Dementia is a term for mental decline that is severe enough to interfere with the activities of daily living. The most common type of elderly dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, but there are many other causes. Elderly dementia itself is not a disease, but it is a term that encompasses a wide range of symptoms.
When to Look for Help
It can be difficult to decide when a loved one with dementia should no longer live on their own. Many people with various forms of elderly dementia can live independently for years with the right support and memory aids.
Eventually your family member will need to be moved to a facility, but knowing when is difficult. This is especially true since many people with elderly dementia will often conceal their struggles. The following are some signs to be on the lookout for:
They are no longer sending letters of birthday cards regularly.
They have stopped initiating phone calls.
They are in a hurry to get off the phone every time you talk.
They are making calls at strange hours for non-emergencies.
When elderly dementia progresses, it can become difficult to carry out the steps needed to write and send a letter. Losing the ability to carry on longer conversations and communicate with letters can mean that they are also struggling with driving and cooking. When someone is struggling with self-care tasks, you might see some of the following:
Their weight is changing without explanation.
They don’t dress appropriately for the occasion or the weather.
Their clothes do not look clean or they smell.
While the previous signs indicate your loved one might be losing the ability to care for themselves on their own, the most obvious signs are much more serious. Any of these could indicate your loved one is no longer safe at home and needs to be moved to a senior care facility as soon as possible:
Having the utilities turned off because the bills are not paid.
Evidence of donations to charities your loved one does not have a history of supporting.
Robbery caused by doors being left unlocked or because of people they are letting into their home.
Getting lost of wandering off.
Choosing an Elderly Dementia Facility
One of the most important considerations is whether the senior care facility you choose cares for people with all stages of dementia. You don’t want to place them somewhere and then have to move them again when their disease progresses. This could be both frightening and heartbreaking, so make sure they can stay in their new Costa Mesa or Yorba Linda home for the rest of their lives.
You want to choose a senior care facility where the staff is specifically trained to care for individuals with dementia, and they can handle the associated behaviors such as combativeness and sun downing.
There should be specific safety precautions in place for these patients to prevent them from wandering, and these can include locked dementia units or personal monitoring systems.
Paying for Elderly Dementia Senior Care
The majority of families pay for their loved one’s residential care themselves. There are benefits that cover residential senior care, and those include long-term care insurance, Veterans benefits, and Medicaid. Medicare only pays for short-term skilled care and does not pay for the cost of long-term residential care.
At Senior Home Advocates, we have the expertise and experience to help you make the best decisions possible for your loved one with elderly dementia. We’re a comprehensive senior care agency, and we’ll be with you every step of the way.