When Should a Person with Dementia Go into a Care Home?

Care for Aging Population with Helping Hands for Seniors

When Should a Person with Dementia Go into a Care Home?

Dementia is a cognitive condition that affects memory, communication, and the ability to perform normal daily functions. Early-stage dementia often does not require specialized care. However, cognitive decline may eventually reach a point where formal memory care services are necessary. Here’s how to tell when a person with dementia should go into a care home.

Difficulty Performing Activities of Daily Living

The ability to dress, bathe, use the restroom, and navigate the world independently is a common benchmark to judge whether a senior needs extra help. Here are some red flags to watch for:

  • Struggling to keep up with personal hygiene
  • Forgetting to eat or drink
  • Not taking medications despite reminders, alerts, and pill dividers
  • Getting lost walking around the neighborhood or driving to the grocery store

Safety Concerns

Your loved one should not live alone if you observe these safety concerns:

  • Leaving burners or appliances on after cooking
  • Wandering away from home
  • Having frequent trips and falls
  • Neglecting a pet

Concerning Behavioral Changes

As dementia progresses, you may notice your loved one acting differently. Here are some concerning behaviors that may improve with dementia care:

  • Physical aggression
  • Verbal abuse and manipulation
  • Social withdrawal
  • Depression
  • Low energy levels
  • Feelings of isolation
  • Hallucinations (sensing something that isn’t there)
  • Delusions (strongly held false beliefs)
  • Paranoia (suspicions and false ideas about people and the world)
  • Sundowning (increased confusion in the late afternoon and lasting into the night)

Increasing Health Issues & Physical Decline

When you notice your loved one’s health suffering despite your best efforts to provide care, it could be time to move them into a care home. Here’s what to watch for:

  • Steady weight loss
  • Bladder or bowel incontinence
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Limited ability to walk, stand, or rise from a seated or reclined position
  • Bedsores, infections, and blood clots resulting from limited mobility

Caregiver Burnout

Balancing your loved one’s needs with your own can be difficult. It might be time to relinquish care if you frequently feel:

  • Frustrated or overwhelmed
  • Resentful toward your loved one
  • Physically and emotionally exhausted
  • Depressed or anxious
  • Isolated as around-the-clock care becomes necessary

In short, you should consider moving a loved one with dementia into a care home if you’re struggling to meet their needs or your mental and physical health as a caregiver is at risk. This decision benefits you by relieving your caregiving duties and helps your loved one receive the memory care, social interaction, medication management, and other services they need to be happier and healthier.

To help you find a safe, permanent, and nurturing home for your loved one, turn to Helping Hands for Seniors. We are an accredited senior living referral service qualified to recommend high-quality dementia care communities in the Portland area. For more information about our network of compassionate memory care providers, please call (503) 746-4740 or contact us online.


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