Caring for a parent or senior loved one isn’t easy. It can take its toll on caregivers and their relatives. This is especially the case if the senior is diagnosed with dementia. Assisted living seems like an attractive option at this time, but how do you know if it’s the right time to seek our senior assisted living near you?
Here’s how you can recognize the signs showing when it’s time to move someone into assisted living.
When Is the Time Right to Move Someone Into Assisted Living?
Over 16 million Americans dedicate their time as a caregiver according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Oftentimes the caregiver is putting their own health at risk. Your health is the most valuable thing that you have, and you should not put it at risk. If you’re putting your own health at risk, then this is when you should strongly consider moving your loved one into assisted living.
The decision to move into assisted living isn’t an easy one, but there are some telltale signs that you should take note of that will help you make the decision.
The signs are:
Unfortunately, there are some ugly signs that might come from those with dementia, including physical, violent, or even sexual assault towards caregivers. This can obviously add a lot of stress to caregivers and their family members.
2) Stressed Out Caregiver
Caregiver stress can be just as significant a sign as the symptoms of dementia mentioned above.
3) Increasing Care Needs
Ask yourself a couple of important questions: “Is this person’s care beyond my abilities?” And “am I putting my health or the health of the person with dementia at risk?” If you answered yes to either of these questions, then you should strongly consider having the tough conversation about assisted living.
4) Safety at Home
You must think about your senior loved one’s health, and you must also consider your own abilities to take care of them. Are they safe or unsafe in their current residence?
5) Sundown Syndrome
“Sundowners syndrome” is a behavioral problem when someone becomes more agitated later in the day, and this is often seen in people with dementia. This can add a lot of extra stress to caregivers, and when it begins to affect family life as well, then that’s a sign that the caregiving will become too much to handle soon.
6) Risk of Injuries
In late-stage dementia, wandering becomes a serious concern. They can begin wandering any time, even when you’re in the bathroom, and they can be at risk of severe injuries such as falls.
Effects on the Caregiver
There isn’t just a monetary cost for caregiving, but a psychological one as well. Caregiving and making tough care decisions are now being compared to the effects of PTSD.
The following behaviors are often seen in caregivers:
- Intrusive thoughts
- Extreme anxiety
- Hyper-avoidance behavior
These behaviors aren’t just the results of caregiving, but also result from the common consequences that go along with caregiving. Consequences like not eating regularly and not sleeping at a regular schedule. After all, if your brain is always on high alert, you’re going to make mistakes with your eating habits and nutrition.
The adverse effects of caregiving, including physical, emotional, and mental stress, are often multiplied for spouses who care for their partner. This is especially the case when the caregiver husband/wife is around the same age as their partner. Of course, it’s challenging for an 80-year-old to take care of an 85-year-old. It can not only be a drain on the caregiver but also dangerous for the person who is too old to take care of themselves. If you’re a caregiver who is in this situation, ask yourself what you would do if your spouse fell to the ground in your home. Would you have the strength to pick him back up? Or would you have to call for an ambulance? If your answer is the latter, then you might need to accept that the demands of caregiving are becoming too high.
Also, pay attention to any negative feelings that you are experiencing with your loved one. Are you feeling angry, resentful, isolated, etc.? If so, then you may need to examine the origins of those feelings.
When you feel this way, do not wallow in guilt. Instead, remind yourself how much you’ve been giving to him or her. Perhaps you will come to the conclusion that “I can’t go on living like this, I’m living my life for this person, and I’m not living my own life anymore.”
The Importance of Planning Ahead
We understand how powerful the feelings of grief and guilt can be for caregivers. As some caregivers put it, “we lose our loved one twice: once to the disease and twice when they pass.”
Caregivers can also have second thoughts – “did I make the right decision moving him into assisted living?” and then experience separation anxiety as a result. For children caregivers, an unhappy childhood can also complicate the decision even further. It’s important for every caregiver to plan ahead.
Planning ahead means that the caregiver and family members must get all of the necessary paperwork together when a person is in the early stages of a serious illness. It’s in our culture not to talk about these things, but someone must still collect all of the paperwork and make the tough decisions on their behalf. This person can be a family member, physician, or friend. This will also help make the process of moving them into assisted living much more straightforward.
In the end, the best care that you can provide your loved one doesn’t have to be your own. The important thing is that they are in the proper place and receiving the appropriate kind of care. When searching for senior assisted living near you, we encourage you to visit the communities before selecting one and be sure that they provide the necessary medical care and activities for dementia patients. As long as you do your homework and research about the community first, your loved one will thrive there.