent all their adult life. This is especially true for those who are unfortunately dealing with memory complications. With Alzheimer’s and dementia, anything in their world can seem more foreign and upsetting. Addressing three key concerns ensures that the transition does not in any way have to be confusing or traumatic for your loved one, and their dignity does not have to suffer.
Keeping your loved one’s environment low-stress.
One of the biggest challenges for a senior with memory dysfunction and those who interact with them is the stress that comes with them temporarily losing their sense of self, becoming disoriented, or lashing out in confusion. Careful reminders don’t always patch the issue. Being able to gently redirect your loved one and help them find their way without hurting their sense of autonomy is difficult, but it can be done with the right training and a heaping dose of compassion.
Ensuring your loved one is safe every day, all day.
Possibly the greatest asset for those in memory care living is the ability to have full-time help on stand-by. Of course, the elderly in general have more of a risk for dangerous falls due to declining balancing ability and frailer bone structure, but elderly also often experience more segmented sleep cycles, waking up briefly but frequently during the night and sometimes briefly dozing off during the day. Whenever a senior with memory needs is awake, there is the possibility for their memory to have a lapse and for their momentary confusion to cause them to wander or need reassurance. Keeping your loved one safe and reassured in their environment can sometimes feel like a 24/7 job. Luckily, many assisted living centers have 24/7 staff and safety services available to give you and your loved one peace of mind.
Encouraging your loved one to be active and fulfilled in their day-to-day life.
A study from 2008 reported that seniors with the highest levels of social integration experienced memory decline at half the rate of those who were the least socially integrated. Considering the danger and stress that can befall a senior with memory challenges, organizing a plan to keep them socially active and involved in things they enjoy can be a process. The key is structure. The more tightly structured their schedule is, and consistent their activities are, the more comfortable it will be. The more structured an outing is, the more likely it is to be successful and enjoyable. Structure with memory challenges is a hard balance to achieve, but memory nursing strategies can help plan the right kinds of structure for your loved one.
We at Felicita Vida know how important it is that your loved one feels safe, content, and validated while being in an assisted living environment. We also know how challenging this can be when they struggle with memory difficulties from Alzheimer’s or dementia. We want you and your loved one to have assurance that a full life is possible with memory care communities, and we are especially proud of ours. Contact us today to explore if we are a good fit for you and your loved one.