Over five million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, the leading cause of dementia, and one in three seniors will die suffering from some sort of dementia. Unpaid caregivers–adult children, spouses, or other family members or close friends–provide the bulk of care for seniors suffering from dementia. And it is often these caregivers who must make the difficult decision to move a loved one to residential care.
If you’re in this situation, it’s likely that you have tried your best to keep your loved one at home. But there comes a time in most cases when you have to consider residential treatment–in the best interest of your loved one’s health and your own. Here are three things to think about when deciding whether the time is right for a move:
- Safety: Safety is the number one reason most caregivers decide to move their loved ones to residential care. As dementia progresses, often what start out as harmless mistakes–like putting reading glasses in the refrigerator–turn into more dangerous blunders–like leaving a gas burner on. Unsupervised, a deteriorating dementia patient can mix up medicines in potentially fatal ways or become confused about finances and fall prey to scammers. Dementia patients often start to wander away from home in confusion and put themselves in dangerous and frightening situations. Even with in-home help, it is hard to watch your loved one 24 hours a day, something that is possible in well-staffed, secured memory care living situations.
- Anxiety: Increasing dementia is often accompanied by increasing depression and anxiety. As the dementia sufferer finds it harder to comprehend and manage everyday life, he will often isolate himself socially, finding it too tough to keep up with normal conversation. Imagine how difficult it would be to live where you recognized no one, barely spoke the language, and didn’t understand any of the local customs. You’d be anxious too. A well-run memory care facility creates its own world with expectations the dementia patient understands and can meet and opportunities for socialization in which he or she can fully participate.
- Your own health: Caregiving for a dementia sufferer is demanding, draining work, made all the more so by the knowledge that, in most cases, there is no cure for your loved one’s decline. If you are overtired and putting your own physical and mental health at risk by taking on too much, it’s time to look at residential care for your loved one. To admit you need help is an act of love that has the potential to improve the quality of life for the dementia suffer and for yourself.
Thousands if not millions of Americans are or will find themselves one day taking care of an elderly spouse, parent, or friend with dementia. And until medical science comes up with a cure for Alzheimer’s and other diseases that lead to dementia, most of those same caregivers will be in the position of considering residential care for their loved one. If you find yourself in this situation, these three considerations should be part of your deliberations over residential care.
Baxter Senior Living is a Senior Housing Community that will be located in Anchorage, Alaska off of Baxter Road. If you are seeking Anchorage Senior Housing, or Assisted Living Facilities in Alaska please contact us today to make your reservations. (907) 891-9696 or fill out our contact form and we will be in touch! contact us
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