Placing your loved one who suffers with Alzheimer’s in an Alzheimer's care facility is not easy. It is hard to do and few people with dementia want to go. This will be one of the most difficult, heart-wrenching decisions you, as an Alzheimer's caregiver, will ever have to make. Remember, the early you make this decision with your loved one, the easier it will be to do when the time comes.
You may think you can provide the care, but…What if you have to work full-time and can't provide the 24/7 care dementia patients require -- especially those in the later stages of the disease? What if you can't afford an in-home care service that could help make it possible for the person to remain at home? What about when no friends or family members will help you out? Or what can you do if your loved one becomes combative and you simply can't manage him or her anymore?
There are other considerations as well. Your loved one may habitually forget to turn off the stove, leading to a risk of fire. He or she may be up all night, causing you to be up as well. You may both become sleep-deprived -- a serious health risk for both of you. You have to consider your own health, not only for your well-being, but because you can't provide good care for the patient if you're exhausted all the time.
Some family members removed from the situation may not agree with your decision. This can lead to rifts in relationships and family harmony. They may try to make you feel guilty enough to give up any plans for institutionalization.
What to do? Sometimes, placement in Alzheimer’s care facilities is the best solution for your benefit and the benefit of the person for whom you're caring. But many people feel that putting their loved one into Alzheimer’s care homes is a cop out.
If you do it you may feel terribly guilty. But if the person really needs to be in a facility for his or her own safety and well-being you may end up feeling even more guilty if you don't do it. If something happens to your loved one, you'll never forgive yourself.
So, how do you decide what's best? Ask yourself two questions:
1) Would being in a facility provide your loved one with better care, more personal attention, more opportunities for socialization and greater safety?
2) Is taking care of the person at home wrecking your own physical and mental health?
If you answered "yes" to either one of these questions it may be time to start looking for a good facility.
If you decide to go ahead with it, follow through. Find the best facility you can afford and don't look back. Don't worry about your loved one hating you forever. People with Alzheimer's who are placed in nursing homes typically adjust in time and, if their dementia is advanced enough, they will soon forget they were even moved in the first place.
For more information on Alzheimer’s care facilities, contact Spring Arbor.