The holiday season can be filled with joy and celebration, but it can also be a stressful time, especially if you’re caring for an elderly loved one. Changes in the daily routine, more guests in the house, and even dietary changes like more sweets can result in increased erratic behavior for someone struggling with early Alzheimer’s or dementia. With the new year approaching, it might be a good time to take stock of the situation and begin considering alternative care options. Many people like to make resolutions, set goals, and tackle those long overdue to-do items in January. If you’re caring for someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s, a few things you might want to add to the list include scheduling a doctor’s visit for your loved one, honestly assessing your ability to provide proper care, and evaluating care alternatives available to you.
It’s understandable that many people try to care for their loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia at home as long as possible. Most people dread the idea of putting their loved one in a long-term care facility. However, as their condition gets worse over time, it often becomes apparent that some higher level of care is inevitable. Because of the overwhelming emotions and sense of obligation, many people probably wait longer than they should to consider their options. A thorough assessment from your family doctor can help you determine whether at home care is sufficient at this point and whether residential care will be needed in the near future. It’s also important to consider your own limiting factors. If your commitment to caring for your loved one is causing you to fall short in other areas of your life, it’s important to take that into consideration. While it’s noble to put your loved one first, you also need to take care of yourself and your own life.
Depending on the specifics of your situation and your loved one’s condition, there might be several different care options available for you to consider. If you determine that you’d like to keep your loved one at home for the time being, there are a wide range of home healthcare service providers available that you might consider in order to ease the burden on you and your family. There are part-time, full-time, and live-in options. The Alzheimer’s Association has some great information available for free on such options. If you believe your loved one is going to need residential care at some point, it might be worthwhile to start looking at the communities in your area. Iris Memory Care also offers day stays (in our Texas communities) and short-term respite care, so you can test the waters with residential care or when you are unable to provide proper care at home.