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Posted by The Woodlands on April 15, 2023

Assisted living communities offer a helping hand to foster independence and help residents reach their highest level of wellness. While assisted living provides a wide variety of care and support benefits, its primary focus is not on those with memory impairment, such as dementia.

But what happens if your loved one living in assisted living shows early signs of cognitive decline and dementia? The Woodlands at Canterfield knows the importance of recognizing signs of dementia as early as possible. 

Our Canterfield memory care community is sharing information to help you and your family recognize when it’s time for your loved one to transition from assisted living to more comprehensive memory care. 

Shifts in Self-Care

Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) are the fundamental tasks that a person must be able to complete independently to maintain a safe and healthy lifestyle. Many people move to assisted living communities in order to receive support with ADLs. For instance, Mom might need assistance with medication management, grooming and bathing, or mobility problems that prevent her from safely getting around her home.

However, a person living with dementia might suddenly refuse help with ADLs related to grooming and hygiene. They might regularly neglect their self-care needs, like repeatedly wearing the same clothes. Self-neglect can become common in those living with dementia, as it impacts their ability to make appropriate decisions regarding grooming, dressing and hygiene. 

If your loved one has been consistently refusing assistance with any of these essential self-care tasks, it could signify they require memory care services.

Episodes of Wandering

“It’s common for a person living with dementia to wander or become lost or confused about their location, and it can happen at any stage of the disease (alz.org).” Not only does this put them in dangerous situations, but it can be a significant sign of memory impairment. Common signs a person may be at risk of wandering include:

  • Trying or wanting to “go home” even when they are home
  • Talking about fulfilling former obligations, such as going to work
  • Forgetting how to get to familiar places

Difficulty Socializing

A person who begins to show early signs of dementia may become disinterested in any social activity, including their close friends and family members. 

They might become withdrawn and less talkative when conversing with people or stop paying attention when speaking with others. When visiting your loved one in their assisted living community, ask about any recent social events they’ve attended, or inquire how their neighbors and friends are doing. This can start an open-ended conversation that can help you gauge their level of social activity, as well as any lack of interest in socialization they might have developed. 

Aggression, Frustration or Confusion

One of the main early signs of dementia is a sudden change in personality, which often manifests in the form of aggression, frustration or confusion. Those living with dementia might experience mood swings that quickly change their usual demeanor to that of something entirely different. For example, if Dad is normally quiet and conservative and is suddenly out-spoken and brash.

Signs of confusion can also be an early sign of dementia. Similar to wandering, if your loved one is unable to find their way around their community, forgets where they are or doesn’t recognize their surroundings, it can be a cause for concern and present a safety hazard. 

How Can Memory Care Help My Loved One?

At The Woodlands at Canterfield, memory care emphasizes familiarity, comfort and wellbeing. By embracing every resident’s unique need, we successfully help individuals reach their wellness goals and achieve their full potential. 

Memory care utilizes person-centered care specifically designed around your loved one’s needs; no two care plans are the same due to the varying nature of dementia. In addition, our associates create deep connections with residents to ensure care is customized and each resident is able to enjoy the respect, kindness and care that they deserve. 

If you think your loved one is exhibiting early signs of dementia, it’s crucial to speak with their healthcare providers and community specialists to determine the best course of action. 

We invite you to visit our website for more information on The Woodlands at Canterfield’s memory care community.

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