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When is it Time for Nursing Home Care?

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nursing home careIt’s among the most difficult decisions families must make: when is it time to transition a loved one to nursing home care? There are many reasons to consider nursing home care. When your loved one is no longer able to perform the basic activities of self-care – even with assistance – nursing home care may be the best option.

To help you in your exploration of care options, our experts at Bethany Village have put together a list of questions related to your loved one’s health. Answering these questions truthfully should help you determine whether it’s time to consider a nursing home, assisted living facility, or memory support care. Many of these questions are drawn from the ADL or Activities for Daily Living List, which is a term used among healthcare professionals in reference to someone’s daily self-care activities.


How easily can your loved one move about the home? Are they no longer able to get up and down stairs or get out of bed, even with assistance? If you find that your loved one is unable to eat or maintain regular hygiene, such as bathing, grooming, changing their clothes, and hair washing, assisted living or a live-in caretaker could help. However, when they are unable to perform these tasks even with assistance, a nursing home may be a better option.


Does your loved one have and use equipment such as raised toilet frames and personal emergency devices? Do they make frequent use of these devices? If yes, have they still experienced safety issues despite this assistance? Many accidents can occur due to inattention. Do they frequently leave the stove on or forget to turn off freestanding heaters or other appliances which could cause a fire? An assisted living facility can help seniors who are still mobile, but may need a little extra help to attend to matters of safety. However, when seniors can no longer safely care for themselves, even with assistance, a nursing home may be a better option than an assisted living facility.

Mental Health

While many of us will experience memory loss as we age, there is a point at which memory loss or confusion can threaten one’s personal safety. If your loved one feels threatened by caretakers, fears leaving the house, or refuses to take medications or eat certain foods based on irrational fears, these could be signs that they need memory support or assisted living services. Finding qualified caretakers can help keep loved ones in the home longer, but only if they accept the care given. Becoming lost frequently, or being unable to remember personal information such as their own address or phone number should be seen as signs that your loved one needs help. But so long as they are able to perform basic caretaking activities – even with assistance – a memory support or assisted living facility may be a better option than a nursing home at this point in their care.

Finally, it’s important to consider your own ability to look after for a loved one. If your family is stretched to the breaking point – physically, emotionally, financially – with caretaking, you should explore assisted living or nursing home options. Often, family caregivers can get so involved in taking care of a loved one that they will neglect their own health and personal matters.
If you’ve found that you answered “yes” to most of these questions, it’s probably a good time to sit down with your family and loved one to discuss your situation. Assisted living, memory support care, or nursing home care can provide a much safer environment for many seniors, depending on their situation, and provide needed assistance for their families.


Written by Bethany Village

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