When Should Someone Go Into a Care Home?

As we age, our health, needs, and capabilities all inevitably change. At some point, the  question of whether a care home is necessary may arise. While this is a deeply personal, and  often difficult decision to make, it is an important one. Ensure you consider all factors  involved in order to prioritise the well-being and quality of life of those in need of care. 

In this article, we will explore the signs that it may be time for your loved one to move into a  care home, and any considerations that can help guide you in determining this. 

What’s the average age to go into a care home?  

Care homes are often perceived to be just for the elderly, but this is not the case. An  individual’s need for residential or nursing care can develop at any stage in life. Ongoing  health issues and lifestyle choices can result in the need for care at any age, and some  people may not have the support or facilities to receive this care at home. 

Signs it may be time for residential care  

The evolving needs of our loved ones can be either a gradual process, or the result of a  sudden health event. Here are some key signs it may be time to start considering a care  home: 

1. Declining health due to medical conditions. If your loved one is dealing with chronic health issues that require ongoing care, medication management, or specialised  attention, it may be necessary to consider moving them to an environment where  professional care is available 24/7. 

2. Cognitive decline. When a person’s cognitive abilities start to decline, it may sometimes be challenging for them to live independently. Conditions such as  Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia may require a care home that offers  specialist memory care in a safe and supportive environment. 

3. Difficulties with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). When individuals struggle to perform simple tasks such as bathing, eating, dressing, or maintaining personal hygiene, it may be an indicator that they would benefit from the support and  assistance available in a care home setting. 

4. Safety concerns. Frequent falls, accidents, or incidents that could endanger the well being of your loved one or those around them may signal the need for a care home environment. This will include trained staff who can address these things quickly and  more effectively than in someone’s own home. 

5. Social isolation or lack of support. Loneliness and social isolation can have a detrimental effect on mental and emotional well-being. If your loved one lacks a  supportive social network, or the ability to engage in community activities, a care  home will provide companionship, social interaction, and a sense of belonging. 

Consider carer burnout 

Another significant consideration when deciding if it is time for a care home is the well being of primary caregivers. Caring for a loved one, whilst rewarding, can be physically,  emotionally, and mentally demanding. Signs of carer burnout include: 

● Exhaustion 

● Persistent stress 

● A decline in their own personal health 

● A strained relationship between carer and loved one 

These signs should not be overlooked. Recognising the need for external support, such as  residential care, can benefit both the caregiver and the individual receiving care. 

When should someone with dementia go into a care home? 

The decision to move your loved one with dementia into a care home is much the same as if  they had any other care needs. It may just be that some of their symptoms progress to the  point that they don’t have the mental capacity or self awareness to recognise and make this  decision for themself. 

If you feel this time is coming, it is important to have these conversations with your loved  one sooner rather than later, and put in place a Lasting Power of Attorney to support this  decision with them if it should come to it. Your loved one’s needs should always be the top  priority. 

What is a care needs assessment?  

A care needs assessment is used to determine whether someone can safely and comfortably  look after themselves in their own home, or if adaptations are needed. They can also  determine whether it may be time to consider a care home.

There is no charge for a care needs assessment, and everyone is entitled to one if they  believe they are struggling to manage ADLs. You can also arrange an assessment on your  loved one’s behalf, although they do have to agree to the test (if they have the capacity to  do so). 

After your care needs assessment, a care plan will be established. This will be agreed with  you/your loved one, and detail what needs are necessary as well as what can be done to meet these. 

Deciding what’s best for a loved one  

Whilst you may have your loved one’s best interests at heart, it’s important to involve them  in the decision-making process as much as possible. It’s not a bad idea to start exploring  care home options before a crisis occurs. This allows for a calm and thoughtful process  when the time comes, without the stress of limited time and resources. 

Early planning and open communication with your loved one can contribute to a smoother  transition, and help address any concerns or reservations they may have. 

So, how do you know it’s time to start considering a care home?  

Deciding to move a loved one into a care home is a difficult decision that involves assessing various factors, including their changing needs, the well-being of those who care for them,  and finding the appropriate support. 

By recognising signs, taking into account individual circumstances, and conducting thorough  research, you can make a well-informed decision that prioritises the safety, comfort, and  quality of life for your loved ones in need of care. 

Considering a care home? Consider Porthaven Care Homes  

At Porthaven Care Homes, we put our residents’ needs first. Across 19 care communities,  we provide specialist care for a range of complex needs, in safe and supportive  environments. If you think it’s time to move your loved one into a homely care service, call  or visit your local Porthaven home to find out the care and lifestyle that awaits.