Having a parent with dementia is never easy. Trying to decide how to care for him/her towards the end of his/her life means that you have to make a decision between institutional care and caring for him/her at home. If you choose to care for your parent at home, then you have to decide if you are going to be the one to do it, or if you are going to hire some assisted living nurses and care aides.
If your parent proves to be a wandering risk, that creates some additional issues. For example, sixty to eighty percent of all elderly parents with Alzheimer's will wander from home, putting themselves in serious danger. Many of these patients die from frigid temperatures or extreme heat after wandering from home on exceedingly hot or unbearably cold days. In these cases, you have to weigh the pros and cons of wandering risks and assisted living versus institutional care.
Wandering Risks, Dementia, and Home Care
Most gerontologists recommend that patients with Alzheimer's or other age-related dementia be kept at home as long as possible. Staying in familiar surroundings with familiar possessions and pictures helps your parent recall who he/she is, remember family names, places, and events, and help prevent wandering. Your parent feels less anxious when he/she is someplace familiar, rather than in an eldercare or nursing home where nothing is familiar.
Of course, that does not always work. As your parent begins to lose more and more of his/her memory, the present home and objects will also become unfamiliar. It is then that he/she may take to wandering in an attempt to go back to an earlier home or place he/she still remembers.
Having assisted living nurses and aides in the home helps. Their presence prevents your parent from wandering because there is someone at home to talk to. As things progress, you may have to decide if you need around-the-clock care for your parent to prevent any and all wandering behaviors. This can get very expensive. It may be possible to split each day up so that nurses and aides are present from dinner time on, or whenever your parent is most likely to wander.
Wandering Risks, Dementia, and Institutional Care
Placing your parent in an institutional facility in the early stages of dementia or Alzheimer's could be very detrimental. It could actually speed the progression of the disease, since the nurses there carry heavy workloads and do not have a lot of time to socialize. There are almost no familiar items in the rooms or on the floor that would make your parent feel safe, secure, and at home, no matter how well he/she is treated. Even with a limited number of valued items brought from home, your parent may attempt to wander away several times just to get back home again.
Eventually, you may decide to place your parent in an institutional setting. For patients with Alzheimer's and dementia, this is typically a locked ward where patients are unable to leave unless a nurse or family member is escorting the patients. This creates greater safety for the patients who are unable to wander out of the ward and out of the facility without a key.
There are lots of other safety precautions a facility can use to keep your parent safe. These include bed alarms, wheelchair alarms, personal alarms attached to the backs of their clothing that will go off if they manage to get out a door, and location devices in the very rare event that he/she has managed to sneak all the way outside. You may be able to employ some of these safety devices at home, but because your parent does not have high-tech door alarm systems, you cannot ensure the same level of safety. For more information, visit websites like http://www.graceseniorcommunity.com.
After my grandmother was too old to live on her own any more, I knew that I had to do something to keep her comfortable and safe. I started looking into assisted living facilities, and before I knew it, I had narrowed down the search to a few different places. It was absolutely incredible to see how many different options there were, so I felt great about only having to choose between a few. After I talked with my grandmother about what she wanted, it made it even easier to choose, and she is now comfortably living in a great environment. Check out this blog for more information.