Guides to care

When is it right to move into a care home?

Making the decision to move a loved one into a care home is never easy. Emotions such as guilt and sadness come to the fore; guilt when you are unable to care for your loved one at home any longer for whatever reason, and sadness because it is the end of an era, where a family home must be sold or your loved one will no longer be near their family.

When is it right to move into a care home? The Mayfield Care Home

Signs Which Can Indicate the Time Is Right

When you are caring for someone on a daily basis, it is easy to miss the subtle signs which tell you that things are becoming difficult. Many family caregivers tend to just struggle to cope. It’s important for you to know when the time is right for you to seek professional advice and support with caring for your loved one. Here are some things to look for to help you with your decision.

Falls are Becoming More Frequent

It is not unusual to have a trip or fall now and again; this can happen to all of us. Your loved one may not tell you every time they have a fall but if you notice more frequent bruising or lacerations appearing, it could be a sign their mobility is failing. Or perhaps their home is becoming unsuitable for them and they are becoming a danger to themselves.

They are Losing Weight

This could indicate either an illness or they are simply forgetting when to eat or not wanting to eat.

They Seem Depressed and Unmotivated

This could be a sign of illness, including dementia, or simply a sign of ‘giving up’. Try to think of when you last saw them happy and active and compare this to how they are now. Is their low mood becoming regular?

They Have Become Lonely

A sign to look for is when a loved one stops mentioning that they are seeing friends or are going out. Loneliness in the UK is endemic. Age UK reports that 1.4 million older people report feelings of loneliness and isolation. Loneliness can lead to depression and illness. If you notice this in your loved one it could be time to consider a residential care home where they can enjoy the company of others again.

They’re Struggling with Cognition

If your loved one is living with dementia or another form of cognitive decline, is it becoming worse? Dementia can be mild in some people, but then suddenly become worse. You may notice them losing items more frequently or forgetting names more often. They may struggle to do everyday tasks like cleaning the home or they can start to neglect their personal cleanliness. You may be shocked to learn that they have gone out and become lost or confused. At this stage, they may be becoming a danger to themselves and need extra care.

Their Finances Have Become a Problem for Them

Your loved one may struggle to manage their bank accounts, bills and weekly outgoings. Unfortunately, older people can fall victim to fraud and scams so it’s important that you check they can look after their finances. If you notice that bills are unpaid or there is an increase in letters from charities and other organisations requesting money, then act fast. You may need to remove them from a situation where they could be taken advantage of.

Are Family and Friends Finding it Difficult to Care for Them?

With the best will in the world, when problems such as those outlined above start to become overwhelming, even close family members will find it hard and stressful to care for a loved one safely and properly. This is especially true where there are other family commitments such as children or there are work considerations. Short-term or respite care in a residential home can be an option but when a loved ones’ health becomes unmanageable then it’s time to let the professionals take over full time.

Ultimately, the decision should be a shared one with input from all concerned, but the overriding concern must be for your loved one’s needs and safety.


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