It may be too early for a senior to move into a memory care community if the individual is generally healthy and able to take care of themselves but is struggling with one or two areas of managing a household. Dementia has three stages, known as early-, middle- and late-stage dementia. Seniors with early-stage dementia may exhibit some signs of forgetfulness but may be able to take care of themselves safely with only a little extra support. Those who are more seriously affected by the condition may forget to eat, neglect other personal care tasks or be prone to wandering in a way that puts them in danger.

If dementia is caught early, it’s possible to manage the condition. Many seniors lead productive and healthy lives for years after an early-stage dementia diagnosis. That’s why it’s so important for loved ones to encourage seniors to seek medical advice if they notice a change in their behavior or any issues that may be an early warning sign of dementia.

Seniors Can Get Help to Remain in Their Own Homes

Seniors with early-stage dementia may not need to move into a memory care community immediately. By taking advantage of community support services, seniors can remain in their own homes, close to their loved ones. Living independently in this way may help slow any cognitive decline. Regular visits from a home care service may reduce the burden of housekeeping and personal care tasks, while meal delivery services may help seniors eat a healthy diet if their dementia makes it unsafe for them to cook for themselves. It may be possible to get financial help with these services through Home and Community-Based Care Medicaid Waivers for seniors who are on a low income and require a high level of support.

Have the Memory Care Conversation Early

Making the decision to move into a memory care community isn’t an easy one, and some seniors may be resistant to the idea if they worry about losing their independence. Talking to your loved one about their wishes and preferences long before the issue of memory care becomes a pressing one can make it easier to make the transition when the time comes. If your loved one is open to the idea of downsizing from the family home to an assisted living community, consider finding a community that offers aging in place, so they aren’t faced with any upheaval when their care needs change, and they have to take advantage of the community’s memory care services.