Posted on Oct 8, 2020 in Dementia Care
If you’re looking after a loved one with dementia, ensuring you’re both safe and comfortable is key even if that means a shift to dementia care.
Families are faced with a dilemma if a loved one’s symptoms of dementia start to become too difficult to manage. It’s natural to feel guilty, especially if you promised you wouldn’t put them in a home. But, if you’re struggling to deal with increasingly difficult behavior or physical impairments, perhaps it’s time to move them to somewhere that can better meet their needs.
Whether your family member has vascular dementia, Alzheimer’s or LBD (Lewy body dementia), dementia is terminal and progressive. You might not want to put your loved one in a home, but if their condition gets too bad, you could be forced to if you’re in danger of burnout.
While it may seem unkind, you will be making the most caring decision for your loved one.
Families often wait too long to put their loved ones in dementia care, by which time the situation has already reached crisis point. Placing a person in dementia care is typically the result of an accumulation of events which starts to take its toll on the caregiver.
Usually, when the development of a physical impairment becomes too much for a caregiver to comfortably handle, the heart-wrenching decision is made to move a loved one into long-term care.
If you’re coping with health issues of your own, caring for someone with dementia can become a struggle and bring about negative consequences for your own health.
It’s natural to feel remorseful, but sometimes a move to dementia care is the best option.
A few more specifics next on what this type of care involves…
Dementia care or memory care is the provision of long-term care for someone with any type of dementia from Alzheimer’s and LBD to Parkinson’s dementia and vascular dementia.
Dementia care involves continuous care delivered around the clock. Nursing staff specially trained in managing different types of dementia manage and administer medication, assist with personal care, dressing, and bathing.
Purpose-built dementia care facilities are designed to limit confusion. For example, people with Alzheimer’s tend to see shadows at dusk which can be confusing and disorientating. Design takes subtleties like this into account.
Dementia care is residential just like assisted living. With dementia care, though, you receive a higher level of care. Hourly checks are made to check you are safe and to see if you need any further assistance.
A common factor of dementia is wandering. Dementia care homes are completely secure so no one can escape.
Putting your loved one into dementia care will relieve the physical and emotional burden that’s weighing on you and allow you to better enjoy your time together.
The life expectancy for someone with AD is on average 4 to 8 years from diagnosis. However, some patients with Alzheimer’s can happily thrive for another 20 years.
Alzheimer’s doesn’t just affect memory, it also targets part of the brain responsible for behavior and emotions. As Alzheimer’s progresses, sufferers start to experience pronounced behavioral and emotional changes. At this stage, behavior of a dementia sufferer can start to become more challenging.
If you notice any of the following signs manifesting, you should double down on plans to scope out memory care units:
A person with Alzheimer’s can become physically, verbally, and even sexually aggressive. This can be a frightening, upsetting, and potentially dangerous experience, especially if the caregiver is frail.
Wandering is a very common symptom of advanced dementia. Unfortunately, people with dementia also wander at night, so they need 24-hour care. If you are a sole caregiver, monitoring these nighttime wanderings will leave you frazzled.
Dementia care units ensure staff are in place to assist throughout the night. The unit will be secure so no one can abscond.
At dusk, someone with dementia can become more confused and anxious which leads to behaviors that can be quite distressing. This phenomenon is known as sundowning.
Often, people who are sundowning may start shouting, pacing around, moving furniture, or even attacking other people.
An effective memory care unit is designed with the dementia sufferer in mind. Brightly-lit interiors reduce long shadows in the early evening which in turn minimizes the chance of confusion or anxiety kicking in.
If you are constantly forced to get up in the middle of the night to check your loved one is safe, your health is ultimately going to suffer.
The constant aggression you may receive from your loved one may be wearing you down. You might understand it’s the illness not the person, but that doesn’t make it any easier when you experience it every day.
When it comes to bathing, you may find your loved one resistant. This is not a situation you want to be dealing with daily.
There might come a time when your elderly loved one’s mobility becomes so impaired that you have to do everything for them. This becomes a job for two people if your relative is heavy. If they are also being aggressive, you could risk injuring your back as you try to assist them.
Dementia care units have different types of mobility aids to help people with these common mobility issues. Their bathrooms are laid out so hoists and wheelchairs can be easily maneuvered. Staff trained in the latest manual handling techniques can manage a heavy person with dementia far more efficiently and smoothly than someone on their own at home.
Many people who place their loved ones into dementia care are very reluctant at first. We understand this. Once the move takes place, though, it can rapidly start seeming like the kindest decision possible.
Placing your loved one into dementia care may seem cruel and uncaring. But, your loved one will soon adapt, and you’ll get some rest and time to look after yourself. As a result, the time spent with them will be far more fruitful and worthwhile.
If you have any concerns about moving your loved one into dementia care, get in touch with us here at Landmark Senior Living.
We understand that everyone needs different memory care treatments for the symptoms of dementia. Our MorningStar memory care program allows your loved one to live independently while all the help and supervision they need is on hand when they need it. Call us today and arrange for a free tour of our dementia care communities.