Too often in life we are forced to do things we promised our parent or relative that we would never do. I was certain that Mom’s condition would never come to that, but a year into her late stage Alzheimers I found myself faced with the possibility that I could no longer care for her at home. We began our search for a “good” nursing home. The thought was not a happy one, I dreaded it. I knew the search would be awful, thinking I’d never find one that met the criteria for my mother’s care.
Circumstances change almost daily for the person with Alzheimers, their families and their caregivers. Planning ahead is near impossible. In the beginning, Mom was so adamant that she would never live in a nursing that we contemplated purchasing a small motor home or travel trailer for our own back yard; a pretend home for Mom during the day while she retired to the main house each evening.
Our thought being that Mom would be satisfied knowing she had her own place at night and gladly return to our home at night. Before we could begin a search for a travel trailer or motor home, Mom’s condition worsened and she could not be left alone, even temporarily.
I had a home-based business, a supportive husband, and had been certain I could take care of Mom in my own home for as long as she needed care. I had two computers on a network and envisioned the two of us working side by side, me doing business and Mom playing solitaire. (That’s another story) What a spot of fantasy that turned out to be.
But there is no written progression for dementia, and the 7 step and stages have no designated width. Each individual is different, different symptoms, different behaviors, and different time lapses between each.
Some behaviors related to Alzheimers have their own labels. Labels that only another caregiver could understand; “sundowners”, “shadowing”, “pack-rat”, “junk-mail”, “violence”, “want to go home.” One caregiver may find a behavior particularly hard to endure, while another caregiver may be disturbed by a totally different behavior.
Not all Alzheimer’s patients become violent, but some do. And taking care of a violent patient is not a matter of endurance and stamina but of safety.
A loved one needs to be moved to a nursing home if they are continually violent.
Sometimes medical issues can cause this behavior; a urinary infection or other medical problem. But sometimes, it’s simply the dementia itself–changing brain waves and the person’s personality.
For the security of all, patient and caregiver alike, an Alzheimer’s dementia patient who becomes violent must be moved to a more secure living community, a setting that is safe and comfortable.
The patient has no idea what they’re doing and would be devastated if they understood the danger they had become to family and caregivers. But they can become dangerous. And a nursing home should be considered under those circumstances.
Later in Alzheimers stages they may need more medical treatment than the caregiver is able to provide.
Many Alzheimer’s patients yearn for “home,” the place of their youth that no longer exists. They’ll walk and walk and walk, if unprotected by open (unlocked) doors.
Much like a young child, they can be in grave danger of becoming lost or walking into traffic or accepting a ride from a dangerous passers-by. If you aren’t able to keep the patient in a well-protected, locked area, you may want to look for other living facilities.
It isn’t always a happy moment, but many of us simply aren’t able physically or emotionally to care for a loved one in our own home.
Whether it be financial, emotional, or simply in the best interest of our loved one– there is nothing wrong with searching for a safe and loving care-home to meet our loved one’s needs.