If your elder is struggling with dementia and is starting to require more care than you can provide, your senior needs assisted living.
Countless Americans dedicate time and energy to providing care for a loved one. 65.7 million adults provide care for an elderly person in their home (that’s 29% of the U.S. adult population). These numbers are as staggering as they are sobering. Loving adult children are the family caregiver for their parents, many of whom don’t have the experience or the expertise to treat them as effectively as they may want to. The National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP have even calculated that caring for an elderly person requires 17 – 22 hours a week. That’s more than a part-time job – and the stakes are insurmountable.
For most family caregivers, the realization sets in once they can no longer provide the care their parent needs. This doesn’t just occur from burnout or caregiver stress, but especially if their senior has dementia, then they will only worsen with time.
Many adult children feel guilty for resorting to a residential care, which is natural as choosing that route is never an easy decision. Many feel like they’re depriving their loved one of freedom or that they didn’t try hard enough. To try and assuage some of that guilt, here are some telltale signs that your senior needs assisted living.
We’ve talked about this in the past, and it is a key indicator that your parent needs residential care. We’ve met caregivers who nailed their parents window shut and started sleeping outside their door to make sure they woke up if the parent started to wander. It should never get that bad, so if your senior is wandering, it’s time to move.
Forgetfulness Becomes Dangerous
This is a symptom that may not be apparent at first. After all, you don’t want to assume forgetfulness when your parent is genuinely absent-minded – that will only cause tension. It’s when the forgetfulness becomes dangerous that you need to find help. Leaving the stove on, forgetting to turn the water off, leaving the door unlocked. If your senior experiences these symptoms, it’s time for help.
One of the most difficult symptoms to manage on your own is sundowning, named because it usually occurs around sunset. Sundowning is a collection of symptoms and your parent may experience some, all, or a combination. Sundowning causes mood swings, aggression, and paranoia which can deeply (and negatively) affect the family caregivers.
If your loved experiences any of these, then shelve the guilt, and get your elder help. It’s not only better for your senior, but for your own health as well. Caregiver stress is very real and can cause psychological effects akin to PTSD. Don’t wait, get the help your senior needs.