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My family and friends have suggested that I place my person into a ‘nursing home.’ How do you know when its time?


Thinking about and making the decision to put the person with dementia into a nursing home or long term care environment can be a time of extreme stress for the caregiver. There can be emotions of sadness, grief and guilt and often anger at the person with dementia at “putting you in the position” of making this decision. Knowing the ‘right’ time is based on two main aspects. One is the caregiver’s own physical and mental health. Has the caregiver’s heath declined? Have they expressed that they can no longer provide care? Has the caregiver been treated in hospital lately? Has the caregiver been treated for stress, depression or anxiety? Is the caregiver not sleeping and having trouble managing the care needs of the person with dementia? Are you noticing changes in the caregiver like they have lost weight or they have a ‘chronic’ cold. The other is looking at the care needs of the person with dementia. When those needs become physical, for example physically helping them to walk, get up and down from chairs, or onto the toilet or in and out of the bath. Is the caregiver providing all care needs like feeding, toileting, bathing, dressing, along with other chores like laundry, cooking, grocery shopping, and driving to and from appointments? Is the person with dementia sundowning, up several times during the night, wandering during the day? These can all be signs that it may be time for the person with dementia to be assessed for a nursing home environment. This assessment is done by the Community Care Access Centre and there can be lengthy wait times. Speaking to an Alzheimer Society outreach counsellor to discuss these complex issues is a recommended plan of action.

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