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Tuesday, 17 October 2017 00:00

Tell-tale signs it may be time for assisted living

At the onset of Alzheimer’s or dementia, a person affected by either of these diseases can live relatively comfortably unassisted. However, as the diseases progress, assisted living is inevitable.

This is a decision though that should not be made lightly, as choosing to place a loved one in an assisted living facility can be a costly, highly emotional and stressful life transition for both those with Alzheimer’s and family members. Very often the stress of home care on family members or carers can become too high in the later stages of these diseases, and ultimately, an assisted living facility may become a reality.

To help in the decision making process, here are tell-tale signs it may be time to consider assisted living options:

Heightened aggression

When those with Alzheimer’s or dementia begin displaying increased aggression in a physical, violent or even sexual manner, it is time to consider placement in assisted living, before these behaviours lead to feelings of resentment, anger and frustration from carers or family members.

Caregiver stress

When caregivers begin to display signs of not being able to look after themselves, frequently falling ill or just feeling overwhelmed by their responsibilities, it could be time to consider assisted living.

Escalating care needs

When the care of those with Alzheimer’s or dementia begins to steadily increase, week by week – it may be time to ask: ‘’are their care needs beyond my physical abilities?’’ – If the answer to that question is a ‘’yes’’, then it’s time to sit down and have a tough family conversation.

The onset of Sundowners Syndrome

Sundowner’s Syndrome is characterised by agitated, confused and even aggressive behaviour, most especially later in the day. If a loved one is displaying characteristics of Sundowner’s Syndrome which is severely disrupting regular family routine, it may be a sign that home care is becoming too heavy a burden.

Wandering & home safety

In the later stages of Alzheimer’s and dementia, instances of wandering become more and more common. This can lead to an increased risk of falls around your home, where even taking 5-minutes for a toilet break could lead to injury. When keeping an eye on those with Alzheimer’s becomes a 24/7 job, it is time to consider assisted living.

While home care may seem like your only option, it’s important to understand that some responsibilities will become beyond your scope in the progression of Alzheimer’s and dementia. It is also important to not feel guilty about making the decision of assisted living, as ultimately, it could lead to a better quality of life for both your family and your loved one.

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