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In my opinion, the correct time is different for everyone. Discuss it with the other caregivers/family that have input. Discuss it with other caregivers with loved ones who have Dementia and/or Alzheimer's. Tour several potential Memory Care Homes and have a list of questions ready, build on that list as you go on the tours.
Is your loved one safe? I think that's the ultimate question, for me, I already knew I wouldn't last as my Mom's in-home caregiver, there were no siblings, she was temperamental about outside help, but I kept trying. After the second time that she walked off and neighbor's returned her, a good family friend asked, "what happens when you are too tired or busy with your own kids to realize she's left the house?"
So ultimately, Mom wasn't safe, plus I was going downhill FAST. I'm not cut out to be her caregiver, as an only child and a people pleaser, it was emotionally draining me. I couldn't handle when Mom got angry and frustrated, I couldn't fix it, and I wasn't eating or taking care of myself. Not fair to my kids and husband either.
The choice was really made for me.
Guilt is there, but the reality is that I couldn't do it.
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mrslambs, the correct time would be when the sole caregiver has crashed and burned from exhaustion, and there isn't anyone else to help... or the patient refuses to have strangers in the house thus would be a high risk being left alone.

The Memory Care facility can do an assessment to see if the patient is ready for such type of care. My Dad was in Independent Living when the Staff had a meeting with me saying it was time to move my Dad to the Memory Care wing. I didn't think he was ready until I read the reports on what he was doing... I knew he had sundowning, but he was also wandering at night. Whew, glad he was going into a secure building where he couldn't get out at night.

Another thing, would the cost be within that patient's budget? Private Memory Care facilities run around $6k per month, and Medicaid [which is different from Medicare] usually doesn't help pay [depends on the State programs].
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I don't know if there's a correct time, however for my mom we moved from assisted living to memory care when it was apparent she could no longer function safely on her own. Factors included not eating well, trouble getting dressed, agitation when alone, fears of her falling and some random things like rearranging her things in odd ways and peculiar stories that interacted with reality (but were not real- she thought she was in a Seinfeld episode after watching TV).
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You won't suppose there is a standard answer to that question?

It's a judgement call. If you already have a facility lined up, you could do worse than discuss your friend with the facility's admission staff and agree criteria that way.

Would you like to say a little more about what is happening?
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