If you have a loved one with dementia and you are their primary caregiver, your life changes right along with theirs.
Both of you may struggle with fear and depression. Unless you have experienced this with another loved one in your past, you may not know what to expect or how to prepare for the future.
Over time, your responsibilities for managing the household and caring for your loved one increase—especially as their behaviors become more and more challenging. You may become tired, lose your patience and then feel guilty. At some point, your loved one may require 24-hour supervision and demanding physical attention. You begin to lose sleep and become mentally and physically exhausted. You may finally have to concede that you are no longer able to provide the care that he or she needs.
Care homes for dementia patients offer professional care for the patient while giving caregivers the peace of mind they need. However, many family members are afraid to ask for help. Too often, the spouse or other family member becomes ill before they make the decision to turn the care over to a memory care facility.
At Fellowship Square Historic Mesa, our memory care professionals see families push themselves to the brink before asking for help. Honestly, that’s not fair to your loved one or yourself. You can’t do it all alone. Caring for someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s takes a team. So if you or someone you know is facing this situation, here are somethings to consider.
Learn what to expect as memory loss or Alzheimer’s progresses from its early stages to the later stages.
The Alzheimer’s Association helps caregivers know what to expect. For example, in the beginning, the symptoms may seem too mild to seek help. You may convince yourself that you can handle it. Chances are you will manage for a while. But how will the added stress affect your health and your other relationships?
As memory loss advances, the person living with it will need a greater level of attention and medical care. Postponing care may lead to injury and affect quality of life and the patient’s dignity.
Be realistic about what you can handle, what resources you have, and when is it time to seek professional help.
Are you the sole caregiver? Will you have help? Is your home safe for the patient? Many factors have to be weighted to successfully care for patients with memory loss or dementia. Be realistic about recognizing the difference between wanting to help and being able to help.
Can you realistically assure that the person you are caring for is as comfortable, happy and safe as possible? Also, alzheimers.net encourages caregivers to be realistic about the course of the disease. Most types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s, are irreversible and progressive. Dementia will tend to get worse over time and there is no known cure. Do you have a long-term plan?
Turn the primary care for your loved one over to memory care professionals who are better equipped to manage their care.
This does not mean you stop caring for your loved one or you are abandoning them. Rather, it means that you are strong enough to do what is best for them, despite your own feelings.
As the caregiver, you will still have responsibilities.
• You will be finding them the best quality care that you can.
• You will be overseeing the care to ensure that your loved one’s needs continue to be met.
• You will have more energy to better care for your loved because you will be receiving the rest that you need.
• Best of all, the time you will now spend with your loved one will be better quality time.
Educate yourself on care homes for dementia patients and make your choices BEFORE you are faced with an emergency.
If you’re struggling to decide to seek help, ask yourself:
• What would happen if your loved one wanders off and gets lost because you fell asleep?
• What would happen if you are suddenly faced with your own medical emergency and are physically unable to provide care?
• What if his or her behavior suddenly poses a physical threat to your safety?
Our staff at Fellowship Square Historic Mesa are experts on aging and the challenges of dementia and caregiving. Our Memory Care program is known as Reflections. Here, we provide a safe and compassionate environment for residents, at the same time providing relief and support for their spouses, families and other loved ones.
Fellowship Square Historic Mesa is part of Christian Care Company, a non-profit organization founded on Christian values. We accept ALTCS (Arizona Long Term Care Systems), and our state’s Medicaid program, and can direct families on how to apply.
Plan for the future so you’re ready when it’s time to transition your loved one to a memory care community.
Looking ahead includes both financial planning and researching the most appropriate memory care facilities near you. Here are just some questions to ask before you pick a senior memory care facility.
• What level of care does the community provide?
• What training does the staff have?
• What is the staff to resident ratio?
• Is there a doctor available on premises?
• What is the rate and what services are included?
• Is there a support group for family members?
• Is individual care maintained for each resident?
• Are day trips allowed?
Whether you’ve just noticed signs of memory loss in a loved one or you’ve been a caregiver for years, there is help. It’s important to remember asking for help is not a sign of weakness or that you don’t love the person. In fact, seeking professional help is the most loving thing you can do to ensure the patient’s health, comfort and dignity.
We’re here for you. If you have questions or would like more information, please contact us at 480-436-5122. Additionally, the Alzheimer’s Association has bountiful information to help family caregivers as the disease progresses and their lifestyle changes.