When Should Someone With Dementia Go Into a Care Home?

 In Blog

At Lidder Care, we understand that deciding when someone with dementia should go into a care home is a challenging and emotional process that requires careful consideration of various factors. The decision to place someone with dementia in a care home should prioritise the individual’s safety, well-being, and care needs while also considering the well-being of family caregivers. It’s wise to take the time to discuss the situation with family members and healthcare professionals and make an informed decision based on the individual’s unique circumstances.

Factor to ConsiderKey Questions to Ask
Safety ConcernsIs the person at risk of wandering, falls, or other safety issues at home?
Care NeedsAre the person’s care needs too complex for family or at-home caregivers to manage?
Caregiver StressAre family caregivers experiencing burnout or overwhelming stress?
SocialisationCould a care home provide more social interaction and reduce isolation?
Medical NeedsDoes the person require frequent medical attention that’s easily accessible in a care home?
Financial ConsiderationsWhat are the costs involved, and how will they be covered?
Individual PreferencesTo what extent can the person with dementia participate in the decision?

There are some key points to keep in mind when making this decision:

Safety concerns

If the person with dementia is experiencing severe memory loss, confusion, or wandering tendencies, it may become difficult for them to manage daily tasks and ensure their safety at home. If the safety risks outweigh the benefits of staying at home, a care home might be a safer option.

  • Is the person leaving the stove on or the water running, creating potential hazards?
  • Are they prone to getting lost or disoriented, even in familiar surroundings?

Care needs

Consider the level of care and support the person requires. If their needs are becoming too complex or demanding for family members or at-home caregivers to manage, a care home with specialised dementia care may be better equipped to provide the necessary attention and support.

  • Does the person need help with bathing, dressing, eating, and other daily activities?
  • Are their medication needs complex or require specialised nursing care?

Caregiver stress

Caring for someone with dementia can be physically and emotionally exhausting. If family caregivers are experiencing significant stress and burnout, it might be worth considering a care home to ensure the person with dementia receives the best possible care.

  • Are caregivers having trouble sleeping, neglecting their own health, or feeling emotionally overwhelmed?
  • Is the caregiving role creating tension or conflict within the family?

Social interaction

Isolation and loneliness can worsen dementia symptoms. A care home can provide opportunities for social engagement and activities, which can positively impact the person’s overall well-being.

  • Does the person seem withdrawn, depressed, or have decreased interest in previously enjoyed activities?
  • Could they benefit from structured activities, group outings, or companionship offered in a care home setting?

Medical needs: If the person with dementia requires frequent medical attention, a care home setting can offer immediate access to healthcare professionals.

Financial considerations

Evaluate the financial aspect of moving the person into a care home. Explore the available options and consider the financial resources required to ensure the person’s needs are met appropriately. Find out more about this in our recent blog post on the cost of care homes.

Individual preferences

If possible, involve the person with dementia in the decision-making process to the extent that they are able to express their preferences. Respect their wishes and try to find a solution that aligns with their values and wants.

  • Has the person expressed any desires or concerns about moving into a care home?
  • Are there cultural or personal values regarding caregiving that need to be respected?

Trial period

In some cases, a trial period in a care home can help assess whether the environment is suitable for the person with dementia. This can also provide some reassurance to family members who might be hesitant about the transition. Do care homes in your area offer respite care or short-term stays for this purpose?

Support groups

Consider joining local support groups for dementia caregivers to share experiences and gain insights from others who have been through a similar situation. Talking to professionals and other families facing similar challenges can be beneficial in making an informed decision.

Tips for Choosing a Care Home

Deciding on a care home is just as important as the decision to move your loved one into care. Finding the right care home is incredibly important for their well-being and your peace of mind. Here are some key factors to consider:

  • Specialisation in Dementia Care: Choose a home with staff trained in dementia-specific care approaches. Ask about how they manage challenging behaviours, communication difficulties, and ensure a safe environment for those prone to wandering.
  • Staffing Ratios: Inquire about the ratio of staff to residents, especially during different shifts. Adequate staffing is essential for quality care and individualized attention.
  • Activities & Environment: Does the home offer a variety of activities catering to different cognitive levels? Is the environment secure, yet welcoming and home-like?
  • Food & Nutrition: Observe mealtimes and ask about the quality of food, menu options, and how the home caters to special dietary needs.
  • Inspection Reports: Research the home’s recent inspection reports (Care Quality Commission in England). These reports provide insights into the overall standard of care.
  • Family Involvement: Ask how the home facilitates family visits, communication, and involvement in care planning.

Questions to Ask During Your Visit

  • Can you provide references from other families with loved ones in the home?
  • What is your process for assessing new residents and developing personalized care plans?
  • How do you handle medication management and medical emergencies?
  • What is your policy on residents leaving the home unaccompanied?

Remember: No care home is perfect. Weigh the factors most important to you and your loved one to make the most informed decision.

Ultimately, the decision to move someone with dementia into a care home is a personal one, and it is essential to weigh all the factors while keeping the individual’s best interests in mind. Consulting with healthcare professionals, social workers, friends and family members can provide valuable input to help make the right choice.