Welcome back to the Concerns & Advice series. Last week we featured a blog on a member of the New LifeStyles family, who is dealing with the effect of dementia and Alzheimers on their parents. In this weeks post we are featuring advice to help others who may be in the same situation.
After your loved one receives a diagnosis of a dementia related illness, especially a progressive one, your mind fills with questions. What do we do now? How do we prepare for an uncertain future? Will I be capable of caring for my loved one’s needs as the illness progresses? Ideally, we would like to keep our loved one at home as long as possible. But, how should we decide when it is the proper time to move them into a memory care community?
Here are three criteria to consider when deciding if and when this move is necessary for your loved one.
If your loved one is still capable of completing daily self-care, then remaining at home could be a better temporary option. If a little help is necessary for daily self-care tasks, your loved one may not want to ask you to assist them. So it may be in your best interest to bring in a home care aide a few hours each day, or a few days a week to assist with these tasks. In all your loved one may feel more comfortable allowing a home care aide to assist rather than a family member. If the daily care becomes so difficult that you feel overwhelmed on a regular basis even with the help of a professional caregiver, it is probably time to consider moving them into a memory care unit where full-time specialized care is available.
Disorientation and Wandering
There is nothing as frightening as having a loved one with memory issues slip, out for a “walk” only to be found days later suffering from exposure or worse. If you are capable of having someone with your loved one round-the-clock to monitor their movements, then staying at home is still possible. But if wandering and disorientation continues to occur frequently, it may be time to reconsider living at home.
The same caution goes for the use of major appliances like the stove, or the car. One woman took her father’s car key off of his key ring and replaced it with a key that while similar, didn’t start his car. When her father went out to try to start the car the key wouldn’t work. He would sit in frustration for a moment and then go back into the house. Another strategy is to unhook the battery of the car if it is a car you do not use regularly. However, with all of these strategies and tips on how to keep your loved one safe; sometimes a devastating fire or car accident may still occur regardless of the precautions taken. At that time, it may be best to pursue memory care.
Although we may feel that are loved ones are happier at home, being at home may not be the best option if their safety is at bay. Memory care units are well equipped as a safe secure place for your loved one to live with dignity while the illness progresses, and should be considered as a viable option. If you would like to find memory care options in your area click here for more information.