Dementia into your Home
When someone you care about can no longer take care of them self, should you move them into your home?
It’s natural to feel compassion and sympathy for someone who is ill, especially if they are a relative or loved one. Perhaps they’ve done a good deed for you in the past and now you feel a debt of gratitude.
Obligation or sympathy should never be the only consideration to volunteer as Caregiver and bring someone into your home to live.
Before you agree to become caregiver for anyone who can no longer care for them self, you need to ask a few questions of yourself–
- How well do you get along with the ill person? Living together in close proximity tends to accentuate all of our differences.
- If it’s a family member, what do others in the family think of your becoming the caregiver? Will they help you with care for this relative, or resent the fact that this person lives with you instead of them. Will they be angry if you find that it doesn’t work and you must ask this person to move some place else.
- Is your residence large enough so that everyone has their own privacy? Is it easily adaptable to the needs of the patient?
- Are you able to set limits with this person and have them abide by those limits?
- Will you still be able to keep your normal routine, or will you resent the fact that your routine may be interrupted by his illness?
- Are you ready to compromise your time as well as your space?
- Can you wait, do you have patience? Are you willing to allow time for everyone to settle-in and adjust to living together?
- Do you have a back-up plan in case it doesn’t work out, or you become ill, or other circumstances arise in your life?
Suppose you accept this person into your home, will you be able to ask this person to move if circumstances change because of —
- Your own health takes a dip for the worse?
- The ill patient needs more care than you can provide?
- The ill patient won’t leave you alone but expects constant attention?
- The ill person keeps you awake long into the night, so you aren’t rested the next day?
- The ill patient is becoming aggressive and medications and interventions are not helping his demeanor?
- The patient is becoming less mobile than you realized?
- The patient is falling more often and you must call for help to lift him?
- Is this person Incontinent?
- The patient is becoming aggressive and resisting assistance and care?
- You are exhausted?
- You have no other sources to help you as caregiver, no outlet to take care of yourself when you can no longer handle the emotional stress?
These are only a few of the choices that will face you as caregiver. You must be certain that you’re able to take care of yourself in every circumstance.
A support system is absolutely essential. No one can be caregiver 24/7 without assistance. You will need someone to talk to and hear your feelings. You will need someone to watch the patient when you need a break; as you surely will. No one can be a caregiver 24/7 and remain healthy. You must take care of yourself. And I hope these lists give you a small idea of what your needs in the future as a caregiver may be.
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