November is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. As your dad has Alzheimer’s, you likely know more about the disease than most. Even with that knowledge, it never gets easier.
Your dad is one of the estimated 6.5 million adults diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. It’s been years and his decline is hard to ignore now. How do you know when it’s time for 24-hour home care?
He’s Not Sleeping
It’s common for people with Alzheimer’s to have a very messed-up sleep cycle. Your dad is wide awake until well after midnight. When you finally get him to settle down and sleep, he’s up again within a couple of hours.
Because he’s not sleeping, you’re not sleeping. You’re getting exhausted. If you hire 24-hour home care aides, those aides are up with him when you are sleeping. They can redirect him, get him a snack or drink, and stay up with him until he’s ready to go back to bed.
Delusions and Paranoia Have Presented Themselves
Delusions and paranoia are common in the latter stages of Alzheimer’s. Your dad starts to suspect everyone. He won’t recognize you from time to time, and that can be hard for both of you. As he doesn’t recognize you, he may see you as an intruder in his home. He can become very aggressive and that’s hard to manage when you’re alone with him 24/7.
Before He Wanders
You want to arrange around-the-clock care before your dad wanders. Not every Alzheimer’s patient does wander, but a large percentage do. You may not have a lot of warning.
How will you know if your dad is going to wander? When you take him out shopping or to an appointment, does he recognize his house or ask where he is? Do you hear him asking you or other family members to take him home? “I want to go home” is one of the most common statements that occur when wandering behaviors start.
The Final Stage Has Arrived
In the end stage of Alzheimer’s, your dad isn’t going to be mobile. He may stay in bed all day, which means he needs someone to shift his position every few hours to prevent bed sores. He may need sponge baths or to be transferred from a wheelchair to a chair or bed.
At this point, he’s not likely going to be eating much. He may be willing to drink a nutritional shake, but a full meal is unlikely to be something he’ll eat or want. He may need help sipping water and will need a straw.
Do It Before the Family Caregivers Burn Out
It’s time to support your dad as best you can. You also have to take care of yourself. Alzheimer’s is a challenging disease that can be emotionally, physically, and mentally exhausting. When you realize he needs more care than family caregivers can provide, call a 24-hour home care advisor to book the care your dad and the family caregivers all need.