When we found out that my mom was experiencing signs of dementia, we didn't take the news lightly. We were concerned about her well-being, and I knew that she couldn't keep living on her own. To keep her safe, I decided to enroll her in a nursing home that specialized in mental health care. She was concerned about the change at first, but as soon as she moved in, she only had positive things to say about her new digs. She loved the ability to get in touch with doctors the same day, and she was even able to make a few friends along the way. This blog is all about keeping your parents safe, happy and healthy.
When you have a parent with Alzheimer's disease, you may find that caring for them at home isn't as easy as you originally thought it might be. People with Alzheimer's go through different stages and some of them can be so difficult to cope with that the person needs 24-hour monitoring and care. It's a job that is nearly impossible to do unless you have plenty of help. One solution is to place your parent in a facility that specializes in taking care of Alzheimer's patients. You may need to use such a facility for the long-term or just until your parent passes through a difficult phase. Here are some situations that may arise that you can't deal with alone.
If your parent is in good health otherwise and fully mobile, you may have a period of time when wandering is a big problem. Your parent may get outside and wander off and be unable to get back home. He or she may even wander out into the backyard and not be able to figure out how to get inside the house and suffer from heat exhaustion or cold exposure. Wandering is a dangerous problem you'll have to guard against 24 hours a day since patients with Alzheimer's often have a disrupted sleep cycle. If your parent is always compelled to be on the move, he or she may wander around your house if they can't get outside. Destructive behavior may ensue not out of violence, but due to confusion and the compulsion to be active even if it is just to rip up papers or move things around.
People with dementia often have sundown syndrome. This is when your parent gets active and more confused at night. They may even be prone to violence and paranoia at night while being calm during the day. During this phase, your parent will need to be monitored at night for safety reasons. You can't stay awake 24 hours a day, so if you don't have help at home, your parent may be safer in an Alzheimer's facility while going through this phase, especially if your parent is larger than you and prone to violent outbursts.
Problem behaviors may go away as the Alzheimer's disease progresses. Your parent may become docile and easier to manage. Since it may take years for your parent to reach the end stages of Alzheimer's disease, you may want to care for him or her at home during the calm years. However, when your parent nears the end of the Alzheimer's journey, he or she will probably be bedridden and have difficulty swallowing. You may not be able to keep up with lifting and turning to prevent bedsores, and you may be very uncomfortable with feeding your parent if it causes coughing and choking. Your parent may receive better care during the invalid stage if placed in a center with healthcare professionals. You should still be able to visit as often as you wish so you can be present during your parent's last days and at the time of death.
Everyone with Alzheimer's disease progresses through it differently and the care they require differs from person to person. While you may be committed to caring for your parent at home, there are times when your parent may be safer and more at ease in an Alzheimer's care facility. You can still be involved in daily care, but you won't be overwhelmed, which means you'll be able to provide your parent with the love and support they need.
For more information, contact a center such as Wellspring Meadows Assisted Living.