Get Help with Understanding When It’s Time for Assisted Living or a Nursing Home.
Many families struggle with knowing the right time for assisted living or nursing home care. There are few decisions more difficult than choosing whether or not to move your loved ones into long-term care. In these times, it is important to be realistic and objective. Their needs must be placed above your emotions. This is far from easy, however. Being honest about the situation is essential.
Here are five questions you may want to ask yourself and your family when deciding if it’s the right time for assisted living or nursing home care.
- Is Your Loved One Getting Better or Worse?
- Can They Take Care of Their Basic Needs?
- Has Their Behavior Become Erratic?
- Have Others Expressed Concern?
- Are They Happy?
Is Your Loved One Getting Better or Worse?
The declining health of a loved one is usually the first thing that leads families to consider a nursing home for the care of their elderly family member. If you haven’t considered outpatient therapy, this could be a good first step. There are many therapy options available that don’t require you to commit to any long-term decisions. You can have a medical professional evaluate the current health of the patient, as well as track their progress. Having a doctor help you make this difficult decision will give you and your family peace of mind and expert advice on the best way to move forward with your loved one’s care.
Can They Take Care of Their Basic Needs?
If you’ve noticed your loved one is having difficulty with things like hygiene or diet, that could be a sign that they need additional care. People naturally differ in their self-care practices, and some are more diligent than others. The important issue is whether or not there has been a noticeable change in this behavior.
For example, if the person used to brush their teeth consistently, but no longer does, that could be a sign that something is wrong. If they no longer shower regularly, or their eating habits have significantly changed, these could all point to a larger problem. Paying attention to all of these “little signs” can help you see if there is a pattern.
Has Their Behavior Become Erratic?
Erratic behavior is another sign that your loved one may need additional care. This is especially common in patients experiencing dementia or Alzheimer’s. Like hygiene and self-care, the key here is careful observation. You want to be sure there is a clear change in their behavior and not just a temporary condition. We all experience up and downs as well as mood swings. When this becomes a pattern of behavior, however, it may be time to take a closer look. As a family member, you know them best and your insight can be critical in making the best decision for their care going forward.
Have Others Expressed Concern?
Trusted family and friends can provide helpful insight into this matter as well. Again, the people who know your loved one best are often able to identify changes in their health or habits that may be cause for concern. If others are concerned as well, this should not be ignored. While, it is important to not jump to conclusions too quickly, taking special care to pay attention to their concerns can be highly beneficial in gaining an accurate understanding of the issues that may be going on. Friends and family are a great resource in deciding whether it’s time for assisted living or nursing home care for your loved one.
Are They Happy?
This may sound overly simple, but that doesn’t make it any less important. After all, we want our loved ones to be happy. If we didn’t, we probably wouldn’t consider them a “loved” one. A great place to start is to just ask them. Some people keep their true feelings hidden, however. It is possible, especially in a period of decline, that your family member doesn’t want to be a burden. They may say they are doing okay when, in reality, they are really struggling.
It is important to pay careful attention and be realistic about your observations. Beyond this, remind your loved one that they are not a burden. In fact, seeing a problem and feeling powerless to fix is often far more difficult to deal with than ensuring the proper care of the ones you love. Help them feel safe to express how they feel honestly, reminding them that what’s most important to you is that they get the help they need.
According to this PNAS study, isolation and loneliness are known to increase mortality in elderly men and women. Happiness is not just important for mental health and quality-of-life, but can actually increase your loved one’s lifespan.
Still Don’t Know if it’s Time for Assisted Living or Nursing Home Care?
If you are still unsure about the right time for assisted living or nursing home care, don’t worry. You can speak with a medical professional who can give you advice based on your individual case. There are many doctors and nurses whose passion is to care for the elderly, and they can help guide you in making the right decision for your loved one. If you don’t know where to go, Contact Us at Glen Island Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation and we will be happy to help!