Caring for someone who is suffering from dementia can be an extremely challenging and emotional task. However, deciding if and when they should move into a long term care home can be equally difficult.
Dementia can progress rapidly, causing the person living with the condition to deteriorate both mentally and physically within a short space of time. This means that it is important to prepare for the future and ensure that the person will always receive the right level of care that they require.
It can also be difficult to understand the wishes of someone you are caring for if they do not have the ability to make and voice their own decisions. In this guide, we will give you the information you need to help decide whether someone with dementia would benefit from living in a care home.
People with dementia may benefit from moving into a care home for various reasons. The three most common reasons are:
If someone has experienced additional health problems or a fall related to their condition, they may require 24/7 healthcare, which cannot always be provided by someone at home. Living in a care home can enable the person to be in a setting where there are always trained staff available.
Furthermore, being a carer for someone that struggles with dementia can be a hugely draining task. As the dementia progresses, the person can experience difficulty carrying out simple, everyday tasks such as getting dressed, keeping clean and preparing meals. This can lead to family members/carers having to assist them with a number of daily tasks. If as a carer you feel you cannot provide this level of support now or in the future, it could be time to consider a care home.
Finally, dementia can lead to behaviours which put the person’s safety at risk. Behaviour of those with dementia can be challenging and hard to deal with. Many with the condition can experience shifts in their personality or confusion, which can cause them to carry out dangerous acts.In addition, physical and verbal aggression is something that many people with dementia can exert. They may believe that there are people who have or are intending to hurt them, which is caused by confabulation (subconsciously making up memories to fill gaps). This behaviour can be difficult to cope with at home and may require the support of trained specialists at a care home.
It is always best if the person who is suffering from dementia is able to make their own decision regarding care homes. However, it is quite often the case that those with dementia do not have the mental ability to make their own decisions. In this case it is advisable to have a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in place, who can make decisions on behalf of the person. A Property and Financial Affairs LPA can be particularly helpful, as it gives them the legal right to make financial decisions such as paying for a care home.
It is also advisable that plans for the future are made as soon as someone begins to show early signs of dementia. An advance statement is a written document that expresses a person’s wishes for when they no longer have the mental capacity to make decisions. Having an advance statement can be extremely valuable for the LPA or family.
Making the decision to move a person into a care home is extremely difficult and requires much thought and time. However, the most important thing to remember is to put the person’s wellbeing first, before expressing any personal thoughts or feelings.
There are many benefits of living in a care home for those with dementia. Finding the right care home for somebody struggling with this condition can lead to significant improvements in their quality of life. The benefits of dementia care can include: