As people age, memory often becomes a problem. For caregivers, it can be hard to decide what kind of services are needed. Unfortunately, those with dementia or Alzheimer’s often develop needs that go beyond what in-home care can provide. As the disease progresses seniors may require residential care, but when is the right time?

Memory care is best suited for seniors who show significant signs of increasing cognitive decline. Unlike natural aging, memory loss from dementia includes issues with perception, problem-solving, language, and emotional behavior or personality. If you or someone you know is experiencing significant memory loss, here are a few tips to help you decide:

  • Conversations: How coherent and consistent are conversations? Seniors commonly struggle with minor memory loss; seniors with dementia are often unaware of dates, time, and people. Make note of any changes in speed or tone as well. Unprovoked agitation, aggression, or defensiveness in conversation is a common indicator of dementia.


  • Activities: Are they participating in usual activities? Seniors experiencing dementia slowly discontinue their usual activities without any noticeable reason. Sometimes they stop making plans and stop referencing the future, showing noticeable signs of depression. If you notice these signs, contact a healthcare provider as soon as possible.


  • Weight: Has their physical appearance changed significantly? Seniors with dementia may experience weight loss for a number of reasons. Forgetting to prepare meals, grocery shop, or maintain medication can all result in weight changes.


  • Hygiene: Is the senior properly maintaining their overall appearance? Seniors with dementia often struggle to maintain basic hygiene over time. Keep an eye out for unkempt appearance, dirty/mismatched clothes, dental issues, or bad smell.


  • Cleanliness: Has their slowly become messy or unclean? If you notice their home becoming harder to maintain, it could indicate a problem with memory. Housekeeping is difficult for many older people, but for those with dementia even basic housekeeping eventually becomes impossible.


Seniors with dementia experience complex issues that change and progress over time. Early signs of dementia are easily overlooked; however, seniors with these issues may need residential care regardless of dementia. If you notice any significant changes in physical appearance or emotional health, consult with a healthcare provide immediately.

Memory care communities ensure seniors and their loved ones no longer have to worry about safety or personal care. Memory care uses unique interior designs and personalized programs to accommodate memory loss. This means 24/7 care, wander-friendly halls, and therapies designed to improve memory. Memory care provides everything seniors need to live comfortably and safely.


The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material found on this website is intended to promote and encourage consumer understanding and should not be considered alternative or supplementary medical advice. If you have any concerns regarding your health or physical condition, seek the advice of a licensed qualified healthcare provider. Be sure to discuss any changes or concerns with your doctor before beginning a new healthcare regimen, undergoing any procedures, or changing current healthcare plans. Seniors and Health does not claim medical representation and assumes no responsibility in the accuracy of the information available on this website.

To learn about other common health concerns among senior, check out our Dementia and Memory Care  page; we also provide information on senior care options on our Assisted Living page.

Want to get more helpful tips? Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, Pinterest and Google Plus



About the Author: Victoria K. Stickley is a copywriter, editor, and senior content manager based in the Dallas area. Her graduate education in counseling and research has helped immensely in her writing as well as the care she provides for her grandparents. She currently provides support and resources to senior care websites as she learns and experiences senior care first-hand.