Deciding whether a loved one with dementia should continue living at home or move to a nursing home can be very difficult. There are good arguments on both sides of this issue. Here are some of the key factors to consider when making this choice:
At Home Benefits
Many dementia patients do better in a familiar environment. Staying in their own home allows them to keep routines and remain surrounded by cherished belongings. Having family members and friends nearby also provides comfort. Being at home reduces feelings of isolation and abandonment that can occur in a nursing facility.
Caregiver support is another benefit of home care. Family members can be more involved in daily care and activities. This helps maintain bonds and relationships. Home health aides can assist with bathing, meals and medications so family caregivers avoid burnout.
Nursing Home Benefits
Around-the-clock supervision and medical care are top advantages of nursing homes. Falls are common with dementia patients, so having skilled staff prevents injuries. If health declines or new medical issues arise, nurses can respond right away.
Socializing with other residents reduces boredom and depression. Group activities and daily structure keep dementia patients engaged. Specialized dementia care units provide personalized therapies. Some techniques, like validation therapy and reminiscence, can improve communication and decrease agitation.
Nursing homes ensure medications are given properly and dietary needs are met. Proper nutrition can help maintain weight and strength. Some facilities allow small pets, which can provide comfort to residents.
The Right Choice
There is no definitive answer on the best setting for someone with dementia. Look at the patient’s current condition and care needs. Can family caregivers manage increased assistance as the disease progresses? Is skilled nursing required? What does the patient prefer?
In the early stages, most dementia patients cope well at home with support. As cognition and physical abilities decline, a nursing facility often becomes necessary. Moving while the patient can still adapt to new surroundings is ideal.
Talk to the patient’s doctor for guidance on when a move is recommended. Getting on waiting lists for quality nursing homes early is wise, as openings fill up. Make visits together to potential facilities to ease the transition. With thoughtful planning, patients can receive the right level of care in the best environment.