My 85-year-old mother has been bedridden with Alzheimer’s for three years, looked after by caregivers with support from my sister and me. She mostly sleeps and looks out the window. How long might this phase last? And, in your own opinion, do you believe Alzheimer’s patients benefit more from staying home or living in a memory care unit?
Most families coping with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia travel what we call “the continuum of care.” They start out doing everything on their own, then graduate to adult day center and in-home care. With advancing care needs, many will eventually move their family member to residential care – hopefully a long-term care community that specializes in persons with dementia.
In my experience, most families hope to keep mom or dad at home as long as possible. Look for Alzheimer’s home care help individuals who also can bring a sense of fun and energy to the home setting.
Residential care is a good option for many people. Persons with dementia respond to being with others and a social environment and a team of professionals can sometimes provide more comprehensive personal care and medical support.
In my personal case supporting my mother with Alzheimer’s disease, my dad had in-home help for five years before finally placing my mother in a residential care community. My mother did well in her assisted-living community and received excellent care. Her in-home workers actually continued to work for the family, visiting mom in assisted living and giving her some extra attention.
In your mom’s situation, I take note of the fact that you said she “mostly sleeps.” I would encourage you to get a good medical evaluation to see if her constant sleeping may be caused by medication or depression.
If possible, work to get your mother up and active. Play some of her favorite music or get her outside for some natural sunlight and Vitamin D. These small steps may help her enjoy a greater quality of life at home or eventually in residential care.