8 reasons that it’s time to move them to dementia care


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People often ask me how they will know when it’s the “right time” to move someone into a Dementia Care Community. There is no official “perfect time,” but these 8 tips may help guide you in the right direction. My bottom line is this: if you’re thinking about it, it’s probably BEEN time. Families usually wait far too long to move someone.

For more information, please check out my book, “When Someone You Know is Living in a Dementia Care Community”

1. You’re taking care of your loved one at home and he or she is waking up…a lot. You aren’t sleeping. Your loved one isn’t sleeping. This is not a good cycle to be in, and he or she could really benefit from Memory Care, where the staff is awake and ready 24/7.
2. Their incontinence is getting to be too much to handle. You’ve tried everything. Perhaps your loved one lives in Assisted Living already, but the staff isn’t prepared for his or her incontinence.
3. Your loved one could benefit from some social interaction with people at his or her own cognitive level. Many residents in Assisted Living are not able to talk to your loved one with dementia when he or she is repetitive or confusing. Perhaps your loved one would really benefit from fun, engaging activities that meet their needs.
4. If they live with you and you’re unable to get anything done around the house. It’s not about you being selfish–it’s about you also having your own life.
5. Your loved one can still do activities, engage with others, and enjoy things. Many people are surprised by this because they think that they should “wait as long as possible” to bring someone to Memory Care. That’s not true. Really, people benefit most in Memory Care when they can still enjoy and do activities and engage with others!
6. They don’t know where they are, and, if your loved one is at home, he or she doesn’t realize that they are at home. Being “at home” doesn’t mean much when that person doesn’t realize where they are.
7. They are a high elopement risk. What do I mean by that? I mean that he or she is likely to walk out the door at any second. Be it in assisted living, at your house, or in another care environment, someone with dementia who is at risk for getting lost is probably a good fit for Memory Care.
8. You’re asking yourself if it’s time. If you’re asking yourself seriously if it’s time, it’s probably time.

5 thoughts on “8 reasons that it’s time to move them to dementia care”

  1. Great information! What is the best way to handle a loved one when you have to move them out of ALF to another dementia care facility? Unfortunately facility is not meeting needs. Thanks for any tips

    1. Hi Sherri! Same situation: break it down to 3 steps. Check out my YouTube channel, I have a recent video about making the move less stressful!

  2. This is such a great post! Getting help at home as a dementia caregiver could also help manage caring for an aging loved one with dementia. I found a blog post with more information.

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Rachael Wonderlin is an internationally-recognized dementia care expert and consultant. She has a Master’s in Gerontology and is the author of three published books with Johns Hopkins University Press. Rachael owns Dementia By Day, a dementia care consulting and education company.

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