During a visit to your mom’s memory care clinic, the terms mild/early, moderate/middle, and advanced/late are used to classify where she is. Most doctors will tell you that in the mild or early stage, your mom won’t need a lot of care. You may have to drive her to appointments if she no longer drives, but she can be home alone and doesn’t need a senior care service.
As her symptoms progress, the level of care also changes. Here are some of the things you should look for and use as a guide on when extra help may be needed.
In the early stages, one of your mom’s biggest struggles may be remembering where she put her glasses, purse, or keys. She may find it hard to remain on task and organized. You should be monitoring her ability to pay bills on time or how to count cash or fill out a check. This is a good time to get added to her bank account, so that you can step in and pay bills if it becomes necessary.
If you haven’t found her a memory care doctor, it’s time. Transportation doesn’t have to be a challenge. There are caregivers who can help with transportation if you can’t get out of work. You should attend meetings with the memory care doctor as often as possible, however, to get updates on her abilities and how well medications are working.
In the moderate stages of Alzheimer’s, your mom’s memory loss may make it harder for her to follow instructions in notes you leave her. She may need help with grooming tasks and reminders when it’s time to eat. At this point, she shouldn’t be left alone. She may also start to exhibit odd behavior, such as stripping off clothes in front of others or trying to hug strangers.
She may sleep later in the morning or in the afternoon and then get up at odd hours. This increases the risk of wandering or starting to cook a meal and then forgetting about it. You will need to provide more supervision. Talk to a home care agency about hiring a caregiver so that you can have much-needed time away.
You need help in the late stages of Alzheimer’s. Your mom may struggle to eat without help, get out of bed or walk around, and bowel and bladder control become a problem. Talk to a senior care agency about increasing the amount of care that’s provided by caregivers. It will help you focus on spending quality time with your mom and not becoming anxious about her behavior and health.