Should my mother with dementia be put in a care facility?

3 answers | Last updated: Nov 22, 2016
Cosmic thunderer asked...

My mother has bouts of dementia that can last weeks or just hours. Is that enough to have her commited to a hospital or nursing home??? Other days she is fine and on top of her game so would she be able to get out on those days?

Expert Answers

Beth Spencer is a social worker in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with more than 25 years of experience with families who have a member with dementia. She is coauthor of Understanding Difficult Behaviors and Moving a Relative with Memory Loss: A Family Caregiver's Guide. Previously, she directed Silver Club, early-stage and adult day programs serving individuals with Alzheimer's disease and related illnesses.

I'm not sure what you mean by a  "bout of dementia." The first question is whether your mother has been diagnosed with some form of dementia. The symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia, don't usually fluctuate that much from day to day. There is one kind of dementia, Lewy Body Dementia, which does sometimes exhibit large fluctuations from day to day. But something else may be going on instead -- misuse of medications, mental illness, substance abuse, or some other problem. That's the first thing to figure out with the help of her doctor and other family members.  

In terms of "commitment to a hospital or nursing home," if she's "fine and on top of her game," some of the time, she doesn't sound like an appropriate candidate for a nursing home. And there's no such thing any longer as commitment to a hospital unless the person is a threat to themselves or others. It sounds as though she needs a good medical work-up by a reliable psychiatrist, neurologist, or geriatrician who is experienced with older adults.

Community Answers

Marly26 answered...

I have been a Healthcare Provider for a number of years, I have never heard of Dementia just part-time. They either have dementia or they dont'. They loose their short term memory but yet can tell you of much earlier days. As for having her committed to a home there is alot of checking things out. Someone would come into the home to access your mother. The thing about comitting someone now is no longer available. You just cant' commit someone if they themselves show no real positive signs of having something wrong. Yes as we get older we tend to forget things however that is not a means of having her committed. Nowadays they like family to help rather than that said person be put in a Nursing Home. They would have Homecare come in and assist your mother if someone is not available whether this be paid via the Government or paid by the individual. You didn't mention if your mother could still bath herself or cook for herself,dress,brush her teeth etc. If she can do all of this alone than there is no necessity of having her taken out of her home. There are so many legalities now than before. Just as I myself have a father in law who definetly has dementia. He cant' be left unattended, if clothing isn't marked he cant' dress, he gets confused very easily. I am his caregiver but they wouldn't consider putting him in a home unless there was no provisions for care and again it wouldn't happen within a wk. There is alot of paper work, evaluations, everything is taken into concept. I wish you well with your mom however I myself dont' think that she is a candidate for a hosptial or a home. My prayers' are with you and your family no doubt being worried but as mentioned, she would have to be evaluated, have a home check, her meds' etc. I hope this has helped.

Marly26 answered...

I myself as a Healthcare Provider have never heard of bouts' of dementia. Pls. check your mothers' meds' and make a Doctors appt. for her with you there. It sounds to me that she is either forgetting to take her meds, possibly on the wrong ones', or taking more. Once you go with her to the Doctor have her meds put in a Medication Sleeve so that she takes them properly. You can buy them "dosette" as 7 days,14 days etc. This way with the day posted on it she will know what to take on what day/evening. Dementia is just that dementia. It doesn't just come and go. Its either there or not there. This is why I'm asking that you go to her Physician with her or even check her meds' on the internet to see the side effects from them. One of them could be loss of memory but will only last for a short period. Speak with her Doctor openly and ask if something needs to be changed or altered to another med. I wish you luck and my prayers are with you.