One of the most frequent questions I am asked is, “When is the right time to move my relative with Alzheimer’s into a care facility?” The answer is different for every family. Either remaining at home or moving to a facility are options that should be weighed carefully long before a crisis occurs.

The different levels of care for someone with Alzheimer’s include: remaining at home with the help of community services and/or in-home care, living in an assisted living or moving into a memory care. There are several clients that I have helped that have been able to remain at home until their last day with the assistance of in home caregivers and hospice. The advantages to staying at home are remaining in a familiar environment, having more personal one on one care from a caregiver and being surrounded by family.

There are times, however, when the client’s medical needs or safety are factors that may influence placement. Memory care or assisted living facilities may be the best decision for a person that is no longer safe in their own home or if a caregiver’s health is at risk from the challenges of caregiving.

The key factors to keep in mind when considering keeping your loved one at home versus moving them to long term care are:

  1. Is the person with Alzheimer’s safe in their own home?
  2. Will our finances be able to support the level of home care support needed to keep the person with Alzheimer’s at home?
  3. Can the health needs of my relative be provided for at home?
  4. Are the person’s care needs beyond my physical abilities?

If your relative is able to be cared for at home with the right at home support, staying at home is a wonderful option. The one on one care of a caregiver in your home cannot be matched at a long term care facility. However, if your relative is not safe in their home or the family caregiver is unable to physically care for the person with Alzheimer’s then other options must be considered.

Roslyn Paine, MSW, LSW
DignityFirst Health at Home Care Manager