The need for help doesn't mean you’ve given up.
There is a belief among some that nursing homes exist to care for those without family or whose family does not want to do the necessary work in carrying for them. Before we proceed in this piece, we must strongly dispel this myth that does immense harm to both patients and their loved ones alike.
No two dementia patients are alike.
Despite the type of dementia or the stage, no conditional level determines the style of care required. Optimal care should be determined on a case-by-case basis and involves a wide variety of factors. This can mean that one extremely advanced Alzheimer’s patient may never need nursing home care while someone else at a less advanced stage may require around-the-clock professional care just depending on the following factors.
Do you worry about their safety?
If your loved one is a threat to their own safety, nursing home care may be warranted.
Do they wander off?
If your loved one is a wanderer, there's a strong chance that belong in a facility that will limit this behavior before it becomes dangerous for them. You probably cannot provide the amount of surveillance and restraint necessary to care for a loved one who is prone to wandering off — especially if you live in a place with extreme climates at different times during the year.
Can they detect and appropriately respond to danger?
As a loved one’s dementia progresses, they may begin to lose the instinctual ability to detect, respond to, or avoid danger. When faced with an emergency, they may lack the wherewithal to alert the authorities, to ask for help, or to preserve their own safety, or to guard sensitive information from strangers.
Do you worry about their bodily functions?
While it is normal to have to clean up a mess here and there for most patients, once a patient has lost most control of their bodily functions, they likely require more help than one loved one can provide.
A loss of bowel control can quickly progress from frustrating to exhausting to dangerous. For patients who have frequent accidents or have lost control of their bodily functions altogether, the level of necessary care can exceed the abilities of a well-intended loved one. These patients may become uncooperative during necessary changes or even resist the necessary process of cleaning them. Such living conditions may exceed the abilities of an at-home caregiver and require additional help.
Do you worry about your own wellbeing?
While there certain people out there who would just as soon turn family members over to professionals at the slightest inconvenience, there are others who would sooner thoroughly exhaust themselves, risking their own health, to avoid using nursing homes. Neither of these situations is ideal.
The right decision includes your well-being, too.
It is normal for someone to feel guilty about checking a loved one into a nursing home. However, when the duties of caring for a loved one threaten your own health (physical, mental, etc.), family life, or even steady income, a nursing home should always be a guilt-free option.
Once you’ve allowed yourself to be honest with your thoughts, you may come to realize that the ideal care for your loved one includes preserving your own mental and physical well-being as well.
Don’t think of it as outsourcing care, but rather supplementing care with help from professionals. This professional help will allow you to be the most beneficial version of yourself for your loved one.
Compassionate Hospice & Palliative Care in Tulsa, OK
For families in need of professional and compassionate hospice and palliative care in the Greater Tulsa, Oklahoma area, Cura HPC Hospice & Palliative Care can help.