Moving a loved one into a residential care home is tough and can be met with resistance, but it is usually for the right reasons. This may be because of one or a combination of the following reasons:
- They can no longer look after themselves
- They have complex medical needs or mental or physical limitations
- There are concerns about their safety and wellbeing
- They are lonely or have mental health concerns
- You or a relative can no longer look after them or are experiencing stress or burnout
Things to look out for
If you are not sure when someone should go into a care home, there are certain signs to look for. Any one or a combination of these could suggest that moving into a care home may be the best option. These are:
- They can no longer move freely or without help, which means they may struggle to prepare food, use the toilet or even get out of bed unaided. Ideally, it is recommended that your loved one moves into a care home before it gets to this stage, as they are likely to require around-the-clock care. Even if they only struggle with a small number of tasks, residential care is likely to improve their quality of life.
- They may get confused easily or be forgetful, which can lead to issues with medication, meal times and cause their days to switch around.
- They may have no interest in leaving the house or appear down or angry, which may be a sign of loneliness and mental health challenges.
- They may fall occasionally or seem clumsy, which can be serious if they are alone and cannot get up or call for help.
- They have complex medical needs which may mean they require regular medication.
- You are stressed or struggle to care for them, which risks burnout and your own personal mental health concerns.
Who makes the decision?
Nobody wants to be left to decide it’s time to move an elderly relative into a care home, but it can be something many people have to think about.
In some instances, unless your loved one has dementia or another cognitive condition, they may decide themselves that they would benefit from moving into a residential care home.
If your loved one cannot make this decision themselves, you or another relative will need to do this. If a relative has been granted power of attorney, or they have an attorney, this will make the process easier from a legal point of view.
In this case, you will need to contact your local authority to arrange for a needs assessment to be undertaken by an adult social worker. They will determine whether your loved one requires professional care and can help with their transition into a residential care home.