It’s easy to feel guilty about suggesting that a person with dementia goes into a care home, but remember you are only trying to do your best for them and keep them safe.
Accepting that a person with dementia needs to move into a residential or nursing home is a difficult and emotionally stressful situation to come to terms with. For a long time, you might have felt that you don’t want your relative or loved one to go into a home, and you might also feel that you should be caring for them yourself. But there may come a time when this is impossible. You probably have your own work commitments and family to care for and when the person needs ongoing and consistent 24-hour care, it will be too much for you to be able to cope with their needs, look after yourself and juggle your own work and family commitments.
It’s understandable that you may feel guilty when broaching the subject about a loved one moving into a care home. However, it’s also important to see that you may not be the best person to care for them if you have your own busy life. You may know them well and understand their likes and dislikes, which of course, is a huge advantage. However, you also have to consider your own health and what your mood is like when you are around the person you are trying to care for. If you are tired and stressed, they will pick up on your stress.
Unless you are living with the person and you don’t have any work or family commitments of your own, it will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for you to adequately care for a person with dementia. Their needs will be constant.
Care homes have a rota of 24-hour care in place all the time, day in, day out. If the person wanders at night, someone will be on hand to prevent them from falling over and guide them back to bed. Care home staff will be specially trained and won’t have the same emotional attachment that you have for the person with dementia. This can be a good thing. If you are having a bad day and your energy levels are low, and the person is angry or says something hurtful, you will be more likely to retaliate or handle the situation badly. It’s easily done when you’re tired. Care home staff won’t have that emotional link to the person. This can be a good thing. At the same time, as they get to know the person, they will form a bond with the person and will begin to understand them well.
The other benefit of moving the person into a care home is they will probably get more stimulation than they’re getting at home. They will have consistent company. They can have privacy and be in their own room when they want to be alone, but when they want to talk to someone, there will always be someone there for them.
Their eating patterns may improve and they will also be encouraged to take part in social activities and hobbies.
If you find the right care home, there is no reason why a person with dementia can’t enjoy a fulfilling life – safely and comfortably – and you certainly don’t need to feel guilty about that.