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At What Point Do Dementia Patients Need 24-Hour Care?

November 17, 2023

Are you considering how and when to transition a member of your family into memory care? At what point do dementia patients need 24 hour care? Each dementia patient is unique in their needs and timeline, and there are many factors to consider when thinking about what’s best for their care. In this blog, we’ll answer questions related to how to know when someone needs to transition into 24-hour care.

Can a Dementia Patient Be Cared For at Home?

As it makes sense for the families of those suffering from dementia, home care is a popular choice for dementia patients. A primary advantage of providing care for an individual in their own home or a family member’s home is that it will be a familiar setting, which lessens the likelihood of confusion and disorientation. Dementia patients being cared for at home can, for a good while, maintain their sense of comfort, independence, and control over their environment. 

How Long Can a Dementia Patient Be Cared For at Home?

How long a family chooses or has the ability to care for their loved one with dementia at home will vary case by case. Although there are benefits to home care, it also comes with drawbacks. It can be taxing to care for someone with dementia, especially as their symptoms progress, and it is often hard to ensure their safety. There also often comes a time when an individual’s condition worsens to the extent that they need 24-hour supervision and care, and families cannot always adequately provide that for their loved ones.

What Stage of Dementia Requires 24-hour Care?

As dementia progresses into its later, more advanced phases, the need for constant, round-the-clock care becomes increasingly essential. Typically, this requirement arises during stages 5–7 of the Global Deterioration Scale (GDS), a tool used by healthcare professionals to assess the severity of cognitive impairment in individuals with dementia.

During these stages, patients often experience significant challenges in their daily life. They may become prone to wandering and disorientation, even within familiar environments. This increased risk of getting lost or inadvertently putting themselves in dangerous situations underscores the necessity for 24/7 supervision. Additionally, sleep disturbances, including sleepwalking, become more common, further amplifying the risk of accidents or injuries during nighttime hours.

Moreover, as dementia progresses, the individual’s ability to communicate effectively diminishes. This decline can make it difficult for them to express their needs or discomforts, which can complicate the detection and management of health issues. The advanced stages of dementia are also often accompanied by a general decline in physical health. The body’s immune system weakens, increasing the vulnerability to infections and other medical complications. This heightened risk necessitates continuous monitoring and the ability to respond promptly to any health concerns.

Given these challenges, many families opt for 24-hour home care, where trained caregivers can provide the necessary support and supervision in the familiar surroundings of the patient’s home. Alternatively, transitioning the individual to a specialized care setting, such as an assisted living facility or a memory care home, is another viable option. These facilities are equipped to offer 24/7 supervision and tailored care, ensuring the safety and well-being of dementia patients during these demanding stages of the disease.

When Should a Dementia Patient Go to a Nursing Home?

You shouldn’t necessarily wait until your loved one needs 24-hour assistance before considering a nursing home or other facility for their care. Nursing homes and memory care homes offer distinct benefits to both dementia patients and their family members. Each dementia patient is different, but here are a few signs that you may want to consider your options for 24-hour home care locations:

  • Their condition and cognitive functioning have declined significantly.
  • Their current caregivers and companions cannot ensure their security 24/7, and you are increasingly worried for their safety.
  • Their behavioral outbursts increase in frequency and/or severity.
  • Their routines, including time for recreation and socialization, are not being adequately fulfilled.
  • Their care team does not have the resources available to ensure best-in-class care.

How To Get a Dementia Patient Into a Nursing Home

Often, people with dementia struggle to settle into a care home when their families make the difficult decision to transition them to more significant care. Sometimes, a dementia patient will even refuse to leave their home. To break the news to them gently, be sure to maintain empathy, compassion, and patience as you answer any questions and hear out their emotions associated with moving. To assist them with transitioning into a care home, try getting a tour of the facility, getting to know the staff, and acclimating them to their new surroundings before moving in. 

How Story Cottage Living Can Help With Your 24-Hour Needs

If you think it might be time to explore 24-hour home care or facility care for the dementia patients in your life, we are here for you during this difficult time and happy to help however we can. Call us today to learn more.