When should someone move into a care home?

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If you care for an elderly loved one or they live alone and struggle to look after themselves, you may have thought about whether or not they would benefit from moving into a care home. This is a big decision to make and can cause a lot of frustration and upset, even if you think it is the right thing to do.

How do you know when it is the right time for a care home and why do people make such a life-changing decision?

In this post, we will discuss when someone should go move into a care home, including the signs to be aware of that a loved one might benefit from residential care, and who has the responsibility to make that decision.

In this article we discuss:

  • Why do people need residential care?
  • Things to look out for
  • Who makes the decision?
  • What are the benefits of moving into a care home?
  • How long does the moving process typically take?
Get in touch about our residential care service

Why do people need residential care?

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:

  1. 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.
  2. They may get confused easily or be forgetful, which can lead to issues with medication, meal times and cause their days to switch around.
  3. 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.
  4. They may fall occasionally or seem clumsy, which can be serious if they are alone and cannot get up or call for help.
  5. They have complex medical needs which may mean they require regular medication.
  6. 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.

What are the benefits of moving into a care home?

While moving into a care home can be a stressful and upsetting experience for everyone involved, several important reasons and benefits mean it is often the right thing to do. These include:

  • Living in an environment that is safe and caring, with professional and experienced staff on hand 24/7.
  • Having three freshly-prepared, home-cooked and nutritiously-balanced meals every day, with snacks and hot and cold drinks available throughout the day. All dietary requirements are accommodated as well as personal preferences where possible.
  • Staff ensure medications are taken at the right time and in the right doses.
  • Having plenty of opportunities to socialise and take part in regular social sessions and activities, including games and exercise.
  • Offering you and other relatives peace of mind that they are being looked after and provided with personalised and one-on-one care.

How long does the moving process typically take?

The amount of time it takes to move a loved one into a residential care home depends on several factors. If there is availability at a care home, it is possible that your loved one can move in relatively quickly. This depends on whether they have savings and can pay any fees straight away.

If your loved one requires financial support, the process will take longer. It currently takes around four to six weeks to arrange for a needs assessment. During the needs assessment, a social worker will also arrange for a financial assessment, whereby a budget is then allocated. If a needs assessment and financial assessment are required the whole process may take several months.

For advice for moving day and how you can help your loved one settle, read our post on moving into a care home

To help summarise…

Knowing when is the right time for a care home can be a balancing act. On one hand, you may want your loved one to retain their independence, but on the other hand you may see them struggling and cannot support them in a way you might like.

The right time for someone to move into residential care is when both your loved one and yourself find it hard. Whilst it may be tough, it will provide them with full-time care from a team of experienced carers will help them with their health, happiness and general wellbeing.

Enquire today

Here at Ashberry Care Homes, we have care homes across the UK that provide residents with dedicated care.

You can find our care homes at:

Learn more about our residential care services or get in touch for more information.

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