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Rita Altman, vice president, Memory Care Services, discusses what to do when you start to notice increased memory decline in your loved one and are unsure if your loved one is ready for the move to assisted living or not.
Q: My mother is 93. Generally, her health is good for her age however over the last few months she has shown an accelerated memory loss. She is often unable to remember things that we said just moments before. In general, only short term memory has been affected. She still grocery shops for herself and does her own laundry.
She lives by herself in a senior apartment complex and is a little resistant to moving to some level of assisted living, however she is beginning to accept that it is inevitable and that my observations are reason for concern.
I am having difficulty determining if it is time to move her to assisted care. She wants to continue taking care of herself, but I worry that she may not be able to take care of herself with this level of memory loss. My wife believes it is time to get assisted living but I'm unsure. Your opinion would be welcomed.
Thank you in advance,
A: Thank you for writing in, Bob!
At Sunrise, we understand how sensitive the topic of memory loss can be. Speaking with a senior loved one about increasing forgetfulness is a hard subject to breach for both of you. Your mother probably still feels independent in spirit as most seniors do, but is most likely also realizing for herself that some everyday tasks are becoming more difficult for her to handle.
What’s important to convey to her is that you are not telling her what she can and cannot do, but rather that you are looking out for her wellbeing and safety in this new phase of life. Whether this means a move to a senior living community is a decision that can only be made through deep conversation with your mother and the consultation of her doctor. Speaking with her doctor to get a professional opinion on her abilities and whether or not they pose a risk to her or other people’s safety, is a necessary conversation. Ask your mother’s doctor to perform a memory assessment that can gauge whether or not her memory loss is progressing normally for her age.
Perhaps your mother might enjoy a Short Term Stay at a local senior living community where she can “try out” all the amenities and conveniences of senior living for herself. This is often a wonderful “no strings attached” way of opening a person’s eyes to the tightly knit sense of community, varied activities and convenient services at senior living community that can make every day even more enjoyable for her.
Lastly, we recommend reaching out to your local Sunrise community and learning more about their Sunrise Support Group. These monthly gatherings are a great way to meet other people experiencing the same concerns as you; and, not only are they a way to build a caring support system, but they are also a way to gain access to a number of resources on senior living and memory care. Each meeting is a balance of both an information session focused on an interesting topic and a fun activity that helps Support Group members meet and greet.
Do you have a question about a senior with memory loss for Rita? Post your question in the comments section of this article below and Rita may answer you!