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IKF Blog
Posted: Wednesday, June 17, 2020

7 signs your loved one may need community care

Has the time come when your loved one needs more care than you can provide?

Those living with a progressive disease such as Alzheimer’s or dementia may develop behaviors that make it difficult to keep up with or keep them safe. They often will require a level of increased care that can no longer be accomplished at home, eventually losing the quality of life they and you both deserve.

The decision for whether it’s time to find more intensive care should be based on each individual and family, as the circumstances can vary widely. But there are some common signs that may indicate it’s time to reach out for more help.

Making a difficult decision

Some families undergo a lot of guilt or remorse when they are faced with how best to meet the increasing needs of their loved ones. It can help to remember that what’s important is to provide the best care possible, wherever that might be. Families often assume it would be at home but many discover how improved the quality of life can become in the right Memory Care community.

If you’re not sure of what to look for or if you suspect your loved one may need more help than you can provide, consider if you are seeing any of these signs.

1. Behavioral changes becoming more than you can handle

Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease and there will be changes in behavior that can eventually be difficult to handle at home. Your loved one may become challenging and refuse bathing or any type of hygiene. They can begin to exhibit angry responses that reach beyond your ability to diffuse.

If the days begin to fill with aggression, you may find yourself or others in danger of being physically or verbally assaulted. If the steps you’ve tried in the past to de-escalate the situation begin to fail, you may need the compassionate skills, training and resources that a community can provide.

2. Increased confusion or disorientation that impacts their physical safety

Your loved one may begin imagining things that aren’t there, hiding objects or believe strongly that you or others are hiding things. They may begin incessant pacing or wandering. If they are able to leave home, they may find themselves disoriented and have no idea how to return.

Their confusion may cause them to repeatedly say that they want to go home or not recognize that they are there. They may become agitated and not understand who you are. Although any negative behavior is not intentional on their part, it can become exhausting for the caregiver.

3. A decline in physical health

As the disease progresses, their physical health will also deteriorate. The impact of the disease reaches beyond memory loss. They may become unable to walk without assistance, their muscles can become rigid and eventually they may lose the ability to swallow.

Other physical changes can include shuffling their feet when they walk, having trouble sitting upright in a chair and twitches. If your loved one becomes so unstable that falling is occurring, you may not be physically able to help them back up.

4. Developing incontinence

Loss of bladder control can be common for those with Alzheimer’s. It’s been estimated that between 60-70% of those with the disease will become incontinent. The causes can range from:

  • Inability to react to the feeling or pressure
  • Mobility issues
  • Forgetting where the toilet is
  • Not being able to communicate their needs.

Whether they don’t recognize that they need to go to the bathroom or are not able to get there in time, this loss of independence and control can be hard for both the individual and the caregiver.

5. Increased emotional toll on the caregiver

The stress of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s can eventually become too much for one person to shoulder. Most of us aren’t experienced in caring for someone with a cognitive illness that causes such personality and behavior changes.

Caregivers often worry not only about today but about the unknown future. You may feel afraid or that you won’t be able to keep up with the kind of care you want your loved one to have. 

5. You’re concerned about your own safety

For some caregivers, a loved one’s behavior can reach the level of aggression. There may be verbal threats or even physical confrontations to the point that you may no longer feel safe.

Unfortunately, caregivers often hide or keep this to themselves. They may be embarrassed or worried about the stigma that still exists with cognitive illnesses. Even though your loved one is not intentionally trying to hurt you, you need and deserve to live in a safe environment.

7. The caregiver’s physical or mental health is deteriorating

It’s not that uncommon for the caregiver’s own health to start to fail. With all of their energy focused on their loved ones, their own health takes a back seat.

Caregivers cancel or delay their own doctor appointments. They often feel there isn’t time to eat healthily or exercise. But this disregard is serious. Some have estimated that family caregivers over the age of 66 have a 63% higher mortality rate. It’s critical to recognize when more help is needed.

Ingleside at King Farm Memory Support Assisted Living

We understand the challenges of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s and how important it is for both you and your loved one to achieve the highest quality of life possible. Our highly trained and compassionate staff is here to provide the care and environment our residents and families need.

With our support, you will be able to reclaim your relationship status to the person as more than just the caregiver. You’ll still be involved in their care but as we handle all the day-to-day functions, you can once again focus on sharing enjoyable activities and finding ways to reconnect.

Call (240) 455-4582 if you have any questions or would like to schedule a personalized tour today.

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