When to Move someone with dementia to nursing home?

When to  move someone with dementia to nursing home

Moving the person with Alzheimer’s to a Nursing Home can be a difficult decision for the caregiver…

Too often in life we are forced to do things we promised our parent or relative that we would never do. I was certain that Mom’s condition would never come to that, but a year into her late stage Alzheimers I found myself faced with the possibility that I could no longer care for her at home.  We began our search for a “good” nursing home. The thought was not a happy one, I dreaded it. I knew the search would be awful, thinking I’d never find one that met the criteria for my mother’s care.

Circumstances change almost daily for the person with Alzheimers, their families and their caregivers. Planning ahead is near impossible. In the beginning, Mom was so adamant that she would never live in a nursing that we contemplated purchasing a small motor home or travel trailer for our own back yard; a pretend home for Mom during the day while she retired to the main house each evening.

Our thought being that Mom would be satisfied knowing she had her own place at night and gladly return to our home at night. Before we could begin a search for a travel trailer or motor home, Mom’s condition worsened and she could not be left alone, even temporarily.

I had a home-based business, a supportive husband, and had been certain I could take care of Mom in my own home for as long as she needed care. I had two computers on a network and envisioned the two of us working side by side, me doing business and Mom playing solitaire. (That’s another story) What a spot of fantasy that turned out to be.

But there is no written progression for dementia, and the 7 step and stages have no designated width.  Each individual is different, different symptoms, different behaviors, and different time lapses between each.

Some behaviors related to Alzheimers have their own labels. Labels that only another caregiver could understand; “sundowners”, “shadowing”, “pack-rat”, “junk-mail”, “violence”, “want to go home.”  One caregiver may find a behavior particularly hard to endure, while another caregiver may be disturbed by a totally different behavior.

Not all Alzheimer’s patients become violent, but some do. And taking care of a violent patient is not a matter of endurance and stamina but of safety.

A loved one needs to be moved to a nursing home if they are continually violent.

Sometimes medical issues can cause this behavior; a urinary infection or other medical problem. But sometimes, it’s simply the dementia itself–changing brain waves and the person’s personality.

For the security of all, patient and caregiver alike, an Alzheimer’s dementia patient who becomes violent must be moved to a more secure living community, a setting that is safe and comfortable.

The patient has no idea what they’re doing and would be devastated if they understood the danger they had become to family and caregivers. But they can become dangerous. And a nursing home should be considered under those circumstances.

Later in Alzheimers stages they may need more medical treatment than the caregiver is able to provide.

Many Alzheimer’s patients yearn for “home,” the place of their youth that no longer exists. They’ll walk and walk and walk, if unprotected by open (unlocked) doors.

Much like a young child, they can be in grave danger of becoming lost or walking into traffic or accepting a ride from a dangerous passers-by. If you aren’t able to keep the patient in a well-protected, locked area, you may want to look for other living facilities.

It isn’t always a happy moment, but many of us simply aren’t able physically or emotionally to care for a loved one in our own home.

Whether it be financial, emotional, or simply in the best interest of our loved one– there is nothing wrong with searching for a safe and loving care-home to meet our loved one’s needs.


Nursing Home CareA Guide for Nursing Home Social Workers, Second EditionInsider’s Guide to Better Nursing Home Care: 75 Tips You Should KnowImproving the Quality of Care in Nursing Homes: An Evidence-Based ApproachThe Best Friends Book of Alzheimer’s Activities, Vol. 1



  1. says

    I take care of my late stage mom at home and when my mom became violent and I thought what do they do in nursing homes to deal with this kind of behavior. I have never seen nursing home patients hitting or kicking people. It is because they drug our loved one pretty quick after such behavior. After quite a bit of research and learning every drug and non-drug therapy I taught myself how to handle this behavior. The doctor put her on a medicine that was NOT BLACK BOXED for elderly dementia patients and have had great success. I think every person must make this decision for themselves and many do choose nursing homes but it can be done at home also. Do not be afraid to drug your loved one before placing them in a nursing home where they will most likely be drugged without the one on one care you are giving. Sandy check with your grampa’s doctor on a possible drug that will work for him. Make sure they are not an anti-psychotic that is black boxed for elderly dementia. I recommend everyone to Google the medicine they are put on and tell the doctor to start them out on half the dosage till you see how it effects them.

    • ~ Sandy says

      Hello Tina,

      You are so right and I’m glad you were able to see this before your Mom was sedated without your information/permission.
      I was very fortunate with my own mother. She entered a Group Home rather than a nursing home. The lady who operated that center was a nurse from a dementia center and she did not like to see the elderly patients sedated.

      The lady who owned the center where my Mom stayed preferred that the patients were managed in other ways. My Mom took a very small dose of Xanax each day and Gursen the Nurse/Owner of the “Group Home” where Mom resided worked hard to keep the residents active and happy for most of the time.

      Their days were structured with 3 meals a day, 2 snacks. They had walks outside, laundry folding, musical groups who volunteered, puzzles, crafting and television time in the early evening to calm them for bedtime. As a whole, they were a pretty happy group of 9 with varaying stages of Alzheimer’s or Dementia.


  2. says

    Alzheimer is a disease everyone have it in you it is the other part of your brain, for example if you have a computer you download as much data as possible after your computer get so much it demand back up or its became slow so what do you do? You erase drunk out to make space or you completely rebuild that computer. It is almost the same with Alzheimer, a new born baby brains is blank we teach that baby from A to z ,but with elderly no one takes time to work with them. Real treatment for Alzheimer is read have people to talk to, do not leave elderly at home alone help them to focus on thing they already know keep reminding them about things they use to like make it new to them be patient even if you have to repeated over and over again it will sink in. If you don’t use it you lose it is for your whole body, I will say start with your brain first then your body total work out. Every human brain are different setting, this is why the sickness progressive in different ways.Stress and depression is a big factor on Alzheimer and dementia.Stress and depression are carry 100sof diseases” really”

  3. Danielle says

    My grandfather was diagnosed in 2010 with dementia/alzheimers and my grandmother
    Has been his main caregiver. Recently, he has been combative and waking up
    In the middle of the night to urinate in drawers/clothing hampers. My grandmother
    Tried to help him and direct him to the bathroom and he became violent
    With her by hitting, kicking her in the ribs & kicking her head. She was traumatized but
    Is still denying that he needs to be placed in a nursing home. I’m concerned
    For her safety and his safety. How should I approach this topic when she is in
    Denial, maybe she would be open to listening to a professional like
    if this came from their doctor??

    • ~ Sandy says

      Oh, that is so sad. They’ve probably been together for many years and I’m sure your grandmother wants only to help him. He has no idea what he is doing as he isn’t himself right now.

      Yes, if someone could speak with his doctor, that might be an excellent idea. They could help your grandmother understand his condition. They might be able to add a medication that would help to calm him. And they could also help your grandmother to understand his condition better, and accept that he may be safer in a care home.

      I wish you the best at helping your grandmother. You are a kind and generous granddaughter and I’m sure your grandmother appreciates all your help.


  4. says

    I just started reading your site – thanks for writing. I wanted to inform you that it’s not displaying correctly on the BlackBerry Browser (I have a Blackberry 9700). Anyway, I am now subscribed to the RSS feed on my PC, so thanks again!

    • admin says

      Thank you for visiting. I’m new to WordPress, so I’ll certainly check-in to the issue with my Blackberry Browser display.

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