According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 16 million Americans devote their unpaid energy and time to caring for a parent or senior loved one with dementia. Sometimes caregivers find themselves unable to bear the burden of providing home health care without suffering from illness themselves. This is when the cost of caregiving becomes too high and when it is time to consider moving a loved one into assisted living. Moving a parent is never an easy decision, but there are some telltale signs to look for that will help you recognize when it’s the right time for assisted living.
Physical, sexual or violent aggression frequently happen in people with dementia, and caregivers or other family members may begin to feel resentful or stressed. When people are getting to that state, it’s time to start considering placement.
Caregiver symptoms like increased stress can be just as telling a sign as the dementia behaviors described above. When the brain is always on alert, many things are going to happen — you’re not going to eat well, your nutrition is going to go down. The emotional, mental and physical toll of caregiving can be particularly pronounced for children of those who need care.
Escalating Care Needs
Ask yourself: “Are the person’s care needs beyond my physical abilities?” or “Is the health of the person with dementia or my health as a caregiver at risk?” If you’re answering yes to those questions, it might be time to have that tough family conversation.
Consider your senior loved one’s health and your own abilities to care for them. Is the person with dementia unsafe in their current home?
“Sundowners syndrome” — very agitated behavior that becomes more pronounced later in the day — is a common characteristic of those with dementia. This can take a heavy toll on caregivers and when it begins to severely disrupt family routines, this may be a sign that the caregiving burden is too difficult to handle.
In later stages of dementia, the risk posed by wandering becomes much greater. They can wander even if you just take the time to go to the bathroom, and the probability of falls and injuries increases as well.
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