One of the most difficult things for an adult to realize is that their parents are starting to show signs of cognitive decline. Some cognitive decline is normal as you age, but it’s also a sign of Alzheimer’s disease.

It’s estimated that around 6.5 million adults in the U.S. who are at least 65 years old have Alzheimer’s, as of 2022. While families sometimes try to allow their loved ones to age in place, others realize that assisted living is a more suitable option. Here is more helpful information to help you cope.

Alzheimer’s Leads to Memory Loss and Personality Changes

Memory loss is one of the primary signs of cognitive decline. Coping with this when your parent is showing signs of it can be overwhelming. Consider using these tips:

  • Remain calm and keep the mood positive
  • Keep distractions to a minimum when communicating with them
  • Speak about fond memories even if they don’t remember them now
  • Show them pictures and other mementos that may trigger memories
  • Be patient and compassionate as their needs change
  • Watch for triggers that make them agitated and try to minimize those
  • Work with their care team to keep them comfortable
  • Redirect anger or irritation when possible
  • Never take anything personally
  • Take steps to keep them safe from hazards as cognitive decline progresses

How Assisted Living and Memory Care Can Help

Assisted living programs encompass a vast selection of activities that are tailored to the residents of the facility. Most have an inclusive activities calendar that’s set up by an activities director.

Assistance with housekeeping and daily care tasks, including all meal preparation, is usually provided. As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, your parent may have to be reminded to take care of basic hygiene. They may need assistance with simple tasks like eating or dressing. Assisted living can help with these, as well as with other aspects of care like medication management.

Some assisted living facilities have a dedicated memory care program. These programs use structure and familiarity to help residents who have Alzheimer’s or other conditions that lead to cognitive decline. Finding a suitable one for your parents if they need extra assistance and safety measures is a priority once you realize they can’t safely remain at home any longer.