Over time the dark days outweigh the good days. Although you want to don’t want to admit it, you feel that you can no longer take on the caregiving responsibility. Placing your loved one who has dementia in a nursing home is never a decision you should take on lightly but, here are some signs that caregivers visually and physically experience to recognize that maybe it’s time to consider it:
As dementia moves into the later stages, the risk of wandering becomes more significant. Your loved one can wander off even if you leave them out of your sight for a moment to go to the bathroom and the probability of falls and injuries increases. I must admit when my mom wandered out of the house in her pajamas almost going into a busy street before she was brought back home terrified me and I had started to consider it then. We as a family did decide to keep her home but hid the door keys and put the house alarm on during the day.
I would describe it as your loved one’s biological clock makes them more confused in the evening than early in the morning or afternoon. This behavior can take a toll on caregivers, and when it begins to disrupt routines, this may also be a sign that the caregiving burden is too hard to handle. I remember my mom pacing back and forth through the house during the night. I decided to take her out for walks during the day when she was still able to do so, and not let her nap as often during the day so she would sleep through the night, but as the disease progressed the sundowning would increase.
3. Aggressive behavior.
Verbal, physical, and even sexual aggression often happen in those who have dementia, As a caregiver, you may suffer from this behavior and begin to feel resentful. This aggression would make it difficult to bathe, clothe, and feed your loved one. Despite your best efforts, even the most experienced caregiver will have a time when your loved one’s behavior will begin to escalate, and the situation will demand a quick response before things spiral out of control.
4. Safety issues at their place of residence.
Ask yourself honest questions about your loved one's health and your abilities to care for them. Is your loved with dementia becoming unsafe at home? If you're in a house or an apartment with stairs or a basement, there is an increased chance of an injury by falling to happen. My mom and her husband lived on a flat so I didn't have to worry about stairs. You can find a whole checklist on home safety by clicking here https://www.alz.org/help-support/caregiving/safety/home-safety.
5. Accelerating health care needs.
Is the health of your loved the one with dementia at risk? Is your loved one’s care’s care needs beyond your physical abilities? If you’re answering yes to these questions, it might be time to have that difficult, family conversation. Most likely as a caregiver you are not a healthcare professional. As your loved one’s health deteriorates can you provide the best care that they need?
6. Caregiver exhaustion.
Stress is a symptom that a caregiver experiences. Your declining health indicates a need for help as the five other signs above become more frequent. I remember when my health declined. I lost weight and was mentally and physically exhausted. I felt like I had a lack of control of the whole situation at the time. When you're in the throes of caregiving, you don’t have many resources available to you nor do you have the time to research those resources, and caring for your loved one is costly.
Nobody wants to witness these signs and come to the realization that you may want to think about placing your loved one in a Nursing Home or a Memory care facility. There is nothing that a caregiver should feel guilty about, but you want to think about it if you can handle this journey. You can always go to a support group near you by going on the Alzheimers Association support group page for help coping with the caregiving journey near you, and some of these places have the training to help.
Stay Strong and Encouraged