Birchwood Blog

April 9 2019

When is it time to think about a care home for loved ones?

Watching loved ones struggle with the effects of old age can be devastating. While we can help by offering informal care in the home – cooking meals, grocery shopping, and general housekeeping - the reality is that caring for an ageing parent or spouse is hard work. The decision to move a family member out of their own home, however, is fraught with conflicted emotion – stress, guilt, financial worry – and sometimes relief. There may be fierce opposition from the elderly patient themselves, but in the long term, and with the right care home, such as Birchwood, it can be a positive and beneficial transition for all involved.

Firstly, though, there are some telltale signs that relatives and caregivers can look for in order to recognise when it might be the right time for a care home:

A fall or illness

For some families, the decision is precipitated by a specific injury or bout of poor health. A fall at home may not only suggest that the current environment is proving to be too challenging but it may have also led to a period of slow recovery in hospital, during which it becomes clear they are not able to return to their own home.

Signs of depression

Depression in old age is not uncommon but it can be made worse by an illness or fall, deterioration in their mental health, such as loneliness and isolation or advancing dementia.

Risk of injury

Elderly relatives may be unable to use the bath safely, cope with stairs or forget to turn off the gas fire in the evening, putting them in potentially life-threatening situations.

Struggling with simple tasks

According to a 2017 Age UK report, the number of people aged 85+ will more than double over the next two decades and by their late 80s, more than one in three people have difficulties performing simple tasks unaided. Being unable to dress, cook and remember to take medication can be a sign that independent living is becoming too difficult.

Looking after an elderly relative can become all-consuming and exhausting. Equally, thoughts of moving them into a care home can be tinged with feelings of guilt. But if care-giving is taking its toll on your physical or mental health, putting pressure on your other relationships, then it may be time to think about the next stage of care for your loved one. You may be at the receiving end of frequent confused or anxious phone calls, have possibly sustained an injury while caring for your parent or struggling financially yourself. If you identify any of these signs, you may wish to begin exploring alternative care home options.

We understand that for an elderly person living independently at home, the decision to move into a care home can be stressful and upsetting. Our aim at Birchwood is to improve residents’ quality of life whilst maintaining their independence. If you are considering the next stage of care for your elderly relative, get in touch and make an appointment to meet our friendly staff and residents and to find out more about life at Birchwood.

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