Dementia is a debilitating condition that can affect a person’s ability to function independently. As caregivers, it is important to recognize the signs that your loved one may need 24-hour care. Knowing when and how to provide 24-hour care for dementia can be daunting, but here are five key warning signs to look for that suggest your loved one needs 24-hour care.
Changes in Cognitive Function
Changes in cognitive function are often one of the most significant indicators that a person’s dementia has progressed to a point where they require more supervision and support. Experts suggest that if family members notice any of these warning signs, it is important to seek professional help right away.
One of the earliest warning signs is when an elderly loved one begins to forget basic day-to-day activities such as bathing and grooming themselves or taking medications on time. Other telltale signs include confusion in familiar environments, inability to recognize family members and friends, difficulty expressing their thoughts clearly or following conversations, or sudden changes in behavior like increased aggression or agitation.
Difficulty with Daily Tasks
One of the most common warnings is difficulty with daily tasks. This can mean losing track of time or forgetting steps in a familiar routine. It may also include not remembering how to cook or clean and needing frequent reminders for basic hygiene routines like brushing teeth or bathing.
Other indicators that they need round-the-clock monitoring are confusion when completing simple tasks, such as using appliances, writing notes, and managing finances. Your loved one may also demonstrate a decreased overall ability and require assistance with dressing and eating meals independently.
Loss of Self-Care Ability
One of the key warning signs that your loved one needs round-the-clock attention is a loss of self-care ability. This can manifest in many ways and includes forgetting basic hygiene routines, difficulty recognizing hazardous objects or environments, inability to dress or undress without assistance, and an overall decrease in physical independence.
If you notice any of these signs in your loved one with dementia, then 24-hour care may be necessary for his or her safety and well-being. Many health professionals recommend engaging professional caregivers who specialize in dementia care as soon as possible after these warning signs appear to ensure that all appropriate medical decisions are made for your family member’s well-being.
Unexplained Weight Loss
Weight loss is a common symptom of dementia and can be one of the first warning signs that your elderly loved one needs more care and support. If your loved one has unexplained weight loss, it’s important to keep an eye on their health status and monitor the situation closely. Unexplained weight loss in a person with dementia may indicate their illness is progressing or they are beginning to experience more serious issues related to memory or behavior. If you suspect a loved one with dementia is suffering from unexplained weight loss, dining programs at retirement communities help maintain good nutrition.
Agitation can manifest in different ways, from pacing to shouting or even physical aggression. If you notice these behaviors occurring more often than usual, it could indicate that your loved one requires more assistance and supervision than you can provide. Professional caregivers can provide quality health services such as medication management and personal hygiene assistance. At the same time, assisted living communities offer a secure living environment with a supportive team available at all times.