We all age differently. And not everyone who is elderly will need the expert support and care offered by a nursing home. In fact, making the move too quickly can cause tension in your relationship.
However, there are certain signs and situations that you should be aware of which point to independent living becoming more and more challenging for your loved one.
In this short blog post, we share 9 early warning signs that it’s time for a nursing home.
Look out for these red flags that it’s time to consider moving your loved one into a nursing home
1. Falls or physical injuries
Living independently becomes increasingly difficult as we get older. Simple tasks such as cooking or cleaning are suddenly fraught with danger. And if floors are uneven or there are stairs to contend with, it can increase the risk of falling.
If your loved one has recently suffered a fall at home while no-one was around, or if you notice they’re hiding bumps, scrapes, bruises or burns, it could be time to consider the safe space a nursing home provides.
2. Increased phone calls — especially at night
Do you find that you can’t go anywhere without your phone in case something happens? Or that you’ve come to expect a late-night call from a confused or anxious loved one most evenings?
This is often a telltale sign that someone isn’t coping well at home alone.
Particularly common with dementia patients, increased agitation, confusion or anxiety later in the day can place a heavy burden on caregivers, disrupting family routines and putting stress on the relationship.
3. Personal hygiene becomes an issue
If you notice that your loved one’s hygiene standards have started to slip, it could be time for a difficult — yet important — conversation.
Ask them how often they bathe or shower, and if they’ve been having trouble doing so. Do they find it challenging getting into or out of the shower or bath? Can they still get dressed and undressed alone? Are they sleeping in their bed or a chair in front of the TV?
It’s not uncommon for older people to be too proud or stubborn to admit to these struggles, so it might take a bit of gentle coaxing on your part. But if you can get them to open up, you can help them understand that a nursing home is a far safer and healthier environment.
4. The house and/or garden is a mess
Dishes stacking up next to the sink? Food going off in the fridge? A once cherished and cared-for garden now overgrown with weeds?
These can all be relatively small signs in the grand scheme of things, but they most certainly point to someone struggling to manage the day-to-day of living alone.
Read More: Questions to Ask When Visiting a Nursing Home
5. Changes in mobility
A major benefit of nursing homes is that they have trained staff and specialist equipment to help with lifting, moving and walking.
So if your loved one experiences pain when they move around their home; difficulty getting out of bed in the morning, or they can no longer walk unaided and require assistance or the use of a cane or walker, it’s a strong indication that they would be safer (and more comfortable) under expert supervision.
6. Medication is piling up
If you notice that your loved one’s medication is unopened and starting to pile up, this is a huge red flag — and one you simply cannot ignore. Forgetting or refusing to take medication can have serious consequences.
Moving into a nursing home means your loved one will have a trained professional on hand to make sure they’re taking their medication as and when required. This gives you both peace of mind that their health is being monitored closely.
7. Eating habits have changed
Is your loved one eating healthy and nutritious meals, or relying on the microwave or takeaways? Are they still able to cook for themselves? Are they even eating enough throughout the day?
Keep an eye on their fridge and the bin for clues around their eating habits if you’re unable to shop and cook for them on a regular basis.
8. Issues with toileting or continence
If your loved one is finding it hard to get to the toilet on time and unaided, or they’re waking to a wet bed, or experiencing more accidents due to poor mobility or bowel control, it’s probably time to consider discussing a nursing home with them. Having someone on hand 24/7 to help with toileting can give them their confidence and dignity back.
9. You’re experiencing stress or burnout
While living alone can be stressful for your loved one, acting as their primary caregiver day in and day out can also result in pressure and anxiety for you. It’s important that you recognise this as soon as possible to avoid burnout, ill-health, or damaging your dynamic as a son or daughter to your parent.
At the end of the day, your loved one deserves the support and attention of trained professionals as they enter this challenging period of their life. And it allows you to transition back to being their child, resuming an important relationship safe in the knowledge that they’re being well looked after.
Spotted one (or more) of these signs? Let’s have a chat
It can be hard to know for sure that it’s time to move a loved one into a nursing home. But if you’ve started to notice a few of these signs slowly creeping into your lives, it makes sense to plan ahead and plant the seed that a nursing home is the right next step.
Whether you’d like more information about nursing homes in general — or Fulford in particular — or if you’re simply looking for a sympathetic ear, we’re ready to listen and happy to help. Contact us on 01904 654 269.