WHEN YOU KNOW your parents would be safer in memory care or other senior living arrangements than continuing to live at home, but they have no interest in making any changes, it can be a difficult topic to bring up.
They May Not Recognize Their Difficulties
An older person in the Heber area who is struggling in their home may not have recognized the signs. They might have eyesight too poor to see dirty counters or a strong sense of smell to notice food going bad in the fridge or pantry. A change in their cognition could make them feel quite comfortable in a messy room. If they become less able to manage tasks with multiple steps, they might not feel any urgency about sorting piles of mail.
One example of this kind of unnoticed decline is a woman who was visiting her mother. They had a goal of clearing out the closet and had pulled everything out and sorted it, but ran out of time to finish that same day. They left it out and went to dinner, planning to finish in the morning. When the woman returned the next day, she found that her mother had put everything back in the closet and was angry that her daughter had moved her things around.
It’s a difficult situation. You worry for your loved one’s safety while they insist that they’re still perfectly capable. You can see the loss of short-term memory that prevents them from finishing simple projects and you know it means they shouldn’t be living on their own, but your loved one refuses to clean out clutter and isn’t interested in moving.
The Approach to Memory Care
A good way to approach the topic of memory care can be to tell your loved one that you are worried for them. Have a conversation about their feelings, fears, and wishes. It’s only a conversation, not a lecture or a debate. You’re trying to understand, so avoid yelling, dictating, or admonishing. After this conversation, determine if you could come back on another day and approach the subject of moving again while taking jwhat they said before into consideration.
When short-term memory is poor, the conversation will simply repeat, but the emotions of the discussion will linger even if the content doesn’t. You are still making progress, and you can avoid using language or asking questions that make your loved one more uneasy. Think of it as having multiple chances to get it right, instead of as a frustrating exercise you will have to repeat, and you may find that it is less stressful for both of you.
Change Before Adaptation
One person struggled through moving his parents from independent living to assisted living, only to need to move them to a different assisted living apartment because that community wasn’t working out for them. Any kind of change can be a challenge, but having these kinds of conversations helped him and his siblings. They implemented the change very quickly by taking their parents to lunch, then bringing them back to the new apartment, staying afterward to help decorate and answer their questions.
It took only a few days for the parents to get used to the new place, and they were much happier. They quickly forgot about the prior apartment and enjoyed their new ability to watch people come and go from the entrance to the new place. The parents were in a moderate stage of dementia, and any change can lead to further deterioration in thinking and responses, but the children were surprised to see how much they enjoyed the smaller place and how much easier it was to manage.
Have Realistic Expectations
When there are cognitive issues at play, it may not be possible to talk a loved one into a change like moving into a memory care community like ours in Heber. Their safety should still come first if they are a danger to themselves at home. Don’t put yourself in the position of waiting for a major crisis that will reduce your options and potentially add another health problem to navigate.
Action Is Better Than Inaction
When it doesn’t feel like there’s a right answer, we can assure you that doing nothing is the wrong one. Learn as much as you can about memory care communities like Spring Gardens in Heber, UT. The more you know about memory care, the better you’ll be able to reassure your loved one and the more your mind will be at ease about the move. To find out more about our community, visit our business page. We’d love to give you a visit, so check out the map for directions to us.