For some individuals and their families, care decisions are often triggered by a crisis. Elderly parents may have a fall or illness that leads to a period in hospital. During this time, it is clear that they will not be able to return to their own homes. It can be a highly emotional time but at least there is likely to be support from the hospital so the way forward seems clearer.
However, it doesn’t always occur like this. If parents live independently in their own homes, it could be that you notice a gradual decline in their ability to do this. In this situation, it can be very difficult to decide when to consider a move to a care home or sheltered accommodation.
There are certain signs to look out for. Keep a close eye on your elderly relative’s pattern of eating – are you finding untouched food or food stocks that are not going down as expected?
Elderly parents often have chronic conditions and depend on drugs. Keep track of how they deal with their medication, write reminders for them to pick it up and aim to find ways to help them to remember to take it. Should it be noticed that medication is often missed or wrongly taken, this is a strong indication that additional support is required. For Care homes in Somerset, visit a site like https://www.notarohomes.co.uk/
Any episodes of confusion, upset and disorientation must be noted and monitored due to the increased risk to personal safety. Typical problems could be parents going out at the most unexpected times, probably in the late evening or irregular behaviour.
When feeling concerned, it’s best to get a professional opinion. In the UK, people with concerns about an elderly relative are entitled to ask for a Care Needs Assessment. The local authority do this for you, whether your relative will need funding or be self-funding. The assessment is conducted by a social worker.
Sometimes, people do not agree with the view of the needs assessment and of course, the care needs for elderly people care can change over time. If you feel your family’s needs have changed, you are entitled to ask another assessment and there is no set amount of time that needs to pass between assessments. With increasing pressure on social service resources, there can be a wait for the assessment though, so if you feel your relative might need one, or a further assessment is required because their needs have changed, it is better to apply sooner rather than later.
Of course, considering a move to a nursing home comes with complex emotions and often difficult questions. Many families put off the decision, particularly if they are worried about major financial issues. Often, the parents themselves are strongly against measures to move them to a nursing home or would prefer to move to a relative’s home. It is better to resolve this issue quickly rather than waiting until a crisis point; although that might be easier said than done.