For individuals needing or considering assisted living, Conroy believes it’s best to actively explore care centers as often as possible.
“Even if it’s two or three years down the road, it’s important to look around at potential places you would want to live,” said Shannon Conroy, marketing director at Edgewood Vista in Minot. “So many times, families do not come to a decision until a crisis occurs. I encourage families as well as potential residents to visit different places so when the time comes, they are comfortable with where they are.”
When looking for signs of dementia, Jodi Keller, memory care manager, said it’s critical to observe a person’s ability to complete a task while watching the level of concentration it takes to recall short-term memory.
“Typically, what you will see first is difficulties with problem solving and money skills,” Keller said. “Oftentimes, people are managing their finances and they begin to forget or show signs of struggling to understand certain concepts involved with handling money.”
Along with consistent struggles to calculate finances, somebody recommends watching how a person manages daily tasks.
“Using a remote control or operating a telephone are some of the first signs people see as well,” Keller said. “Difficulties following cooking recipes, forgetting to eat meals, visible weight loss and reduced personal hygiene are some of the usual signs of dementia.”
Aside from handling chores and maintaining finances, changes in personality are also signs that dementia is affecting an individual.
“Sometimes, a person may become more withdrawn,” Conroy said. “They don’t like to leave their home because they have their own routines but when they go out they experience anxiety. It’s hard for someone with dementia to be in public, activities such as looking at a five-page menu can be an overwhelming experience for them. Rather than reading the menu, they’ll say ‘I’ll just have what you’re having’.”