When is it time for a nursing home?
If you have an elderly family member who struggles with a long list of health issues, you might be asking yourself that very question at this time. Choosing whether or not to place someone into a nursing home can be one of the most challenging decisions you’ll ever have to make.
If you decide to do it, there are plenty of nursing homes that would be happy to have your family member. There are more than 15,000 of them across the country.
But before you make a final decision, carefully consider if a nursing home is right for your elderly family member. Some signs will show you it’s time to find a facility for them.
Here are 10 signs that will let you know you’re likely going to need to find a nursing home for your family member soon.
1. Your Loved One Is Having a Hard Time Taking Care of Themselves
Do you worry about how your loved one is holding up when you’re not around?
Maybe you’ve noticed that they don’t seem to be showering on a regular basis. Or perhaps you’ve seen that they’ve stopped cleaning their house like they used to.
As people get older, it can become too difficult for them to carry out even the simplest of tasks. As a result, they’re often unable to take care of themselves and their homes.
This is when it’s time to start thinking about moving them into a nursing home. At a nursing home, they won’t be responsible for taking care of a house. They’ll also receive help when it comes to performing basic tasks like bathing.
Whatever you do, don’t ignore this particular sign. Your loved one could compromise their health and drag down the value of their home if they aren’t able to complete daily tasks anymore.
2. They’re Losing Their Mobility
According to a U.S. Census Bureau report released in 2014, about 40 percent of people over the age of 65 reported dealing with at least one disability. The vast majority said that they struggled with walking and getting up and down stairs.
Mobility is, unfortunately, a significant issue for many older Americans. Once people start to creep up in age, they’re not unable to move around as quickly or as easily as they once could.
When this happens, it can make it far too difficult for the elderly to get around inside of their own homes, let alone out in the world. Those with two-story homes are often confined to their first floor, and even then, they can’t always access all of the rooms in their house.
Have you seen your loved one struggle to make it from point A to point B in their home? This could indicate that you need to consider obtaining nursing care for them.
3. They’ve Sustained Several Falls in Their Home
One of the reasons why it’s important to place those with mobility issues into a nursing home is because the threat of them falling and injuring themselves is very real.
Studies have shown that every 11 seconds, there is one American over the age of 65 treated for an injury related to a fall in the emergency room. Additionally, one American over the age of 65 dies as a result of a fall every 19 minutes.
If your loved one has gotten into the habit of falling inside of their home, it’s only a matter of time before they seriously injure themselves. Their mobility issues are going to continue to plague them, and in most cases, they’ll even get worse.
You won’t have to worry about them falling when you check them into a nursing home. They’ll have aides who can help them get around and prevent them from slipping and ending up on the ground.
4. They Routinely forget to Take Their Medications
As your loved one gets older, there’s a good chance that they’re going to start taking more and more medications. The average senior takes about five medications per day.
There are going to be times when they forget to take these medications. Everyone forgets to take a medication now and then, regardless of how old they are.
But your loved one shouldn’t get into the habit of missing medications. That’s when serious complications can arise, especially if they’re prescribed medications to treat chronic conditions.
You can help your loved one remember to take medications by purchasing them a special pill case that they can keep by their chair or bed. But if that doesn’t work, you’re going to need to think long and hard about whether or not you can trust them to take medications on their own.
If you don’t think they’re going to be able to do it, you’ll need to start looking around at nursing homes that can make sure they take their medications regularly.
5. They’re Not Eating For One Reason or Another
Seniors will sometimes stop eating for many different reasons.
In some cases, they stop eating because the medications that they’re on zap them of their appetite. They can’t stomach the kinds of foods that they used to eat because of the prescription drugs that are in their bodies.
In other cases, they stop eating for a more serious reason. Some people cut themselves off from food as they near the end of their lives to prevent themselves from suffering any longer.
There are even some instances in which people stop eating merely because they don’t have the strength to get up and make anything. They go for days without real meals even though they have food in their house.
Whatever the case may be, you should worry if your loved one doesn’t seem to be eating regularly. A nursing home can provide them with the food they’ll need to start eating again on a regular basis.
6. They’re Suffering From Alzheimer’s
Almost 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease at the moment. It’s a disease that can take a toll on a person’s memory and make it impossible for them to remember their closest family members and friends.
If your loved one suffers from this disease and is still in the early stages of it, they might not be in bad shape yet. Outside of the occasional memory lapse, they likely still have all their mental faculties.
But as Alzheimer’s disease develops, it can make it harder and harder for people to live without assistance. It can even be dangerous for them to be on their own since those with Alzheimer’s get confused easily and often wander outside and don’t know where they’re going.
You should not, under any circumstances, allow your loved one to live without any supervision if they have late-stage Alzheimer’s. Instead, you should search for a nursing home that can provide them with the physical and mental health care they need.
7. You’re Unable to Provide Them With the Proper Care
There are lots of people who will try to put off placing an elderly family member into a nursing home for as long as they possibly can by caring for them on their own. In some instances, they’ll even move in with their loved one or allow their loved one to move in with them.
If you’re going through this right now, you deserve a lot of praise. But there may come a time when you’re no longer able to provide your loved one with the care they need.
Here are some signs that will let you know it’s time to call a nursing home for help:
- Your health is suffering because of the care you’re providing for your loved one
- You’ve injured yourself trying to help your loved one around in their home
- You’re not able to tend to the other responsibilities in your life because of your commitment to your loved one
- You’re suffering from a condition called caregiver burnout
- Your relationships with friends and other family members are taking a hit
- You can’t offer the kind of care your loved one needs for their condition
If you can’t care for your loved one properly, you’re doing them more harm than good by not taking them to a nursing home. You’re also putting yourself at risk in the process.
8. Others Have Expressed Concerns About Your Loved One
If you’re spending almost every waking minute with your loved one caring for them, you might not be able to spot all the problems they’re experiencing. You’re too close to the situation to offer an impartial assessment of it.
So listen to others if they come to you and tell you that they’re concerned about things that they’ve seen when interacting with your loved one. They may have noticed something about them that you missed merely because you’re around all the time.
These people could very well be willing to help you care for your loved one if you ask them to. They might also be up for helping you find the right nursing home for them.
Whatever you do, try not to discount their opinions on the matter. Their concerns could be valid and could indicate that it’s time for your loved one to get the professional help they need at a nursing home.
9. Your Loved One’s Own Doctor Has Recommended a Nursing Home
This is when you’ll know that your loved one has a problem that you can’t fix.
Hopefully, your loved one is taking regular trips to the doctor to talk about their physical and mental condition. Based on what the doctor sees during those visits, he or she might pull you aside and ask to speak with you about the possibility of checking your loved one into a nursing home.
If it comes to this, the doctor is likely concerned about what might happen to your loved one health-wise if they don’t move into a nursing home. They probably believe your loved one needs to be in a facility that can provide constant medical care.
You should arrange to have a more formal sitdown with your loved one’s doctor to talk about the options that you have. They can provide you with additional information about how a nursing home would benefit your loved one during that meeting.
10. You Want to See Your Loved One Live a Happier Life
Nursing homes have gotten a bad rap over the years. People have accused them of not providing adequate care to patients and not improving their quality of life.
But the truth is that most nursing homes have their patients’ best interests at heart. They’re more than willing to go above and beyond to help patients lead more fulfilling and happier lives.
If your loved one has lost their joy for life living at home, you can help them to change that. You can track down a nursing home for them that will allow them to live a much better life than the one they’re living now.
That should be the only thing that you’re concerned about. Whether you choose to care for your loved one at home or place them in a nursing home, you should have their happiness in mind.
Do whatever you think will allow them to enjoy their golden years the most.
When Is It Time for a Nursing Home? The Time Might Be Now
If you ask yourself the question, “When is it time for a nursing home?”, with regards to your loved one regularly, the time could very well be right now.
There is no “right” time to place a person in a nursing home. But it’s better to do it before things get to be too bad for a person at home.
The last thing you want is for your loved one to suffer at home when they could be leading a better life in a nursing home. Contact us to see how we can help your elderly family member get the care they need.