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How to Know When Home Care is Needed

When a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, their family may try to continue caring for them at home for as long as possible. However, caregiving can become increasingly challenging since many types of dementia are chronic and progressive.

When does someone need home care?

It can be difficult to determine when home care is appropriate, as situations vary from person to person. Have an open discussion with all family members, including spouses or partners, and the patient’s medical care team. Understanding how your loved one’s condition is progressing and how much support may be provided at home can help ensure that the person with dementia receives the care they need to stay as healthy and comfortable as possible.

Signs it’s time for home care

  1. Difficulty performing ADLs. Dementia leads to a progressive decline in abilities, so your loved one may have increased challenges with their independence and activities of daily living (ADLs). Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia may also result in chronic incontinence.

  2. Changes in behavior. As the disease progresses, it’s common for those with dementia to experience irritability, agitation, aggression, and sundowning. As these behaviors intensify over time, they can be difficult to redirect and cope with as a solo family caregiver. Home care staff are trained to skillfully redirect behavior.

  3. Delusions and hallucinations. Your loved one may begin to experience delusions and hallucinations with the progression of their dementia. It can be stressful to help your family member navigate life at home when they are seeing and experiencing things that aren’t real.

  4. Wandering and falls.  Unsupervised wandering may result in dangerous falls, injuries, and becoming lost. Wandering behavior that is increasingly difficult to prevent or manage may be a sign that home care/memory care is necessary.

  5. Refusal of care. One of the most heartbreaking parts of dementia is that your loved one may begin to forget you as their condition progresses. They may even show signs of paranoia that further prevent your care activities. It can become increasingly challenging if your loved one no longer accepts your help.

  6. Increasing physical decline and health issues. It may be time for home care when you notice a significant decline in your loved one’s physical health. As dementia progresses into the later stages of the disease, it is common to see a dramatic loss of mobility and worsening of physical health.

  7. Depression and isolation. Social isolation and loneliness may have negative effects on your loved one’s wellness, increasing the risk of depression, anxiety, and other dementia behaviors, such as agitation. Social connections remain important as dementia progresses.

Caregiver burnout and stress

As care needs intensify with the progression of dementia, the physical, mental, and emotional ability to care for a loved one (by a family member) typically declines. Caregivers may also feel isolated as their loved one’s needs increase and around-the-clock care becomes necessary.

Taking on a dementia patient’s needs all alone is challenging. If you’re a long-distance caregiver, these issues can arise even earlier. Maintaining two households can quickly become difficult to manage.

At what point do dementia patients need 24-hour care?

In the advanced stages of dementia, a patient needs someone to watch over them around the clock. Yet, if you care for someone with dementia, you may have to balance the complex responsibilities of providing care with a job, errands, and your own health needs. You can’t be there every moment. And while it may not be illegal to leave a dementia patient alone, it becomes increasingly difficult to ensure their safety at home 24 hours a day. Around-the-clock home care or a live-in professional caregiver may be an option when the duties become too much for a family member to handle. Call today for more information and how Indigo Nursing may be able to help you and your family.

Original article by Marissa Lee at agingcare .com

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