When should I move my loved one with dementia to 24-hour care?
There is no single answer to this question. Each experience with dementia is individual.
Your loved one may be able to live in assisted living or remain under your caregiving throughout their diagnosis. As the dementia progresses, however, there may come a time when around-the-clock supervision and care are necessary to keep your loved one safe.
Making the decision to move your loved one to memory care can be a very difficult choice but knowing how to identify the signs that 24-hour care is necessary can help you evaluate and make that critical determination.
Related: The Conversation About Memory Care
Signs That it May be Time for 24-Hour Care
If your instincts are telling you to consider the move to memory care, you may already be seeing some of the clear signs that 24-hour care is needed. Here are some questions that may help you make the decision:
Safety in Jeopardy
- Is your loved one safe in their environment?
- Can they be left alone at night?
- Are they wandering away from home?
- Are they becoming confused and lost (within their home or away from home)?
- Are they falling or losing balance more frequently?
- Is your loved one increasingly unable to effectively communicate their needs?
- Are they losing their ability to recall vital information (i.e., address and phone number)?
- Safety is the key decision point in deciding whether to move your loved one to memory care.
Memory care communities provide safety and security in environments that diminish confusion as they are designed around the specific needs of people with dementia.
Decline in Social and Mental State
Does your loved one show increased signs of confusion, agitation, or depression?
Are they experiencing difficulties with perception, delusions, or hallucinations?
Is your loved one showing increased aggression or irritability?
As dementia advances, your loved one may not be able to tell you what they need. Agitation and depression can result from both physical and mental needs, and this can also disrupt eating or sleeping habits, as well as increase the chance of perception issues, all of which add to the intensity of caregiving.
Depression can also stem from loneliness. Interaction within a memory care community can help stave off feelings of isolation that can lead to depression.
Our small communities at Sundara fit into the scope of close interaction, which promotes a degree of familiarity and a sense of comfort, stability, and security that is unmatched in larger communities.
Decrease in Self-Care
- Is your loved one unable to eat and drink fluids without assistance? (Do they ‘go without’ if you are not supervising?)
- Is your loved one unable to bathe and dress without assistance?
- Are you seeing new or increased bathroom accidents?
- Are you seeing signs of decreased self-care, such as weight loss, bruising (indicating falls or injuries), or skipped or overtaken medication?
Those with dementia forget to partake in and lose their ability to engage in self-care. They also become unable to articulate to others when they do not feel well, and they fail to seek help. This can show up as a loss of eating or drinking properly, as well as an inability to dress or to bathe. Bathroom accidents can also occur more frequently, including incontinence or other difficulties.
Increased Caretaker Demands
Your single-person role of caretaker may no longer be enough as your loved one’s dementia advances.
- Am I getting proper sleep?
- Am I eating regular well-balanced meals?
- Am I able to take small breaks?
- Is my health holding up?
You cannot be your best ‘you’ as a caretaker if you are unable to take care of yourself. When dementia advances, it simply calls for a more intense schedule.
When you can no longer fit your caretaking into your life without bypassing your needs or self-care (proper sleep, diet, breaks, and social life), it is time to look for assistance…and this could mean around-the-clock care.
You may not be the sole caretaker. If so, your loved one may reside in assisted living. Is the facility able to properly care for the increased needs of your loved one?
We Are Here to Help
There is much more to memory care than ensuring your loved one eats, drinks, and bathes properly. We understand.
We believe in individual care. Each resident matters. We want each resident to feel safe and cared for.
We know that you want the best care for your loved one. Memory care is all we do…and we are really good at it.
If you are in or plan to be in the Round Rock or North Austin, Texas area, we would love to help you with your questions! Contact us online or schedule a virtual tour online or call us at 512-399-5080.