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When Does Someone with Dementia Need 24-hour Care?

Elder care nurse playing jigsaw puzzle with senior woman in nursing home

Although great progress has been made in understanding Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, a diagnosis often results in more questions than answers. One of the biggest questions for adult children whose parents have been diagnosed with dementia is regarding timing. More specifically, they wonder when 24-hour dementia care will become a necessity.

 Dementia affects different people in different ways, and the progression of symptoms can be unpredictable, too. That makes it quite a challenge to know when and how to secure 24-hour dementia care for your parent.

 While you may not be able to foresee a specific timeline, there are some signs you can watch for that will indicate your parent’s safety and general well-being are becoming compromised. When you recognize the need for safer living arrangements, 24-hour dementia care can help ensure your loved one is receiving specialized senior care for a better quality of life.


Signs Your Loved One Needs 24-Hour Dementia Care

In the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, your loved one may be quite capable of living alone or with minimal support. Over time, you can expect those needs to become more pronounced and your ability to provide that support at home less likely, despite your best intentions.

 Behavioral Changes

You may begin to notice your loved one exhibiting unfamiliar dementia behaviors. A once-social person might become more withdrawn, or they may express fear about familiar tasks. They may become more easily agitated, which in some cases can translate into physical aggression, which has the potential for risk to both the caregiver and your loved one. Other behavioral changes might include neglecting hygiene, which can create health concerns.

 Physical Changes

In some cases, physical changes may give you hints about your loved one’s cognitive state you might not recognize otherwise. Weight loss or gain may be a sign of forgetting to eat or forgetting they’ve eaten and eating a second time. You might also notice health conditions are suddenly less controlled, which could indicate your loved one is forgetting (or refusing) to take medication as directed. Bruising can also be a sign of falls, which are common as people with dementia lose motor function.


Increasing confusion can be problematic in numerous ways, especially if your loved one seems confused about where they are. Disorientation is a common cause of wandering for dementia patients. Confusion can also lead to moodiness, combative and aggressive behavior, or even mild resistance—any of which make effective caregiving a challenge.


Managing another adult’s toileting needs is no small task, especially if your loved one needs physical assistance using the facilities. That may simply exceed your own physical abilities. Remember, too, that incontinence typically brings a slew of other demands, including added undressing and redressing, laundry, and other cleaning duties that can quickly exceed a well-intentioned caregiver’s capacity. 

 Your Own Well-Being

Sacrificing your own physical and mental health isn’t ultimately giving your loved one the best care possible. When you’re not at your best, you can’t give your best to anyone else, including your parent who has dementia, another parent who relies on you, and your own family. Recognizing your limits may allow you to become a stronger advocate and support system to ensure your loved one gets care for a better quality of life.


Our Person-Centered Approach to Memory Care

While safety and security are common reasons families seek out 24-hour dementia care, we offer so much more for our residents with memory impairment. Our exclusive memory care program is designed to enhance each resident’s physical, cognitive, and social well-being, with a focus on the abilities they’ve retained (not what they’ve lost) and their very personal needs and desires. Contact us to learn more about our specially trained memory care teams and our memory care communities in New Jersey and Delaware.

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