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I'm thinking of moving my wife with Alzheimer's from memory care home back home to live with me. Has anyone had experience dealing with home health care companies and care givers? Am I doing the right thing? I've had issues with memory care homes.

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My husband has mid-stage dementia and receives care at home. I agree with everyone about the difficulty and the cost of caring for a loved one with dementia, and the importance to do research. But it is NOT necessarily easier or cheaper in a facility. We live in MD and the base price for memory care per month is $9k -$10k. Most are private pay, so that is money out of pocket. (An exception is long term care insurance. It really helps regardless of length of coverage.) So, if you can afford $9k-$10k a month (again, base price) in memory care, why not spend that money to keep your wife at home? She will have one-on-one care at home, but not in the facility, at the same price. When her needs increase, so will the cost of care, whether at home or in a facility. This is the reason why I pulled my husband out of memory care after two months. It did not save me money or reduce my worries/stress. Moreover, it made BOTH of us sad. If you have not been to a memory care, I suggest you visit a few and witness how the residents carry on each day. It is sad and depressing.

Speaking of depressing, it is more difficult to place a spouse in a memory care than to place a parent, sibling, or relative. Your bond is tighter and it makes you feel rotten for putting her there. Recently, there was a man in North Carolina (I think) who shot his wife who had dementia because he did not want to “lock her up like a caged animal” in a facility. He admitted to the crime and I sympathize with him. I don’t recommend you shoot your wife, of course, but the story illustrates how difficult it is for a spouse to make this decision. I have been there and done that.

I ramble. The decision is highly personal, but I strongly recommend you visit facilities and look beyond the smokes and screen and the glossy brochures with pics of smiling residents. Ask yourself how you would like to live there. Good luck.
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Reply to Worriedspouse
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I agree with Eyerish, about getting plans in place first. My dad with ALZ had to be moved in with us fast.. and I called a local agency to stay with him while hubs and I worked. we got what was called a companion, and it worked out well. But when she went home it was hubs and I.. and mom when she got home from rehab. As dad got worse,, so did things here, and at last 3 of us at night were not enough! He was up all night, sometimes got mean, always trying to "go to work" at 3 am.. Just think long and hard about this. Dad's last month we had to admit to a MC,, he did well there socially . And we were able to visit him rested and not angry
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Reply to pamzimmrrt
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Having a loved one in a facility can be difficult. Most people who haven't experienced it think that we just place our loved ones in a facility and the care they need is provided by the facility and we just go and visit. I found that to be a false perception when I placed my dad in a facility as it brought on a host of new issues that were just as stressful as trying to care for my dad myself.

Not knowing the kind of problems you've faced having your wife in memory care it's difficult to say exactly if home care would be better. I'm wondering if you considered home health prior to placing your wife in memory care and if you did, why you chose not to go that route.

As freqflyer said, home health is very expensive, between $25-$30/hour. Some home health care agencies, if you go with an agency and I think that's the best way to go over hiring privately, accept Medicare. Some do not. And while home health care sounds easy enough to implement, there are numerous complications that go along with it for both private and agency care.

I would urge you to do some research on home health care and not from the big splashy ads that are online but from people who have had to have home health themselves. Look online, find some forums with people who have shared their experience. This is a great site for that as well. Do a search on this site and see what you come up with.

Caring for a person with Alzheimer's is very difficult whether the person is in memory care or at home. There is no easy path. However, don't bring your wife home until you have all the information. And if you do decide to go with home health I would encourage you to interview the caregivers prior to bringing your wife home. You'll need to conduct background checks on potential caregivers if you decide to hire privately. You'll need specific insurance. It's a complicated undertaking. And to go through it while your wife is standing there, needing care, is not the best way. So do all of your research before you bring her home.
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Reply to Eyerishlass
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Harveylynn, usually if a person is accepted into Memory Care there is a reason. It can take a whole village within the facility to take care of the resident. Now you did mention "memory care homes", was this a home with like 6 residents or is your wife in a facility?

I can understand why you wish to bring your wife back home. It could work out if you have the right caregivers, those who are highly experienced in taking care of a person who has memory issues.

Next you need to see if you could budget for this cost. In my area it was costing my Dad $30/hour, thus having around the clock 3-shifts of caregivers had a monthly cost of $20k. Yikes, not many of us mere mortals can afford that. Thus, unless your wife will sleep through the night, bringing her home can be costly. You need to save money for yourself and care if you need it later.

Later down the road, my Dad did move into Assisted Living/Memory Care which was more affordable for him at $7k per month. And he loved being there, being around people of his own generation.
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Reply to freqflyer
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