Knowing when it may be time for assisted living for a loved one is never easy. There are a lot of factors that go into the decision. But, if you are one of the more than 15 million Americans who are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia.
Alzheimer’s Disease Facts
In fact, if you watch this video from the Alzheimer’s Association, you will see some startling facts.
- More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s
- 1 in 3 seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another dementia
- Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States
- It kills more than breast and prostate cancer combined
- Every 66 seconds someone in the United States develops the disease
- In 2015, more than 15 million caregivers provided an estimated 18.1 billion hours of unpaid care
- Family caregivers spend more than $5,000 a year caring for someone with Alzheimer’s
These statistics are both alarming and sobering.
Beyond the time and cost it takes to provide care for a senior with Alzheimer’s or other dementia, there is a physical toll that caring for the elderly takes on caregivers.
In fact, this article in the New York Times discusses the psychological costs of caregiving and of making difficult care decisions. Some professionals even are likening the effects of post traumatic stress disorder. Caregivers may experience symptoms like “intrusive thoughts, disabling anxiety, hpyer-vigilance, avoidance behaviors,” and more.
This is a lot to handle.
And for some, it may be too much. Of course, it is more than honorable to want to care for a loved one in your or their own home. But sometimes, after weighing all factors, the burden can simply be too much to bear.
Signs Your Loved One May Need Assisted Living
So, what are some of the signs that a may be time for assisted living?
Here are a few to recognize and look out for:
- Wandering – This is a much greater risk in later stages of dementia, and the probability of falls and injuries increases.
- Sundowning – This is a syndrome where a senior may demonstrate very agitated behavior later in the day.
- Aggression – Though you may not think it with seniors, verbal, physical and even sexual aggression can frequently happen to those with dementia. When you are caring for a loved one, an additional risk of resentment may occur.
- Home safety issues – Does it seem like it is becoming more and more unsafe for this person to live in their home? Be honest with yourself.
- Escalating care needs – These needs can begin to stack up and put not only the person with dementia, but the caregiver’s health at risk as well.
- Caregiver stress – Stress can be a clear sign that the symptoms are simply too much for the caregiver to handle.
Care for All
If you are providing caregiving for a loved one, not only is important to watch out for signs for when it may be time for assisted living, but you also have to take care of yourself.
Placing a loved one in a trusted assisted living home is one option. Another option is a possible short term stint in a respite home where you can take a break and at the same time, see how your loved one would do in another environment.
The bottom line is that it is important to take care of your loved one and watch for signs of extra care that is needed.
It’s also important to take care of yourself.