The answer is simple: When you no longer can care for him at home.
Adult day care is just a day service, so it occupies only part of the time. Care at home is still needed for nights and weekends. There are some adult care centers that offer evening and weekend services, but often it is not enough. Some people “package” services from a home care agency with the time spent at adult day care. In addition, a home care agency can assist with evening and weekend care to reduce the strain on you, and keep your father at home longer.
But as you can see, that takes quite a bit of coordination, and still a fair amount of resources, to do properly. Everyone’s situation is different and everyone has a different threshold, so you have to figure out what is appropriate for you and your loved one.
It is time to consider a nursing home or assisted living facility if you are feeling overwhelmed and the quality of life at home has fallen. You need to remember that it isn’t fair to either of you if your time with your father is so strained it diminishes your quality of life. If he were to go to an eldercare facility, your time together would likely be decreased, but then your time together could be that much more focused on doing things you like together, and in a lower stress environment.
Some assisted living facilities have staff members who are trained and equipped to work with Alzheimer’s residents. But many do not. You must research any long-term care operator’s limitations before making a decision. Some will accept Alzheimer’s residents until they become incontinent or require some other type of skilled care. In that case, you must consider what an extra move might mean to your father’s well being and sense of orientation.
This is a decision that you, as primary caregiver, must make. Everyone has different limitations and goals. When you know you have reached your limit, make the most appropriate, effective decision for everyone involved. Realize you have done your best and that that is good enough. Let go of any guilt, for it can only destroy you. For more information about Alzheimer`s, click here for our Resource Kit.