How do you know when it is time to make a change in the living circumstances for your aging parent? It is a daunting question and here are some considerations that can help you in your journey in determining that decision.
- Do they require monitoring for conditions or situations unrelated to dementia that require time and more care than can be provided at home?
- The caregiver’s health is being compromised due to stress and lack of rest.
- The caregiver is missing work due to unavoidable situations that require his/her time at home.
- The needs of other family members (spouses, children, grandchildren) are not being met because of lack of time and personal resources.
- The caregiver is unable to manage the affairs of running a household due to lack of time and inadequate rest.
- There is insufficient support from siblings, children, other relatives or friends.
- Symptoms of the disease become more evident and challenging to manage such as behavior, wandering and incontinence.
- The person with dementia requires more supervision than is realistic for one person to manage. They become more dependent with activities of daily living such as dressing, eating and bathing.
- The other physical demands of the person with dementia surpass those that the caregiver can manage such as lifting, assisting with mobility, and/or negotiating a wheelchair through narrow doorways or hallways.
- The home environment is no longer safe for the person with dementia, such as climbing stairs, getting in and out of the bathtub, carpeting that is difficult to walk on – all of which increase the risk of falls.
The decision to place your loved one is a thoughtful and kind one— however, there can be feelings of grief and guilt. It is important to remember the role of caregiver does not end when a loved one lives elsewhere, it just changes. Without direct care responsibilities, the caregiver will have the opportunity for more quality time, activities and appreciation for the time spent with their loved one.