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When Should Someone With Dementia Go Into a Care Home?

When Should Someone With Dementia Go Into a Care Home?

A 2020 study found that individuals with moderate or late-stage dementia may require support in a care home.

If your loved one has symptoms of advanced dementia, they can benefit from the specialized support that a care home offers, such as 24/7 monitoring.

In this article, we’ll cover when someone with dementia should go into a care home or assisted living facility, the factors to consider, and who makes the decision.

We’ll also outline our senior care services at Always Best Care, and how our team can help care for a loved one with this condition.

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Signs It’s Time Someone With Dementia Should Go Into a Care Home

A person with dementia should go into an assisted living community if they struggle with daily tasks, such as bathing, eating, and taking medication.

Aside from struggling with daily activities, here are some important signs indicating that it might be time for someone with dementia to go into an assisted living community:

  • Safety concerns: Be aware of the increased risk of accidents or injuries in your loved one’s current living environment, such as forgetting to turn off the stove.
  • Worsening health conditions: Pay attention to noticeable declines in your loved one’s physical health, such as weight loss, recurrent infections, or worsening mobility.
  • Behavior changes: Keep an eye out for increased agitation or other behavior changes that are challenging to manage at home and may pose a risk to themselves or others.
  • Inadequate home environment: Look for signs of a hazardous environment, such as clutter, loose wires, or poor lighting. These living conditions can increase the risk of accidents and injuries for dementia patients.
  • Wandering: Watch for instances of wandering, which is often a sign that more constant supervision is needed.
  • Incontinence: Ask your loved one if they have problems managing their bladder or bowel control, which can lead to hygiene issues and require more specialized care.
  • Struggling to manage medications: Check if your loved one has trouble managing complex medication regimens or other medical needs effectively at home.
A senior female reading the newspaper​
It’s time for someone with dementia to go into a care home when they are prone to wandering​

8 Things to Consider When Deciding if Someone With Dementia Should Go Into Care Home

Deciding whether someone with dementia should move into a care home is a major and difficult decision.

Here are some key factors to consider when deciding:

  • Stage of the condition: Consider the stage of dementia your loved one is currently experiencing. In the early stages, they might manage with in-home care. However, in the later stages of dementia where there is a drastic decline in cognitive function, a care home with specialized facilities is necessary.
  • Safety concerns: Assess if your loved one is at risk in their current home. This includes wandering, forgetting to turn off appliances, or experiencing recurrent falls.
  • Healthcare needs: Consider the level of medical and personal care your loved one needs. For example, care homes offer around-the-clock support and a safe environment which is beneficial for individuals in the later stages of dementia.
  • Caregiving ability: As the primary caregiver for your elderly loved one, reflect on your capacity to provide ongoing support. Caregiving can be physically and emotionally overwhelming, and there may come a time when professional care becomes the best solution.
  • Social interaction: Social engagement is paramount for dementia patients, as it can help maintain cognitive functions, boost mood, and prevent feelings of isolation and depression. This makes care homes ideal, where your loved one can participate in social activities and interact with their peers.
  • Quality of life: Consider how moving to a care home can affect your loved one’s health, comfort, and happiness.
  • Your loved one’s preference: Consider if your loved one previously expressed their wishes regarding their care. Even if they are unable to communicate their preferences, reflecting on their past statements, values, and lifestyle can help your decision.
  • End-of-life care: In late-stage dementia, consider the care home’s policies and practices surrounding end-of-life care. This includes how they manage pain relief or their approach to palliative care, also known as specialized care for individuals living with a chronic illness.

Who Decides if Someone With Dementia Should Go Into a Care Home?

Deciding if someone with dementia should move into a care home is typically a shared decision.

Typically, the dementia patient can decide for themselves if they should move into a care home.

However, as the condition progresses, family members often step in to make the decision, with guidance and support from social workers and healthcare professionals.

Find reliable senior care services.
Find reliable senior care services.

How to Support Your Elderly Loved One During Their Move to a Care Home

Coming to terms with a loved one’s declining physical and mental health can be challenging for every family member or close friend.

For your loved one with dementia, leaving the familiarity of their home can also be a stressful experience, as they can feel a loss of control and predictability.

However, there are steps you can take to help your loved one feel more comfortable during this big transition, including:

  • Talk to your loved one about the move: Have honest, empathetic conversations about the reasons for the move. Acknowledge your loved one’s feelings and reassure them of your support.
  • Visit potential care homes with your loved one: If possible, visit different care homes together. This will help your loved one to feel involved in the decision-making process.
  • Personalize your loved one’s new space: Decorate your loved one’s room with familiar and beloved items from home, such as photos or a favorite blanket, to make the space feel more personal and comfortable.
  • Plan for a gradual transition: Arrange for a gradual move by starting with short stays that increase in duration, to help your loved one adjust to their new environment.
  • Regularly visit and communicate: Maintain regular visits and calls, which can provide reassurance to your loved one and help them feel connected to family and friends.
  • Engage with your loved one’s caregiver: Build a good relationship with the care home staff. Keep them informed about your loved one’s preferences, needs, and any other concerns you might have.
  • Promote bed sore prevention: If there’s a risk of pressure sores due to your loved one’s limited movement, ensure their care staff uses preventive steps. This includes placing air mattresses on beds and chairs and regularly changing your loved one’s position while they are in bed to prevent bed sores.
  • Encourage social interaction: Motivate your loved one to participate in social activities and events at the care home, such as meditation classes and game nights, to help them establish new relationships.
  • Monitor your loved one’s adjustment: Keep an eye on how your loved one is adjusting, both emotionally and physically. Look out for signs of depression or weight loss and discuss these with your loved one’s care home staff.
  • Seek support: Recognize that this transition can also be emotionally challenging for you. Seek caregiver support from friends, family, or support groups to help manage your feelings. You can also use helpful caregiver resources, such as guides and tip sheets to access practical advice and emotional comfort.
  • Stay informed about your loved one’s care plan: Understand your loved one’s care plan and ask questions to stay involved in decisions about their care.
  • Celebrate the move: Think of the move as a positive step in your loved one’s journey by focusing on the benefits, such as their safety, access to professional care, and the opportunity for them to engage in a new community.
  • Give it time: Understand that adjusting to care home life takes time. Be patient and offer ongoing support for your loved one during this transition.
A senior male playing chess
Encourage your loved one to join in social activities to help them make new friends and nurture friendships

Explore Care Options for Dementia Patients at Always Best Care

When a loved one with dementia experiences severe symptoms that pose a risk to their health and safety, opting for a care home is usually the best choice.

At Always Best Care, we understand that this transition is a deeply emotional and challenging decision for everyone involved.

That’s why for over 25 years, our dedicated team has provided reliable and compassionate senior care across the United States and Canada.

With our widespread network of over 225 territories, our team of caregivers are well-equipped to consistently deliver professional and tailored care to our valued clients.

Our services include:

Provide your loved one with the best care possible.
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