Taking care of a loved one is an excellent way to show them how much they are loved, and make up for a lost time, even if it’s physically and mentally exhausting. For complex care, however, it’s not always possible to provide assistance around the clock.
You also need some time to rest. Hiring an aide will help, but that doesn’t guarantee the safety of your loved one. This is when the idea of a nursing home might come to mind.
As someone responsible for their wellbeing, it’s only right to make the best decision for your loved one. But there’s one problem; when will you know if it’s already time for your loved one to move to a nursing home?
Here are six signs that your loved one requires a higher level of care:
Senior citizens can be especially vulnerable to accidents due to restricted mobility, visual impairment, and cognitive conditions. There are three accidents that senior citizens often get into:
- Falling: Mainly because of obstacles, unstable furniture, darkness, and slippery floors. You can prevent this accident by taking preventative measures, but that won’t guarantee that your loved one will be 100% safe – especially at night.
- Burns: Using appliances without knowing how they work will often lead to problems like overheating, which in turn causes injuries like burns. Preventing this type of accident is done by investing in appliances that have safety mechanisms.
- Choking: Although it’s not as common, your loved one may also suffer from choking, especially if they don’t have enough strength to chew their food. They may also mistake a food label for some other product, which can lead to this accident in rare circumstances.
Accidents like these are common amongst senior citizens, but if you notice that it’s becoming more frequent, it’s a sign that your loved one needs care 24 hours a day. You may find that continuing their care at home, with support from dedicated home nursing support provider like homenursingwithheart.com, is the best solution.
Alternatively, moving them into a full-time residential environment may be helpful, especially if the nursing home offers safety measures.
If you’ve been taking care of your loved one for more than a year, you have probably suffered from adverse effects at some point. For example:
- You’re not as energetic as before
- You’re experiencing a higher degree of fatigue than usual
- You can’t get enough sleep
- You’ve lost or gained weight
- You don’t get excited about your favorite activities anymore
- Physical and mental health problems
This is called ‘caregiver burnout’ and it often happens to those who care for patients that need assistance 24/7, due to not having enough time for themselves.
Burnouts are not permanent, and through self-care and breaks, you can release yourself from its bounds. But that’s not a luxury you can afford if you keep taking care of your loved one alone.
If you feel like the pressure is too much, raise the subject of eventually moving to a nursing home with your loved one. Chances are they’ll agree with your idea to ease your burden.
3. Medications problems
Providing the right medication at the right time is one of the most important components of taking care of the elderly. It’s what keeps illnesses from attacking their bodies and helps them have the energy to go through the day. Still, there are still problems that can arise regarding treatments for senior citizens.
Below are three examples of these medication issues:
- Memory Loss: Elderly people may forget to take their medication, especially if they’re suffering from neurodegenerative disorders. In some cases, they may take the wrong prescription or use the wrong dosage. Worst-case scenario—they no longer know how to take their medications.
- Limited Income: You may also have trouble obtaining these medications, especially those that are quite expensive. With the effects of the ongoing pandemic, it can be even more difficult.
Once you start suffering from these problems, you can assume either of two things—their condition has worsened, or you can’t afford the most expensive medications.
The good news is nursing homes provide services that include medications that are supplied by different charity groups. Nursing homes also consist of certified health aides that make sure all patients take the correct medication.
As the primary caregiver of your loved one, you’ll be alone most of the time. As your friends and family go on with their lives, you may feel alone with your caregiver duties.
You’ll have less time to interact with anyone else, and might find it hard to leave your loved one even on family occasions. Unless there is someone else other than you taking care of your loved one, it’s understandable to feel isolated from the outside world.
The same applies to your loved one. If no one in the family is willing to help you, then your loved one is most likely all alone whenever you leave for work or buy groceries. Not only will it affect your relationship, but your loved one will also feel alone.
Evaluate both of your situations, and whether you’re still content with what’s currently going on in your lives. One of the signs that a nursing home is necessary is when you start feeling like your peers leave you behind.
Instead of feeling guilty about considering a nursing home for your loved one, think of it as an act of love, knowing that they’ll be better off with people that they’ll get along with. They’re likely to make great friends, and you will have the opportunity to connect for other caregivers in a similar situation, as well as time to do things for yourself.
5. Unavailable caregivers
Caregivers are often considered as the extension of a disabled person or elderlies. Most activities that the individual cannot do is done with the help of the caregiver. And for that reason, many elderly people are taken care of by health aides.
When hiring a caregiver to take care of your loved one while you’re not home, you might encounter some problems such as the following:
- Shortage: For starters, there may not be a qualified health aide nearby. You may hire someone from outside your area of residence, but that will likely cost more.
- Not affordable: Since you’re already struggling with medications, your budget may not cover the health aide. Sure, there’s the help of a state programs like Medicaid, but that might not be enough. Quality caregivers often request a higher salary, mainly because their services are top-notch.
- Low standards: Even if you find a health aide who’d settle for low pay, a stranger in your house can also lead to worries. They may be newly-qualified or inexperienced in the specialty that’s relevant to your loved one.
If you can’t find or afford to hire a health aid, then a nursing home can be a better alternative for your loved one. Most nursing homes hire professional caregivers and have high standards for their personnel, so there’s no need to worry about staff-related accidents.
Furthermore, part of a nursing home’s cost is covered by medical programs, making it more affordable than having separate expenses for your loved one’s medications and their caregiver.
6. Problems with daily activities
Health professionals have come up with the term Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) to refer to eating, grooming, bathing, sleeping, and so on.
If you see your loved one struggling with ADLs, it’s safe may be an indication that they need 24-hour care. Other examples of activities that elderly people may have trouble with include:
- Getting lost inside the house
- Phone calling
- Proper hygiene
If they need help with these activities, that means you have to take care of them using most of your time every day. Although this may seem doable at the start, over time it can become very tiring, which can make living in a nursing home a better option.
7.Your mental health is suffering
If you a struggling with moderate to severe mental health difficulties, it’s a sign that this is the right time for your loved one to enter a nursing home. Sometimes, taking care of a loved one who’s ill or disabled can be traumatizing. If you’re feeling the following mental issues, consider bringing your loved one to a nursing home so that professional caregivers can take care of them properly while you recover mentally:
- Denial about the disease and how it’s impacting the person concerned
- Daily anxiety
- Being angry at the person who is ill or disabled
- An ongoing inability to concentrate
- Irritability that impacts your mood and triggers negative actions
- Being unable to recall the last time you felt good about yourself
Taking care of a loved one is a huge commitment, and there is likely to come a time when choosing a nursing home is a viable option. Know that there should never be any guilt around this decision, and be assured that your health is just as important. Consider home healthcare assistance in the first instance, and if it becomes challenging to continue providing care, a nursing home may be the right choice for your loved one.