Dealing with dementia: Is it time for professional memory care?

As I’ve written numerous times, Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and dementia are preventable—and sometimes even reversible—with simple lifestyle modifications like dietary changes and supplementation.

(I tell you about three standout natural ingredients that can help in the lead article of this issue. And many, many more natural therapies are outlined in my Complete Alzheimer’s Prevention and Repair Protocol Protocol—order information can be found towards the end of this article.)

But sometimes even these highly effective natural interventions aren’t enough on their own, and patients may need what health professionals call “memory care.” Which means getting help beyond what caregivers can provide inside the home or during home visitations.

The problem is, it can be difficult to determine when to seek memory care. So, let’s go over some telltale signs to look for, so that, if and when the time comes, you can be sure to get the additional help you or a loved one needs without delay.

Pay attention to these five factors

Generally, health professionals recognize five changes or circumstances that may indicate someone needs memory care.

1.) Behavior changes. If someone starts acting in dramatically different ways, that may be a sign of AD or dementia.

For instance, an older person who has always been independent in their decisions and actions may suddenly become apprehensive about driving or going out in social situations. They may also become withdrawn, anxious, and agitated.

Of course, there could be a variety of reasons for these behavior changes. They may be due to sudden lack of interest or awareness. Or the person may have a physical inability but is too embarrassed to ask for help. There may also be emotional or psychological reasons. So it’s important to get professional help in determining cause.

2.) Confusion and disorientation. These are cardinal signs of dementia. In addition to interfering with daily life, confusion and disorientation can be dangerous for the person experiencing them—and others around them.

Auto accidents may occur when people lose track of the traffic rules, or run a red light or stop sign. On foot, they may forget where they went, or why, and are unable to get back home.

When physical safety is at risk, it’s time to consider professional memory care.

3.) Decline in physical health. A noticeable change in health may be one of the first indicators of AD or dementia.

Weight loss and frailty may be a sign that someone is neglecting to shop for food, prepare food, or simply eat. People on prescription drugs can lose track of how many they’re taking, particularly with the growing problem of polypharmacy in older people (as I often report).

As with behavior changes, there can be many reasons behind declines in physical health. That’s why it’s important to get a complete physical exam, along with cognitive evaluations, to learn the cause.

4.) Incontinence. This side effect of dementia can become a big problem for caregivers in the home. It may exceed their physical or emotional capacities and require the type of outside help available in memory care facilities.

Again, there may be non-dementia-related reasons for incontinence, so a thorough medical exam is imperative.

5.) An incapacitated or overwhelmed caregiver.  Many people with dementia are cared for by family members—frequently a senior-aged spouse. But when a caregiver can’t continue, it may be time for professional help.

Memory care checklist

If any of the above factors apply to you or a loved one, then it might be time to consider the following checklist to determine if memory care is appropriate.

  • Is it safe for the person to continue in their current circumstances?
  • What are the person’s opinions, needs, and wants regarding the situation?
  • What do health professionals and other family members suggest?
  • Are there resources and support systems in place, in the home and the community, to help the person continue to “age in place?”

Regarding the last question, here’s one practical rule of thumb: Does the person require the assistance of only one person for daily living, or do they need the help of more than one person (this is where incontinence comes into the picture, for example).

If only one caregiver is needed, then staying in the home to age in place may be preferable to relocating to a long-term care (LTC) facility. But if the help of two or more caregivers is needed, it’s often more efficient and practical to seek an appropriate LTC facility.

The ins and outs of LTC insurance

Of course, LTC is not covered by Medicare. It may be covered by Medicaid if certain circumstances are met.

If you work for the federal government, taxpayers have been providing you with LTC insurance for many years. But most taxpayers can’t afford this coverage for themselves. And it becomes even trickier when two spouses are debating the probabilities and costs of one or both needing care in the home and/or in a LTC facility.

The calculations for purchasing LTC insurance never made sense to me. That is, until my financial advisor pointed out a new kind of LTC insurance wrapped around a life insurance policy. This approach can be more sensible, and somewhat more affordable when there are two people in the picture.

When someone needs professional memory care as part of LTC, there are also some options that vary in price.

For instance, general assisted living may be sufficient for people with mild to moderate dementia. For people with mid- to late-stage dementia, there are dedicated memory care communities that offer a specialized form of assisted living in which residents can move about securely indoors and outdoors.

Finally, a secure memory care unit in a skilled nursing facility is the best option for those who also have other chronic or complex diseases that need treatment.

So, if you believe that you or a loved one are at risk, consider getting professional help.

And if you’d like to learn more about the natural approaches for brain health that I mentioned above, click here or call 1-866-747-9421 and ask for order code EOV3W101.