The Cottages Blog

When Is the Right Time to Seek Memory Care for Mom?

Posted by Dawn Owens on May 10, 2016 9:00:00 AM


Sometimes, it’s hard for those closest to us to recognize when it’s time for a change, and it can be harder still for our loved ones to talk to us about that necessary change. You may have noticed a few changes in Mom lately, and maybe you have started to wonder if it’s time to seek out memory care for her. Let’s discuss a few signs that may mean it really is time look for help from a professional.

You Are Worried About Mom's Safety

People with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia can become confused, agitated, and even violent without cause or warning. Sometimes, they wander off. If Mom is in an advanced stage of Alzheimer’s or dementia and she is not in control of her emotions and actions, it is definitely time to seek memory care for her if you haven’t already.

However, these symptoms often present slowly at first and then get worse over time. Mom may currently seem in control on most days, but perhaps there are starting to be more moments where you question her cognitive abilities. A few red flags that point to a need for memory care are:

  • Accidents and injuries - Has she fallen more than once, had several unexplained injuries, or had several driving accidents? Are you considering taking her keys away?
  • Living conditions - Are there mysterious areas of damage in her house, like burn or scorch marks from a forgotten stove that she cannot explain? Are there a lot of stains, mold, or other signs of water damage from water left running unattended? Have her houseplants died from neglect? Is she hoarding unnecessary items or purchasing the same items over and over again?
  • Hygiene - Are her clothes unwashed and wrinkled? Has she not bathed in a while? Has she missed several hair appointments recently? Does she just generally seem to be taking less care of herself than she used to?
  • You worry about her more often than you used to - Do you check on her more often or call her regularly regarding her safety and location?

You Can No Longer Manage Mom's Health Care Needs

If Mom has started to need your constant supervision with her food and her medications, it might be time to seek memory care for her. People with Alzheimer’s and dementia often get confused when it comes to medication management and proper nutrition. Improper medication management and nutrition can have disastrous results. If you are just starting to notice small things, like a missed dose here or there, food left on the counter that she forgot to refrigerate, or several missed meals entirely, those are all red flags.

Social interaction is another health care need that you may no longer be able to provide Mom with. It can be very difficult to keep a parent with Alzheimer’s or dementia from being or from feeling isolated. When people are experiencing cognitive decline, their behavior can become unpredictable. When this happens, it becomes difficult to take Mom out to shop, to eat, or to any other social gathering, because you don’t know how she will react to certain situations. Not being able to take Mom out will result in her becoming lonely and restless. Keeping her happy and entertained while managing her emotions and behaviors can be too big of a task for one person or one family. This is definitely a time to look for memory care for Mom. A professional will know how to keep her entertained and how to manage her ever-changing moods.

You Have Caregiver Burnout

Caring for someone, especially someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia, is emotionally and physically draining. Being a caregiver for someone with dementia can cause feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and guilt. Caregiver burnout is real, and the signs should not be ignored. It is a type of major depression, and sometimes treatment is required in order to overcome it. If you feel like you have reached a breaking point while trying to care for Mom, it is definitely time to seek out memory care. Do not hesitate to speak to a professional about your feelings and about Mom’s mental health.


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Topics: Senior Health Care, Advice for Caregivers

Dawn Owens

Written by: Dawn Owens

Dawn has been part of the Cottage family for over 10 years. She comes from a strong background in mental health care, with a certification in crisis intervention. Dawn has two daughters, Alika and Ava. She enjoys walking, scrapbooking, and playing softball.