Even if this is not a current consideration, it’s a very important question to keep in mind if you or your loved one is showing any signs of dementia. The transition into a memory care facility can be the most emotionally difficult decision to make – and preparation helps. Typically, it is a family member making the decision for a loved one, and unfortunately it is often against their wishes. With cases of dementia and Alzheimer’s, the family member responsible for placing them may undergo much emotional distress in having to deal with their loved one as if they are the child. It’s especially important for the family member placing their loved one to become educated on the effects that dementia and Alzheimer’s have on the brain. It is also important to understand the difference between these two terms.

What is dementia?

  • Not a specific disease; describes a wide range of symptoms
  • Associated with a decline in memory
  • Can reduce a person’s ability to perform daily activities

What is Alzheimer’s?

  • Most common form of dementia
  • Causes problems with memory, thinking, and behavior
  • Not a normal part of aging
  • Progressive; symptoms worsen over time

What does this mean for my loved one? Essentially, once dementia sets in, your loved one will still be there for the most part with some sporadic memory loss. People might not understand that with dementia, even though your loved one might still seem like themselves, their ability to reason is still being affected. Family members who are trying to place a loved one experiencing dementia must keep in mind that although their loved one may seem as if they are just being obstinate, they simply may not have the ability to go through the reasoning process with you. It’s at this point that a family member may have to make a decision which may go against the loved one’s wishes. But, with education, family members can find some encouragement towards making this tough decision by understanding the specific effects that these conditions have on the brain.