How Do We Know When Its Time?
Part Two of Three ~ The Lighthouse Keeper
Your Loved One is Neglecting Finances
If your loved one is living alone, take note of their mail. Are you seeing late notices on unpaid bills? Can you get a bank statement, are we double paying bills? Does mail seem to be stacking up or seemingly in a state of disarray? What about creditor and collection notices? Have an open and honest conversation with your loved one about their financial situation, and try not to point fingers. Come from a loving, supportive perspective. Neglecting finances is one of the first signs of dementia for many, and it can leave your loved one open to financial scams, putting their finances at risk.
Your Loved One is Neglecting Personal Care
Unwashed or wrinkled clothing, body odor, unkept hair, and other personal hygiene issues are other signs that it may be time to move to memory care. It can mean your loved one is missing standard hair and nail appointments, forgetting to bathe, forgetting to do wash, and can be a sign of dementia. Memory care services will include personal care and assistance with activities of daily living that help your loved one stay on track.
Would your mother ever have been seen in public not wearing lipstick, looking impeccable? All of a sudden, its pajamas, or slept in hair, or wondering when the last shower might have happened. Most of us don’t ever change at our core, what changes is our ability to process, execute, and track. This is not a symptom of aging, or laziness, or petulance. Your person is suffering.
Your Loved One Has Begun Wandering
If your loved one wakes in the middle of the night or becomes confused and disoriented, he or she may wander. Wandering can be extremely dangerous as your loved one will walk and not realize where they are, or how to get back home. It can put seniors in dangerous situations and leave them exposed to harsh elements in the winter and summer.
Consider the caregiver as well, whose sleeping schedule will become compromised. Sleep, which is so important to health, will be negatively impacted. We know how lack of sleep impacts us, and sustained neglect of sleep can have catastrophic impacts.
Memory care communities are secured and often have enclosed outdoor spaces to keep your loved one from wandering off without a caregiver.
There are solutions for the home. Again, we implore you to consider the impacts that this will have on the caregiver’s well-being in addition to your loved one living with dementia.
Living Conditions are Uncharacteristically Sub-Par
Early dementia can sometimes present itself as hoarding.
If your person has always had a well-kept home, or at least a ‘kept’ home, and now it is in a state of disarray (you’re finding expired food, etc.), these could be signs that they are overwhelmed. Again, this is not a result of wanting to live this way.
#1 I may not recognize that this isn’t normal.
#2 On my best day I would be horrified at the current state of affairs.
#3 Me telling you I don’t need your help is a normal reaction, because up until now I haven’t needed your help. It means that I don’t know that I need your help, and that is the part that we have to embrace in order to advocate for our loved one.
We are here to support, to answer questions, and to help however we can.
The Lighthouse Keeper