According to the Alzheimer’s Association, over 15 million Americans are currently taking care of a family member suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or some other form of dementia. Unfortunately, as noble as this act can be, caring for an elderly family member on your own can ultimately cause undue stress and even illness for the caregiver themselves. At some point, a loved one should be moved into retirement homes or some type of long term care assisted living facility. There is no shame in admitting that help is needed when you are caring for a loved one on your own.
How to Know if Your Family Member Needs Long Term Care
It can be hard for any caregiver to come to the decision of moving the affected family member into an assisted living center. However, there are some signs to look for when making this important decision. The following factors should be taken into consideration if you or someone you know is caring for an elderly relative who may be suffering from some form of dementia:
Wandering: Many patients with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease are prone to wandering when their caregiver isn’t around or otherwise occupied. It takes just minutes for an elderly person to wander away, just as it would a small child. It’s virtually impossible for one person to physically watch another at every second of the day, and wandering increases the risk of a fall or other accident. Since many elderly men and women have problems with memory loss, they may not be able to tell someone who they are or any other important personal information if they become lost. You can find more information online. The Sienna Living website may be a good place to begin your research.
Safety Issues in the Home: Is your family member becoming more and more forgetful? Are you scared that he or she will leave the gas on and cause a fire, or trip going up and down the stairs? Many patients with some form of dementia will insist that they can take care of themselves because they are scared to give up their freedom. But accidents and injuries in the home are more likely to happen over time when they are not closely monitored. Again, it’s simply not feasible to have to watch someone at all hours of the day and night. Nursing homes will have staff on duty at all times to make sure your loved one does not hurt themselves.
Physical and Verbal Aggression: Even the kindest, most loving parent or family member can start to suffer from aggression as their disorder becomes more and more pronounced. This can take an emotional toll on the caregiver and other family members who are taking care of or visiting the person. Their behavior can quickly escalate to the point of disrupting family routines on a daily basis, and this is when placement in nursing homes or other assisted living residences is a good idea.
It’s not easy to care for someone who is suffering from dementia. Talk to your family doctor or the doctor of your loved one when you have questions about placing your loved one in a home. They can help you decide the best course of action and point you in the direction you need.