One of the most difficult decisions that anyone will ever have to make is when to find a care home for an aging loved one. There comes a point, however, when caring for an elderly relative who has health issues can become too much and additional help is needed, such as that provided at nursing homes or at home care. How you make this decision is very hard, but there are a few questions that you can ask yourself before you take that step which will help you to determine if it is the right thing to do.
Is caring for your loved one becoming difficult?
Do you feel that you are not able to look after your relative on your own? Are there times when you need more than one pair of hands? This could leave you feeling very tired and drained and will make it even harder to give your loved one the care that they need. You need to get a certain amount of rest yourself in order to be able to continue to care for them. It may also be that you need to work as well as provide care, and this can make it even harder to do so.
Does your home provide the space needed for your loved one?
Sometimes, just having a spare bedroom is not enough. Your loved one may not be able to manage stairs and may require a downstairs bedroom and bathroom. If your home is not equipped to provide for their needs in this way, a care home is a good option. Even if they do not have a ground floor room they will have elevators and stair lifts to help their residents manage, as well as plenty of staff to help them to get around.
Does your loved one need specialist help?
Those who have specific health conditions and concerns may need more specialist care than can be provided at home, particularly if there is no-one to help you there. In these circumstances a care home may be the best choice, as they will be staffed by trained professionals who have all the equipment and knowledge needed in order to give your loved one the right care.
How does your loved one feel about being cared for?
Accepting help with personal care and health issues can be difficult at any age, but for the elderly it does represent a loss of independence. Having a family member to do these sorts of things for them is not always easy as they can find it embarrassing, so they may find it easier to accept help from a trained professional. From this point of view they may prefer the care at home option.
Does your family doctor consider that a care home is best?
It is often the case that an outside opinion is needed to make you realize that you need more help. If your loved one’s doctor recommends that you consider a care home then this is what you should do. He or she will be making the recommendation based on what is best, not just for the patient, but for you as well.
About the Author: Erin Warbrook is a writer specializing in health care for the elderly. She lives in Perth, Western Australia and has had this delicate conversation with a loved one before. She turned to the capable carers at Brightwater Care Group for assistance.