The subject of looking for a nursing home can be a touchy one; it's hard to put the care of your loved one into someone else's hands, and it can be an emotional process for everyone. However, if you're open to the idea or if you're trying to see if it's even necessary, it's worth analyzing your current situation to see if it may be an option to bring to the table. Knowing what to look for and what to consider can help prevent the possibility from taking you by surprise and help you prepare if necessary.
Evaluate Mental And Physical Health
A major concern and deciding factor for your loved one's future is their health, but that deals with more than just physical health.
- Pay attention to their personal life -- how often they go out, how many friends they have and talk to, and their daily routine. If they are alone very often and don't have many people to talk to, this can be a serious contributor to depression or the exacerbation of other psychological issues. Also check for signs of memory issues; look for piles of unopened mail, unpaid bills, deteriorating home organization and cleanliness, and other signs that they may be forgetting, or simply unable, to keep up with taking care of things on their own. Nursing homes often provide a sense of community that many living on their own lack.
- In terms of physical health, if they reach a point where they can no longer take care of herself without frequent assistance, it may be time to start looking for additional options. One option is in-home care, but that can start to get pricey, and it may not be enough. Your loved one may need 24-hour care, which in-home services don't often provide.
- Get a second opinion from a doctor or geriatric care manager to get their recommendations. Also have them talk to your relative when you aren't around; your loved one may be more comfortable talking about their problems to a stranger than to family.
Evaluate Personal Ability
Though it may not be a comfortable thing to admit, you have your limits too. You may want to take care of your relative for as long as possible, but if you find yourself lacking time or energy, you may not be able to provide sufficient care. There's also the chance that you could simply burn out, and your physical and mental health are important too. Taking care of an aging person, especially if they have developing psychological conditions, is extremely challenging, and it can take its toll.
If you'd like, give in-home care a test run. This can give you a few extra hours to yourself on predetermined days, and for now, that may be all you need. As you go along, however, make sure that you continue to keep your own health and situation in mind. If it becomes too much of a strain and causes too much stress and hurt, finding a safe nursing home for your loved one could be helpful for everyone.