• Home
  • Senior Center
  • Senior Articles | Getting Memory Care for Your Loved One Doesn't Mean You're Losing Them

Senior Center

Getting Memory Care for Your Loved One Doesn't Mean You're Losing Them

By Jan Bolder - May 9, 2014

Not Sure / All Nursing Homes
Assisted Living In-Home Care
Hospice Memory Care
Retirement Communities
Residential Care
Senior Care Search
Powered by LivingSenior
Admitting to yourself and your family that your loved one needs memory care can be a scary time. It means that they've been diagnosed with a condition or have problems with at least two areas of daily living, but it doesn't mean you've lost them at all. Fears of being forgotten or seeing your loved one not know how to do basic tasks anymore isn't an automatic consequence, and memory care is one way to fend that off. There are many different avenues of memory care you can go down, and it's a good idea to sit down with your senior's physician to go over all the options.

Sit Down with Your Senior and Talk

One of the inescapable truths of considering memory care is time is not on your side and that the sooner you talk, the more time you'll have to explore all your options. Understandably, that conversation ranks about as enjoyable as going over your taxes or being stuck in a rush hour traffic, but your motivation should be this: it'll be a lot easier now to talk with your senior than it will be later.

In terms of the approach, there is no one-size-fits-all method, as each senior and family have their own way of getting into the nitty-gritty. Maybe your family prefers to have the TV on in the background to deflect from the somberness of the moment, or maybe a drive out of the city does the trick. Whichever method you choose, make sure you have a list of points to talk about. It's easy to get caught up in the emotionality of it and forget to stay on track, and seeing your original ideas in print can help keep you there.

Keep Them Active and Social

Although the brain is an organ, it behaves quite similarly to a muscle in that it can be "trained" to perform and remember certain tasks (hence, the term "use it or lose it"). Think back to any time that you had a prolonged period of "by yourself-ness" and how sluggish you felt, and then how just the simple act of talking to people or immersing yourself in a hobby rejuvenated you.

It's fairly similar to seniors. They need intellectual and social stimulation just as much as we do and it's a simple, free way of slowing the progress down at least a little bit. You don't have to do anything on the level of having them rewrite their SAT, but fun memory or word games can do the trick. Try not to make these activities too long or you may run the risk of your senior losing concentration and patience.

Consider Long-Term Care as an Option

Nobody can match the love and caring you have for your senior, and it's a great quality to have. It allows you to really go to the ends of the earth for them and provide an unparalleled level of support that they feel every day. But sometimes, love and support may not be everything your senior needs, and getting highly-skilled help can be just the help your senior needs. Ask yourself these questions to determine if long-term care is needed.

  • Has your senior had any accidents that involve forgetting to turn off the stove or other appliances?
  • Does your senior rely more and more on others for help with their daily activities?
  • Does your senior remember to take medications exactly according to schedule?
  • Has your senior wandered or gotten lost because they couldn't remember where they were going or how to get home?
  • Do you find yourself compromising your health or missing work and other engagements because of caring for your senior?
  • If you answered yes to these questions, it may be a sign to talk about long-term care with your senior. Make sure to reassure them that you're not "handing them off", but bringing in someone who has the latest information and skills on how to make it work. After all, if you're a burned out caregiver, you're not a very efficient caregiver.