According to the latest figures from the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 15 million people throughout the country put their time and energy into caring for someone struggling with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. While it is great that these individuals take it upon themselves to offer assistance to their loved ones, it often leads to increased illness and stress – because caregiving can be extremely demanding.
Signs That Assisted Living Is Essential
It is never an easy decision to move a family member into one of the many residential care facilities. However, there are some clear indicators that you have to recognize that it might be time for an assisted living facility. These are a few of the most important:
- Escalating care needs – Despite your best intentions, sometimes you might just not be able to handle the complex needs of someone living with dementia. Perhaps the needs of this person are beyond your physical abilities. Perhaps you are placing your own health at risk, or the health of the person that you are caring for. If you find that any of these are true, you might want to consider moving your loved one to assisted living.
- Home safety issues – Following up on that, is the person living with dementia actually safe in their home under your care? This means that you have to ask yourself tough questions about your abilities to care for them, but it is essential that you do not shy away from this difficult question.
- Escalating aggression – People living with dementia often display physical, verbal, even sexual aggression. As a result, family members and caregivers themselves might begin to feel some negativity, might even begin to feel resentful. If people are getting to this state, it is the right time to consider a residential living facility.
- Sundowning – Sundowning means that the person in question displays very agitated behavior, behavior that becomes more pronounced later in the day. Those with Alzheimer’s often show this type of behavior. It might be a sign that caregiving is becoming too much if this places a heavy toll on caregivers. If you notice that it is starting to disrupt family routines, this is another indicator that it might be time for assisted living.
- Wandering – The risk posed by wandering becomes much greater during the later stages of dementia. This is not about leaving patients alone for hours on end, but it might even mean that people start to wander when you leave to go to the bathroom. As the disease progresses, the probability of falls (and subsequent injuries) increases drastically.
- Caregiver stress – If you notice that you are unable to deal with the stresses of caregiving, it might be just as indicative of an assisted living facility as any of the aforementioned factors.