Whether an individual with dementia would do better at home or in a care facility largely depends on their specific situation. Individuals with a strong support network might be able to be taken care of at home, while those with additional chronic health conditions or in the late stages of the disease might need the additional assistance of a Colorado assisted living facility or nursing home. Here are some items to consider when making this difficult decision.
Ways to Support a Loved One With Dementia
With a strong support group or care network, an individual might feel more at peace in their own home. Dementia patients often benefit from things like:
- A Carer or Care Group: Carers who know the individual with dementia can help them by providing assistance according to their personal preferences. A strong care group can help the individual maintain their sense of autonomy.
- Changes in Their Surroundings: From small items like memory aids and grip extensions to large items like wheelchair ramps and raised toilets, items in the home can play a large role in an individual’s sense of control over their own life.
- Renovations: If possible, changing the way a home is designed can help an individual with dementia. Things like improved lighting, accessible bathroom and shower facilities, and wide hallways without clutter can make movement for daily tasks easier.
Many assisted living facilities offer extensive groups of experienced carers to support individuals with dementia. These facilities are also designed with mobility and memory issues in mind, offering soft natural lighting, wide hallways, and hardwood floors that make it easier to use mobility aids.
Do Dementia Patients Need to Enter a Care Home?
Some individuals with dementia might not need to enter a care home at all, but many care homes are specifically designed for people with dementia. Here are some signs that you might need to consider additional support for your loved one with dementia:
- Inability to Provide Assistive Devices: According to John Hopkins Medicine, one study indicated that 97% to 99% of individuals with dementia and carers had problems meeting needs related to dementia. If you as a carer are unable to outfit your home with things like grab bars, modified beds, or larger showers, a loved one with dementia might be better served in a care home that can ensure these benefits.
- Lost Wages: Many carers are not able to maintain traditional employment if they are caring for a loved one with dementia full-time. This might result in a loss of income. Although assisted living can be expensive, many residents are eligible for Medicaid and other forms of financial support, making it a more viable option for some.
- Additional Illnesses: If a loved one with dementia has other illnesses like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, or depression, a person without a medical background might not be properly equipped to take care of them. Assisted living facilities usually have medical staff available 24/7 for those with more complicated health circumstances.
What Does an Assisted Living Facility Offer?
Assisted living facilities offer many services that can help seniors feel less anxious or depressed, more active in their daily lives, and connected to others. Many facilities offer programs like physical therapy, entertainment like music and art, and other engaging programs to stimulate individuals, regardless of their health status.
These facilities also offer peace of mind for loved ones of individuals with dementia. They usually offer services to help residents bathe, groom, and dress, as well as manage their medications to ensure they are taking them regularly. Other services like meals and regular checks can help loved ones feel confident that their resident is being taken care of.
Q: How Long Can a Person With Dementia Live at Home?
A: The length of time for which a dementia patient can live at home largely depends on the individual. Some people are diagnosed quickly, while others are diagnosed at later stages. This impacts the amount of time someone might be able to live at home. Other health conditions might also prevent a dementia patient from living at home. For more information on individual circumstances, consult a doctor or a care facility directly.
Q: What Are Three Things to Never Do With Your Loved One With Dementia?
A: It is important to understand that adults with dementia are still adults and should be treated as such. At the same time, correcting someone with dementia can cause unnecessary stress and tension, so avoid correcting them unless it is absolutely necessary. Bringing up unfavorable memories of the past can remind someone with dementia of a traumatic event as if it just happened, so focus on the positive rather than the negative.
Q: What Stage of Dementia Is Wanting to Go Home?
A: A loved one with dementia might say that they want to go home, even if they are already there. This is due to a phenomenon called time-shifting, which makes them think they are at a different point in their life, like their childhood. This occurs most often in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease but can occur with any form of dementia. It can occur at any stage of cognitive decline, but it is more likely to occur as the disease progresses.
Q: When Should You Put Someone With Dementia in a Home?
A: Once a person with dementia progresses into the later stages of the disease, they might need to be put in a care home if their family or other loved ones cannot properly take care of them anymore. Some people might be able to live more independently in an assisted living facility, while others with more demanding needs might need to be moved into a nursing home. Overall, it depends on each person’s unique situation.
Help Making Difficult Decisions
Deciding whether to put a loved one in an elder care facility can be one of the hardest decisions to make. The staff at Rocky Mountain Assisted Living understand the importance of finding the right care home for your loved one. Contact us for help answering tough questions, more information on our services, or to schedule a tour of our facility. We can help make your loved one feel safe and secure in their new phase of life.