How to know when a loved one with Alzheimer’s needs more care than you can provide at home

Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia is a challenging task. Many times as the disease progresses the needs of the person become so great it is very difficult to provide care at home. Many people who suffer from dementia do not sleep well. They often wander and cannot remember how to get back home. They lose the ability to assess dangerous situations such as traffic or terrain. Many women especially will turn on electrical appliances such as stoves but have lost the ability to realize the burners are hot, or they use inappropriate tools or containers on the stove.

All of these aspects of the behavior of a person with dementia can make caring for them at home exhausting. The care giver can never really relax because they must be constantly vigilant to protect their loved one from harming themselves. Often Alzheimer’s patients will repeat questions over and over which can be emotionally draining on a caregiver. They may also become physically aggressive, even if they were never like that before their diagnosis. They may also become fearful of leaving their house, or having people in the house other than their caregiver. All of this can become overwhelming for a caregiver, no matter how much their caregiver loves them.

Sometimes out of exhaustion or frustration caregivers can become angry or aggressive themselves. Or they may become physically ill from the stress.

Before that happens consider placing your loved one in a good facility with a specialized dementia unit. Although it may be intimidating at first to consider such placement, there may be fear or guilt involved, often times the care a secure dementia unit can provide not only relieves the caregiver of a stressful responsibility, but often the person with dementia is more content. Because the professional care givers in a secure unit are specially trained to meet the needs of the residents some of the most confusing and upsetting aspects of the resident’s routine are addressed and removed. The scheduled activities, entertainment, outings and social interaction with peers and staff provide variety and pleasure.

We often hear from families after their loved one has been in the Garden Terrace, The Williamsport Home’s special care unit, that they wish they had placed them sooner. Often once the person adjusts to the new environment they are happier and more relaxed. More importantly, they are safe from the hazards that are often present in home environments. The caregiver can become the child, spouse, sibling or friend again instead of being the person constantly on alert and visits with their loved one can be enjoyable again.

For more information on the secure dementia unit, The Garden Terrace, at The Williamsport Home please visit the website or call 570-323-8781 and ask for Mike Ciccarelli.


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