The day we moved my husband to a memory care home was the worst day of my life. Worse even than hearing the doctor say to him, “You have Alzheimer’s disease.” Worse than the day my father died, and worse, yes, than the day my husband died.
Why? Because that decision is fraught with guilt, all kinds of guilt. Guilt that I didn’t do enough for him, guilt that I was a failure in keeping the promise I made to him that I would take care of him ‘til the end, guilt that I would be able to enjoy some free time and have fun (what did that mean?), and guilt that I would go on to live my life without the man I promised to share it with.
But there comes a time when enough is enough. And if the health of the caregiver is impacted by the strenuous task of caring for someone who can no longer bathe, eat, drink or walk without assistance, it’s definitely time to consider moving that person to a facility that is better equipped to care for him/her.
Signs that it’s time to think about the big move
- You have a physical challenge that is getting progressively worse
- Your loved one is a wanderer and has already gotten lost outside
- You aren’t strong enough to meet all the physical needs of your loved one
- You are depressed, cry often and can’t think clearly
- You are unable to manage daily tasks because of your care giving demands
- Your friends and family have expressed concern about your well being and the well being of your loved one
- Your loved one has challenging behaviors and you feel unsafe when he or she “acts out”
- You’ve tried other ways to keep your loved one at home but they haven’t worked out or are inadequate
- It’s more financially doable to pay the cost for a residential facility than to pay for full-time care in your home
In the end, I listened to a friend who advised me to not wait until we were faced with a crisis. I found a wonderful facility where the staff grew to love my husband, and he felt like a valued member of the community. It was the right decision for us, and I’m glad we got on a waiting list a year before I made the hardest decision of my life.