How Senior Dementia Care Can Help Family Caregivers


Though it can be highly rewarding to take care of a loved one who once took care of you, adopting a family caregiver role for a senior with dementia can also be fraught with challenges. If you have found yourself feeling overwhelmed or increasingly burnt out, 24-hour senior dementia care may be an excellent choice for both you and your loved one.

The nature of progressive illnesses like Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia means that although you might be capable of meeting your loved one’s needs in the earlier stages, these needs will typically increase over time. It’s not uncommon for family caregivers to reach a point where they need to seek additional support.

Throughout their illness, seniors with dementia may exhibit marked changes in behavior, like physical or verbal aggression, sundowning, or increased wandering. These changes are often challenging to manage and can put family caregivers and seniors at risk. Your loved one may also eventually require around-the-clock care with activities of daily living like eating and dressing due to memory loss. 

When considering 24-hour senior dementia care for a loved one, it’s easy to focus solely on what this can offer your aging relative. Still, it’s also important to consider your needs as their family caregiver. Research suggests that the family caregivers of seniors with dementia are at a heightened risk of various health problems, including (but not limited to) social isolation, physical illness, and psychological issues. 

Let’s look at four potential scenarios in which family caregivers may benefit from support and how 24-hour senior dementia care can help.

Scenario 1: You struggle to balance your relative’s care with other responsibilities.

With work, family, and social commitments, many family caregivers find that the 24 hours available each day aren’t enough. As their loved one’s condition progresses and they require much more constant, specialized, and personal care, this can become even more of an issue. For example, increased memory loss may mean a senior with dementia forgets everything from mealtimes to individual care tasks like showering and using the bathroom. By moving your loved one to a skilled nursing facility with dedicated dementia care, you can grant yourself the gift of time to attend to other important commitments, safe in knowing that your loved one is being well cared for.

Scenario 2: Your loved one is exhibiting new and challenging behaviors.

Behavioral changes in seniors with dementia can be challenging to deal with as a family caregiver. These changes may be directly caused by their disease, for instance, in the case of sundowning. Alternatively, if a senior is no longer able to communicate their needs and desires, this might lead to feelings of frustration and subsequent outbursts. These communication barriers can cause powerlessness for family caregivers, and you might feel you can no longer meet your loved one’s needs as effectively. Though there are steps family caregivers can take to improve communication, there may come a time when these efforts no longer work. Professional caregivers are highly trained to address the unique behavioral issues seniors with dementia often exhibit and know how to de-escalate situations by identifying and addressing the underlying need or emotion.

Scenario 3: You are feeling very stressed, physically unwell, or unable to cope.

Caring for a senior with dementia can be both physically and mentally draining. Issues like wandering, agitation, and sundowning are challenging to manage alone and often require considerable energy. It’s not surprising, then, that research has found that the family caregivers of seniors with dementia experience high rates of physical illness and stress. Family caregivers are naturally selfless individuals, and entrusting someone else with your loved one’s care may be difficult. But prioritizing your health and well-being is necessary. Around the clock care may be the best option for you and your loved one if you are suffering mentally or physically. With the practical aspects of care attended to by professionals, you can go back to being the son, daughter, niece, nephew, or relative you once were, enjoying the precious quality time together that you both deserve.

Scenario 4: You feel lonely or isolated in your caregiving role.

As your loved one’s Alzheimer’s disease or dementia progresses, you might feel increasingly isolated or cut off from your social circle. Or perhaps you still have contact with friends but lack connections that genuinely understand the challenges that caring for a senior with dementia can present. When your loved one moves to a nursing home or residential assisted living facility offering senior dementia care, you also become part of the community. With the opportunity to gain valuable wisdom from professional caregivers and other families who understand the realities of caring for a senior with dementia, you can feel genuinely supported and uplifted.

Get the Support You Deserve Today.

Providing care for an aging loved one can be difficult under any circumstance, but caring for a senior with dementia may also present a range of additional challenges. If you struggle to manage your loved one’s condition, specialized dementia care could be the most natural and positive next step in their retirement. For more information on the expert support Chapin Home for the Aging offers seniors with dementia and their family caregivers, get in touch or arrange a tour today.

Translate »