If a family member is diagnosed with dementia, your instinct might be that they should move in with you so that you can give them all the care they need. But is this truly a practical plan? A lot of it depends upon your circumstances, but assuming you also acknowledge the need for additional support, it can be a practical and effective course of action. What are some of the things you should consider before a family member with dementia moves in with you?
It's very important to remember that dementia is a progressive illness. As such, your family member's needs will change as their illness advances. What works when your family member first moves in with you won't work forever. In its infancy, dementia results in mild cognitive impairment. As it progresses, your loved one's memory will be affected, and their retention of information along with basic organizational skills will be impaired. Most people will find this level of impairment to be manageable. Although your loved one will require assistance, they will still be able to retain some degree of independence.
As your loved one progresses to the middle stages of dementia, the signs of their illness will become more pronounced. Problem-solving can be extremely difficult for them, and their general social reasoning skills can become affected. It's at this stage that leaving your loved one will require more assistance. You should strongly consider professional dementia care at home. This involves a healthcare professional assisting your loved one for a set number of hours per day. This could potentially be balanced with adult daycare, where your family member spends some days at a facility intended to care for someone in their condition, which might also encourage social interaction.
The middle stages of dementia will inevitably progress to the late stages, where your loved one will require assistance with even the most basic of tasks, and shouldn't be left unsupervised. The dementia care provider you select will be able to scale up their involvement, even to the point of having someone there 24 hours per day, although this will involve healthcare workers undertaking several shifts throughout the period. This could even be on-demand, allowing you to utilize longer periods of assistance on the specific days when this is needed.
With a realistic outlook and a degree of necessary professional assistance, it's certainly possible for your loved one to live comfortably and safely with you, at a time when they most need their family. Contact a dementia care service for more information.