When to consider a care home

Caring for an elderly loved one can be overwhelming when you find they need more assistance than you can provide.

The decision to move into a care home is never an easy one to make, but the wonderful nursing and residential care teams at our two Hampshire homes will be there to support you and your family every step of the way and give you the peace of mind you deserve.

When should you consider a care home?

Many people worry that residential or nursing care are last resorts to be considered only when there are no other choices, but moving to a care home is often the right decision if it provides superior benefits.

Whether it’s a change in health or a new diagnosis, there are several signs to look for that indicate your loved one might need more professional care.

Some common reasons to consider a care home are:

Safety concerns

If you’re concerned about your loved one’s safety, a care home may be a good option. Here are some signs that their health is deteriorating:

  • They are in danger of hurting themselves or others.
  • They have suffered from a fall or other accident, even if it was minor. In general, older people who have had more than one fall within the past year should be monitored closely for future accidents.

They’re bereaved and lonely

The following are some signs that your family member might be grieving the loss of a loved one:

  • They may be having trouble sleeping or eating.
  • They may feel depressed and anxious.
  • They may feel isolated and lonely.

You don’t have time to care for them yourself

It’s important to remember that if you are providing care for a loved one, it’s not just your responsibility. If you have other family members who can take on some of the duties, consider sharing the load with them. If you are a single parent or a parent without many childcare options, then you may need to consider another option for your loved one needing care. Our residential care homes in Hampshire and care home in Wiltshire offer 24-hour care and supervision, as well as help with hygiene, daily tasks, meals, and social activities. Our nursing homes also provide these services, as well as on-site medical care provided by a registered nurse.

Health issues mean they need more care

The need for a care home may arise when a person’s health prevents them from looking after themselves. This could include:

  • Physical health problems, such as being frail or having mobility issues.
  • Mental health problems like dementia or Alzheimer’s.

If they have to rely on others for help with things like eating and drinking, it’s likely they will need more support.

They’re showing signs of dementia

Dementia is a progressive disease, meaning it gets worse over time. There are two main categories of dementia: vascular and Alzheimer’s disease. Vascular dementia (VD) can cause memory loss, difficulty speaking and understanding others’ speech, personality changes, slowed movement and thinking abilities. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the other most common form of dementia, which causes people to become confused and forgetful over time. They also lose their ability to recognise family members or remember important events from their past.

While these signs can be troubling on their own, they’re often mistaken for other conditions such as stress or depression, so it’s worth getting checked out by a doctor if your loved one is showing the above signs.

Are care homes the right place for someone with dementia?

Getting a dementia diagnosis doesn’t necessarily mean moving into a care home. As long as someone with dementia receives the right support, they should be able to continue living at home for as long as possible.

But as dementia progresses, it’s not uncommon to reach a point where the everyday tasks that used to come easily are becoming too hard, or even impossible. When this happens, it might be time to consider moving into a care home, which will offer 24-hour supervision and professional help with things like bathing, dressing, eating, walking, and getting around, all of which can become much more difficult when you have dementia.

Here are three things to consider if you’re thinking about a care home for someone with dementia:

  • Make sure your loved one receives a needs assessment from their local authority. A dementia-based assessment should identify their needs and recommend appropriate care.
  • When choosing a care home, make sure it provides specialist dementia care. Find out if they have the necessary resources to support your loved one.
  • Talk to your loved one early about their future care needs while they are mentally capable of making decisions. If they lose their capacity to make important decision for themselves, it will be possible for you to do this on their behalf through the power of a legal representative.

What are the benefits of living in a care home?

Caring for a loved one requires time and commitment to ensure the person you love is happy and safe. There are many reasons why living in a care home could be a good idea for you or someone close to you. Here are some benefits of living in a care home:

  • The right balance of stimulation: To maintain good life balance, it is important to give the right amount of mental and physical stimulation.
  • There is always someone available to help you: By choosing to live in a care home you can be sure that individual needs will be met by the most qualified and experienced staff possible.
  • Planning and preparing meals: Chefs prepare tasty, nutritious meals designed to appeal to everyone. If you’re physically unable to prepare meals for yourself or simply don’t want to make the effort, this will save you time and energy so you can focus on what matters.
  • Equipment: Care homes are designed with full accessibility throughout, so specific equipment, such as handrails or stairlifts, are already part of the design.
  • Other people are in the same situation: You or your loved one will be able to make new friends and share life stories.
  • Companionship and social opportunities: Fun, well-organised social events offered at care homes allow residents to interact with each other. Studies have shown that these activities can prevent depression in older adults as well as improve their overall health.

Written by Amesbury Abbey Group.

Sarah Evans