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At What Point Do People with Dementia Need 24-Hour Care?

For seniors facing the challenges of living with dementia and their caregivers, the question always arises, “At what point do dementia patients need 24-hour care?” While there is no standard answer to this inevitable question, there are definite signs to look for that may signal when it’s time for around-the-clock dementia care in a professional memory care community. Caregiver burnout, higher likelihood of accidents and injuries, and a steep decline in cognitive function are all telltale signs a higher level of care is needed, but those signs aren’t always so apparent. This overview will help caregivers and loved ones of seniors with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia make an informed decision on when to take the next step.

When Is It Time for Memory Care? 

The point at which a senior with dementia should enter memory care is subjective and varies widely from person to person. It largely depends on the individual’s health, what stage of dementia they are in, and a variety of other factors. Everyone facing this decision should consult with their doctor or a medical professional with experience in dementia care. Essentially, though, the right time is when living at home is no longer a safe and sustainable option — or when caregivers are too overwhelmed to provide the proper amount and specialized kind of care needed. Another sign is when the senior’s social life is almost nonexistent and the potential for isolation becomes a risk. Isolation can cause significant cognitive decline and depression, which worsens and hastens the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. It’s best to make the decision when the senior with dementia still has the ability to make the decision for themselves, but that isn’t always an option. 

senior with dementia in a memory care facility with a caregiver

It’s Never Too Soon, But It Can Be Too Late

Many senior health care professionals say that moving to a senior living community like The Ridge or other kinds of memory care facilities too early poses absolutely no risk — but making the move too late can have severe consequences. Moving seniors who are in the middle to late stages of dementia puts more stress on their lives and hinders the ability of new caregivers to devise a care plan effectively. In almost every situation, the earlier the senior with dementia moves to memory care, the better their quality of life. While this is a good rule of thumb to follow, moving to memory care doesn’t necessarily mean a senior with dementia needs 24-hour care. Around-the-clock care may not be necessary for some time, but when it is inevitably needed, those already in memory care can make the transition more seamlessly. When the time to move to memory care does come, take a look at this helpful advice on what to expect. 

When Do People with Dementia Need Full-Time Support?

Deciding when to seek full-time 24-hour care for a loved one with dementia can be mentally and emotionally difficult. This decision depends as much on the caregiver as it does on the person with dementia. When the emotional and physical costs of caregiving become overwhelming and a caregiver cannot give full-time support without falling ill or neglecting other parts of their life, it is probably time to seek professional care services. These signs will help answer the question, “At what point do dementia patients need 24-hour care?”

Aggressive changes in behavior

When fits of violent aggression become frequent, the risk of harming themselves and caregivers becomes a serious concern.

When home safety becomes a concern

When the person with dementia is at high risk for falls and other accidents, it’s time to consider professional memory care.

Wandering

In the late stages of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, wandering becomes more frequent. If anytime a caregiver takes a short break, even to use the restroom or make a snack, the senior with dementia tends to wander, it’s time to seek a higher level of dementia care.

Sundowning

When irrational behavior becomes frequent at either dusk or dawn, called “sundowning,” it can point to the need for more care. Sundowning can significantly throw off daily schedules and quickly add more stress to caregiving duties.

Physical caregiving requirements become too much

If a caregiver experiences exhaustion or regularly becomes ill, it’s a sign their immune system is taking on too much and it’s time to seek other means of care for the person with dementia. 

The point at which a senior with dementia should enter memory care is subjective and varies widely from person to person. It largely depends on the individual’s health, what stage of dementia they are in, and a variety of other factors. Everyone facing this decision should consult with their doctor or a medical professional with experience in dementia care. Essentially, though, the right time is when living at home is no longer a safe and sustainable option — or when caregivers are too overwhelmed to provide the proper amount and specialized kind of care needed. It’s best to make the decision when the senior with dementia still has the ability to make the decision for themselves, but that isn’t always an option. What is an option is moving your loved one to a memory care community where you can be sure that they receive compassionate, quality care in a comfortable, stimulating environment. 

For more information on the signs that it may be time to move your loved one with dementia to memory care, read our blog post outlining the most common signs.

senior with dementia with a grandchild at a memory care facility

What Does Full-Time Care for People with Dementia Include?

An often-asked question is, “Can someone with dementia be left alone?” The answer, like everything with dementia care, varies. While people in stage three of Alzheimer’s disease generally need around-the-clock care and shouldn’t be left alone, someone in stage one still maintains some amount of independence and can be left alone for a brief time. When seniors with dementia receive 24-hour care, they get care that helps them live happy and fulfilling lives, with all the assistance they need to successfully and safely complete activities of daily living. Companionship is an integral part of 24-hour care, both to reduce the risks that come from isolation and maintain a consistent source of support, which helps mentally ground the person with dementia. Generally, 24-hour support in memory care includes:

  • Help dressing and undressing
  • Washing, bathing, and hygiene assistance
  • Incontinence care
  • Preparing meals and monitoring nutrition
  • 24-hour security detail and safety protocols
  • Medication management
  • Laundry, linen and cleaning services
  • Palliative care

Memory Care at The Ridge 

In each of our Pinehurst, Cottonwood and Foothill communities in Colorado and Utah, memory care is designed with compassion for every individual in our care, staffed around-the-clock with highly trained, licensed professionals who are dedicated to fulfilling the needs and enriching the lives of every resident. Specialized programs like MUSIC & MEMORY®, Teepa Snow Positive Approach to Care®, the Montessori Approach to Dementia, and a full schedule of safe and engaging memory care activities ensure there’s plenty of purpose and fulfillment in each day. At The Ridge, you can expect dementia care plans centered on warmhearted techniques; innovative wellness programs; and premium services, amenities and accommodations that combine in a holistic approach to memory care. Learn more about the lifestyle your loved one can live as a memory care resident at The Ridge here

If you have questions about the future care of a loved one with dementia, or if you’d like to learn more about Memory Care The Ridge communities, please don’t hesitate to contact us through our website or call us any time at 1-877-894-9008.

 

Hear from Fred and Rebecca, who moved to The Ridge as soon as Rebecca was diagnosed with early-stage Alzheimer’s.

Rebecca was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and the couple decided to move right away into independent living at The Ridge Senior Living, knowing they could enjoy an independent lifestyle for as long as possible with memory care services and specialized care available when Rebecca would need it.