When to consider a move to residential living or skilled nursing care

As dementia progresses you will need a care plan for the sake of your loved one and for your own physical and mental health. As the primary caregiver for a person living with dementia you are in the best position to decide on next steps, as they become necessary. 

Mark Wright, caregiver for his mom and brother, discusses how he knew it was time to make an alternate plan for his loved ones who needed more care than he could personally provide.

Here are some questions to ask yourself: 

  • Can I continue to care for the health of my loved one as s/he changes?
  • Can I be sure s/he is taking medication?
  • Can I continue to be responsible for his/her nutrition? 
  • Can I keep him/her safe in our current environment? 
  • Do I have the support I need to handle an emergency?
  • Am I comfortable taking on this responsibility as it becomes more challenging? 
  • As dementia advances, can I continue to look for ways of adding joy to my loved one’s days and nights? 

For every caregiver, and for every loved one living with dementia, the answer is different. There are many ways to handle your loved one’s care and you have various options to consider. 

Marilyn Merritt and her daughter, Lauren talk about how they determined Marilyn’s mom needed a higher level of care—through observation and visits.

You can bring in other caregivers—either other members of your family, or professionals from within the community to give yourself a needed break. You can consider moving your loved one to a residential community where care is available on an as-needed basis. When the time comes for your loved one to require 24/7 care, you can evaluate skilled nursing with memory care with the help of a professional. One of our staff members would be happy to talk with you about the services we have at St. John’s when you are ready.

The best time to make a plan is before it becomes critical. The best advice we can give you is to make your plan early, before your loved one really needs an immediate change. If you have a plan, when the time comes that is needed, you can always evaluate your options in the light of any new developments. Here is another article you might like to read when you are ready to evaluate nursing homes.