Accepting our inabilities is difficult at any age. As we get older, the idea of becoming dependent is a topic we often try to avoid. As for our families, it can be hard to see us struggle but even harder to approach the topic of getting additional care.
Sometimes family can provide the care needed or hire a support nurse to help with day-to-day activities like shopping and cooking. But there comes a time when there may need to be a discussion about transitioning into a nursing home. The conversation is incredibly emotional for everyone involved, which is why so many of us try to avoid it. But, if you recognize any of the below signs in yourself, it may be time to pluck up the courage and discuss all the options.
You’ve received a late Alzheimer’s diagnosis
Identifying the early stages of Alzheimer’s or dementia should be the first step to considering a nursing home. It’s always better to put things into action before it’s absolutely necessary. By being prepared, you’ll have plenty of time to shop around and find the perfect care home for your needs in terms of comfort, quality, and location.
As these diseases progress, day-to-day tasks may become more difficult. In the late stages of Alzheimer’s, seniors may struggle with feeding themselves, changing, and bathing.
At first, this may seem manageable between adult children and a visiting nurse or support worker. However, this can put a huge strain on family relationships and finances. It is much more comfortable for everyone if a senior suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s is in safe accommodation with around-the-clock, medically trained staff.
You have a combination of health issues
If your relative has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia, additional health issues can make the care and assistance they need complicated. Everything from uncontrolled diabetes to lung and heart issues can all add pressure and complexity to treatment – making a nursing home a much better option for you and your relatives.
You’re tripping and falling more
Even if you don’t have obvious health conditions, you might find yourself experiencing more falls, trips, and injuries at home. This may be solved with something as simple as the family coming round to tidy the property to make sure walkways are unobstructed.
However, regular falls and trips in the home can be a sign of underlying health issues and mobility concerns. When a property becomes unsafe, it may not be an option to move to a new home or buy a different property. Falls and trips are no reflection on the care family members are providing, but you may need more consistent support just in case something happens during the middle of the night.
You’re dealing with your own health conditions
Elderly couples can support each other through the golden years, but if both partners become frail or have to deal with their own health conditions, it can be difficult to be a caregiver for the other person.
Elderly caregivers can develop their own problems by caring for their spouse, too, as the job can be incredibly taxing. It may be time to consider transitioning both or one spouse into a nursing home.
You have other responsibilities
While all children want to be there for their parents, they still have other responsibilities to handle. Moving your parents into nursing homes in Watford can reduce the pressure on family members as well as give you peace of mind that your parent is safe, happy, and healthy. Not having to be the primary caregiver also allows you to get back to having a strong relationship as a family, rather than feeling so heavily dependent.
Your mental health is suffering
Caring for your elderly relative can be incredibly taxing and exhausting. This mental drain can easily seep into other areas of your life and damage your relationships, work-life balance, and more. If you are starting to feel anger at your relative or feel you have to withdraw from your own personal and social life, it’s time to hand over the reins.
Of course, we all want to be there for our parents; however, if caregiving is causing you anxiety or negativity on a daily basis, it’s getting too much. While caring for someone else, it’s still integral that you look after yourself.
You’re worried about their health and safety
There’s only so much we can do for our parents. If you’re not trained or a professional caregiver and are the only one available to help, some things may be out of your depth. When you start to feel concerned about their health and safety when alone – even if it’s just you nipping to the bathroom – it’s likely time to move them into a home where they can be supervised across the board.
Caregiving already comes with its own level of anxiety, but if you’re becoming overwhelmed with worry about whether or not they’ll eat when you’re gone, or whether they’ll leave the gas on, etc., considering a care home will give you a little more peace of mind, and the respite you need.
Making the decision
When discussing even the potential need for a nursing home, it’s much better to plan ahead and approach the topic before it becomes integral. Even if you believe they need a nursing home, all decisions about their care should be clearly discussed with them – with no plans being put in place without their initial consent.
It’s important for relatives to remember that even if your reasons for considering a care home feel selfish, it’s probably the best decision for your mental wellbeing and your parent’s health and safety.
It’s also worth remembering that a nursing home isn’t the end of the line. Respite care homes provide temporary care to seniors so that their primary caregivers can relax and avoid burnout. And, even in a permanent care home, you are more than welcome to get involved with their care as much as you want to.
Moving family into a nursing home is a difficult decision but can be a great one. Nursing homes give seniors the chance to enjoy activities and social events with other seniors, eat delicious and healthy meals without cooking, and access medical support whenever needed.
By keeping the topic as positive as possible, the transition will be much easier for both parties.