The mid stage of Alzheimer’s/Dementia requires twenty-four hour care.
This may be the point when you consider institutionalization. To determine when you should place your loved one who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease or dementia in a facility, consider two factors:
Your physical and mental state.
And your loved one physical and mental state.
For many caregivers, the time to send the elder in a facility is when they themselves can no longer cope with the physical or mental demands of care giving. If you are having coping difficulties, try various support services. Alarm signs of the need for caregiver support are:
• Feeling very stressed, anxious, depressed, easily angered, or irritable
• Feeling exhausted or having sleep problems
• Your health begins to deteriorate
• People say you are depressed or exhausted, but you deny it.
• When you withdraw socially
• When you can’t concentrate anymore
You can try resolving these problems through a doctor or counselor or Alzheimer’s support group. Studies have shown that the more support and counseling that caregivers get, the longer the resident stays out of an institution.
The elder’s mental and physical state
Some key behaviors or conditions in the resident that would cause you to consider a facility are:
1. The person is so physically abusive that you don’t feel safe anymore.
2. The person wanders from home and jeopardizes his/her own safety.
3. The person required constant medical/mental/supervision.
At first consider adult day care or respite care to give yourself a break. Such a break may give you what you need to continue with caregiving for a while, or you may use the break to think more clearly about care in a facility for your loved one. Note that placing your relative who has dementia into a facility may bring on added emotional stress. When caregivers place their loved one in a facility they sometimes merely trade the stress of caring for a dementia resident for the stress of managing and witnessing care in a facility for a while. On the other hand, a facility setting, most of the time is better for the resident–a good alternative to the isolation of home care with the social stimulation and professional care provided.
Best types of facilities for Alzheimer’s residents
Some facilities claim to specialize in treating the elder with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia, but not all of them excel in this kind of care. Those that do excel tend to be very expensive. If you cannot afford such care, look for a facility where you and others can visit frequently and assist with your loved one’s needs. Ideally you’ll find a facility where the following criteria are met:
Criteria for a Good Alzheimer’s Care Facility
Caregivers help residents get ample movement – If the resident can move on their own, caregivers help the person to get out of bed. Otherwise, caregivers move the person within their bed and around the facility, particularly outside.
Caregivers appear to truly enjoy what they are doing – look for the smile. Does the staff seem happy and enjoy what they are doing? It is a big indicator of the overall organization health.
Care is culturally and linguistically specific.- It is best to have caregivers who interact with the resident in the resident’s own language. Many residents revert to their native language in the later stages of Alzheimer’s, and caregivers must adjust accordingly. Check for cultural sensitivity in how personnel care for residents.
Residents with dementia live together – Dementia residents should be cared for together with other residents in a group setting. Studies have shown that the social aspects of a group are beneficial to residents with Alzheimer’s or other dementias.