Worsening dementia can make it dangerous for your loved one to live at home alone. If your loved one has trouble performing daily tasks due to their dementia, it may be time to consider finding an assisted-living facility or memory care facility for them. The main difference between the two is that memory care facilities are specifically designed for people with Alzheimer's disease or dementia, whereas assisted-living facilities are for anyone who needs some extra help performing the activities of daily life like bathing. Read on to find out when a memory care facility would be a better fit for your loved one.
Your Loved One Wanders Frequently
Wandering is one of the most dangerous symptoms of dementia. People who have dementia may leave their homes or the store they're shopping at and then immediately become lost when they can't recognize their surroundings. Wandering is one of the reasons why people with dementia often require full-time care in order to stay safe.
One of the biggest differences between memory care facilities and assisted living facilities is that memory care is set up to create a safe environment for residents who are prone to wandering. Exit doors typically require passcodes to unlock, preventing residents from wandering out of the facility. In addition, exit doors are often designed to look like every other door in the facility, which makes them less likely to trigger wandering behavior — wandering often occurs when someone feels agitated or confused and wants to exit the situation that's making them uncomfortable.
If your loved one has had a few episodes of wandering and becoming lost, then a memory care facility will be a much safer environment for them.
Your Loved One Leaves Food Unattended While Cooking
Assisted-living facilities often have rooms with small kitchenettes, which gives residents more freedom to cook and eat whatever food they want. Unfortunately, people who have dementia can easily forget that they're cooking food. Food left unattended can lead to a fire, and even microwaves can be dangerous if someone can't set the timer properly.
Memory care facilities don't offer kitchenettes to residents because of the risk that they'll forget they're cooking food and start a fire. While this gives residents less independence when compared to an assisted-living facility, it helps keep your loved ones safer.
Your Loved One Isolates Themselves Socially
It's common for people with dementia to lack the motivation or ability to socialize, which can lead to them becoming isolated. Assisted living facilities provide numerous opportunities for socialization among residents, but they typically require residents to be self-directed — they'll have to sign up and attend classes or events on their own.
Memory care facilities take this into account when developing social programs for their residents. Social events are more tailored towards people who have dementia, and staff are trained in how to encourage residents to participate. If your loved one no longer seems to have the drive to socialize on their own and spends most of their time alone, then a memory care facility's programs may be a better fit for them.
Overall, the goal of dementia memory care is to create a safe environment that deals with the specific challenges of dementia, such as wandering. Assisted living can be a good fit for people in the early stages of dementia, but memory care is a better and safer choice when dementia starts to worsen. If your loved one fits the criteria above, they're most likely a better candidate for memory care rather than in a standard assisted-living facility. When you're ready to make the move, tour several facilities in the area to find out which one will be the best fit for your loved one, making sure that they offer a safe environment with social events suitable for residents who have dementia.
Contact dementia memory care services to learn more.