Assisted Living Community

Taking care of a dementia patient, is neither an easy task for the dementia caregiver nor for their families and loved ones.

Most are the times that many families take to assisted living, at this point. But the main question is, if one is able to identify signs, that it is the precise moment, for their loved one to take up to assisted living?

Here is what a psychologist had to say about getting to identify and understanding these signs.

How to Recognise that One’s Loved One May Require An Assisted Living Community

According to a report by the Alzheimer’s Association, people channel lots of energy and time to taking care of one of their loved ones, who is suffering from Alzheimer disease or any other dementia.

However, the unfortunate at times ends up happening, where the caregivers find themselves facing a financial crisis, they find themselves in a situation where they too suffer from an illness, as they bear the burden of offering home health care to their loved ones.

This is the point at which one needs to evaluate the option of moving their loved one into assisted living, if their health care demands surpass that which can be handle comfortably at home.

The decision of moving one’s loved one into assisted living is never, a walk in the park, however there are the significant signs that should act as an indication to the caregivers to notify them that the time is right to seek assisted living.

Aggression

Those with dementia often exhibit sexual, violent, as well as physical aggressiveness, and this may result in resentfulness from the family members and the caregivers.

When they are getting to that state, then it is a clear indication that it is time consider the placement option.

Stress on the Caregiver

When the caregiver starts to experience increased stress levels, then it is as well a sign of the already described dementia behaviors.

Accelerating Care Necessities

A critical question that a caregiver needs to ask themselves is: “Is the patient’s needs getting beyond what you can handle?” or “Are you putting your health as well as that of the person with dementia at risk?”. It is at this point that the family needs to have the tough sit- down and come to an agreement.

Safety of the Home

One needs to evaluate their ability of taking care of their loved one and the safety of the patient in their current home.

Sundowners Syndrome

An agitated conduct of the person with dementia, which intensifies as time goes by, referred to as “Sundowners syndrome”, is a common behavior among dementia patients, and this can go a long way in frustrating the caregivers.

This can become unbearable among the family members, as it increasingly disrupts their routines, which is a clear indication that the caregiving is becoming a burden.

Wandering

When dementia patients get to the later stages, they may often wander off, when not under surveillance from their caregivers, even for a second. This puts the patients at increased risk of falling and getting serious injuries.

Stress can Point Out Necessity for Aid

A New York Times publication covered the psychological implications that may occur to a caregiver, as they go about to make tough caregiving decisions, some specialists even compare this, to the effects of post- traumatic stress syndrome.

The symptoms which the caregivers may exhibit include:

  • Hyper- vigilance
  • Behaviors of avoidance and seclusion
  • Intrusive thoughts
  • Disabling anxiety and others

According to John Wright owner of Westminster Lodge Mackay, he not only attributes these signs to the pressure of taking care of someone with dementia, but also on the disruption of the caregiver’s eating, sleeping patterns, which is as a result of too much of their attention and time been dedicated to giving care to the patient.

He backed this up by saying that, when the brain is constantly on the alert, so many things will take place, as one is not going to eat properly and one’s nutrition levels will drop and so will their health.

For spouses of those requiring care, the effects of the caregiving, which are physical, emotional, as well as mental can be more pronounced.

A recent example is the primary caregiver who is the wife is 80 years old, and taking care of her 85-year-old husband, something which is quickly draining her too. In a recent incident the man fell and the wife was unable to pick him up, and she had to call for ambulance aid.

In such instances it is out rightly evident that the needs for care have become too much for the caregiver to bear, but in other cases it might not be that obvious.

If one starts to get feelings of resentment, isolation and loneliness, as the caregiver, then there is urgent need to find out where they are emanating from.

Sleep disorder, poor eating habits, hot- temperedness, as well as resentment all end up been part of the caregiver. Also there is the other issue of one feeling guilty, as they are not sure they are doing enough. It is at this point where one needs to remind themselves of how much they have been giving to their loved one, and maybe go ahead and tell themselves, “Alright, I am no longer living for my own sake, but for the patient’s sake.”

What If My Loved One Requires More Care than I can Provide?

It is a tough decision to choose between home health care for one’s loved one versus assisted living, and this results in guilt and grief in the caregivers, as moving their seniors out of their homes, isn’t easy for them to deal with.

We end up losing our loved ones twice: first to the disease, and the second when they are no more.

The caregivers get into a dilemma, whether they did enough or should have put more effort, they may experience separation anxiety at the thought of relocating their loved one. In the case where there are strenuous family dynamics, for instance in the case, a caregiver, who had an unhappy childhood, is giving care to a parent, these may end up making the decision process be more problematic. Thus the need of pre- planning for this.

In the early stages of a loved one’s illness, it is necessary to first get all the paperwork together and ready. She said that, it is the culture of most people to shy away from talking about those things.

However, before the dementia starts affecting the person’s cognitive health, it is vital to have a close person, be it a family member, physician or friend, help the person to get together the right paperwork, and make the vital decisions. This will go a long way in easing the process of moving one’s loved one into assisted living, when that time comes.

The best one can do for their loved in the case of moving them into care, is to ensure that they are moving them to a place where all their needs will be adequately and efficiently met. One should make pre- visits to the communities they intend to move their loved one’s before settling for any of them.

They should ensure that there are appropriate medical support facilities, as well as activities for dementia patients, in those communities. Rita says, that one should keep in mind that, once they have done their research properly, their loved one is going to thrive wherever they will send them to.

Ways to Care for the Caregiver

One of the best ways in which one can be in a position to give support to their loved one as a caregiver is by staying healthy and strong, as a caregiver it can at times be difficult to find ample time to take care of your senior, not even mentioning even oneself.

If one is taking care of some at home, then organizing a brief shift breather, is a way one can get some time off to rest a bit and build up your strength.

One should also be keen about their mental health, and having a circle of support such as friends or other family members, to offer a shoulder to lean when times get difficult is also advisable. There is therapy, counseling and support groups, at the disposal of family members who are through changes relating to dementia and Alzheimer’s.

One should check with the intended community one’s loved one is moving to. Most of them, have caregivers’ support groups, and also offer other family resources. These resources, can go a long way in making one realize that putting one’s loved one into care is for the best of their loved one as well as for themselves, in terms of happiness and health wise.

We need to realize that, as human beings we have limitations, as we can only offer so much at the expense of our health.