Written by Active Minds on Wednesday the 25th of July 2018.
Especially when a loved one is first diagnosed with dementia, it can be hard to think of a time when they will not be able to look after themselves. However, as dementia progresses they may start to slowly lose their ability to care for themselves, and moving your loved one to a care home may become the only option. Many family members struggle with this decision, but it is important to remember that care homes provide much needed support for people with dementia, and will give them a safe and loving environment for them to live in.
Whilst there are many reasons a person may move into a care home, each is, of course, unique to the individual. Here are 5 reasons the move may be a good idea.
People with dementia, especially in the latter stages, have a tendency to walk out of their home, and although walking and keeping mobile is a good thing, they may often end up getting lost as they become confused and agitated. A care home will ensure that your loved one is constantly monitored, and they can walk about as much as they would like, but in a safe environment or accompanied and without the fear of getting lost.
Elderly people can be admitted to hospital for a variety of reasons, from broken bones to chest infections. However, over one third of people living with dementia who are admitted to hospital, regardless of the reason, will move to a care home after they are discharged. Staying in a hospital can be a confusing and scary time for a person with dementia, leading to them feeling more agitated and less independent which makes a move to a care home more likely to help with their ongoing care. The longer the stay in hospital, the more likely they are to move to a care home on their discharge.
Changes in your loved one behaviour can be very difficult to deal with, especially if they start to become angry or aggressive. This can be even harder and more emotionally draining when this anger feels like it is directed at you. Whilst some levels of aggression can be dealt with, if you begin to feel in physical danger it may be time to move your loved one to a care home who are better equipped at dealing with these outbursts.
People with later stage dementia will often experience issues with their balance and walking, often causing them to fall. Similarly, other ‘near-miss’ situations may start to occur, such as forgetting to turn off the hob and almost starting a fire. Incidences like this can be scary and may indicate that it is time for your loved one to move to place that they can be watched over and looked after.
Caring for a loved one who has dementia is incredibly tiring, both physically and mentally, and you may find yourself becoming more and more exhausted. Many family carers struggle to ask for help, believing they should continue regardless of the toll it may be placing on their wellbeing. But please remember, being a carer can cause stress and depression, and lead to you ‘burning out’ which can have serious health implications. Deciding that your loved one needs to go to a care home should not be something you are ashamed of. Freeing up your time will allow you to feel less stressed, plus it will mean that you will start to enjoy your relationship with your loved one all over again, spending quality time with them, rather than worrying and panicking about their care 24/7.
Care homes offer a loving and nurturing environment for your relative, as well as providing stimulating activities for dementia residents and wonderful opportunities for socialisation.