Knowing the Signs: Considerations for Moving Parents to Care Homes

It's important to recognize the signs that might suggest it is time to consider such a move. In this blog post, I'll share my personal experiences in dealing with this issue and provide...

Zions Home

6/1/202210 min read

a woman in a wheelchair is talking to a man in a wheelchair
a woman in a wheelchair is talking to a man in a wheelchair

As our parents age, it can be difficult to know when it’s time to consider a care home for them. Making the decision to move aging parents into a care home is never an easy one. It's important to recognize the signs that might suggest it is time to consider such a move. In this blog post, I'll share my personal experiences in dealing with this issue and provide some helpful advice to those who may be struggling with the same dilemma.

When Aging Parents Need Extra Support

As our parents grow older, they may need more support than they did in their younger years. Some of us are fortunate enough to be able to provide that support ourselves, but for many, it becomes necessary to consider moving our parents into a care home. If you are worried about your parents' wellbeing and wondering whether it might be time to start exploring care home options, there are several signs you should be aware of.

First, pay attention to any physical limitations your parents may be experiencing. Are they struggling to get around the house or do basic tasks like bathing and dressing? Do they have difficulty getting up and down stairs or getting in and out of a bathtub or shower? These could be signs that they need extra help and support.

Secondly, keep an eye out for changes in your parents' emotional and mental health. Are they becoming increasingly isolated or withdrawing from social activities they once enjoyed? Are they experiencing depression, anxiety or other mental health issues? If so, they may benefit from the increased social and emotional support that care homes can provide.

Another thing to consider is your parents' medical needs. Do they require regular medication or treatment that is difficult to manage at home? Are they at risk of falls or other accidents? Care homes are staffed by trained professionals who can help manage medical needs and keep your loved ones safe.

Finally, take a look at your own capacity to provide support. Do you live far away from your parents or have other caregiving responsibilities that make it difficult to provide the level of care they need? Care homes can provide the peace of mind of knowing your loved ones are getting the support they need, even if you can't be there as much as you'd like.

While it can be difficult to come to terms with the fact that our parents may need to move into a care home, it's important to prioritize their health and wellbeing. By being aware of the signs that they need extra support and exploring care home options, you can make an informed decision that will ensure they are well-cared for in their later years.

Red Flags to Watch for

As our parents age, it's important to be on the lookout for red flags that indicate they may need additional care. It can be difficult to acknowledge that our parents need more help than we can provide, but it's essential to recognize the signs early on so that we can help them get the support they need.

Some red flags to watch for include:

1. Decreased mobility: If your parents are having difficulty getting around or have had a fall, it may be time to consider a care home.

2. Poor hygiene: If your parents are no longer able to maintain good personal hygiene, this could be a sign that they need assistance with daily living tasks.

3. Forgetfulness and confusion: If your parents are forgetting things or seem confused, it could be a sign of dementia or other cognitive decline.

4. Unexplained weight loss: If your parents are losing weight without explanation, it may be a sign that they're not eating enough or are having trouble cooking for themselves.

5. Depression or isolation: If your parents seem withdrawn or depressed, it's important to find out why. Social isolation is a major concern for aging adults and can lead to other health problems.

If you notice any of these red flags, it's important to discuss them with your parents and consider the options for additional care and support. Remember, you're not alone in this process, and there are many resources available to help you and your parents navigate this new chapter in their lives.

Health Conditions and Medical Needs

One of the primary reasons why you may want to consider moving your aging parents to a care home is because of their health conditions and medical needs. As your parents age, they may become more susceptible to various illnesses and health issues, which could make it challenging for them to care for themselves at home.

If your aging parents have medical conditions that require regular monitoring and medical care, such as diabetes or heart disease, moving them to a care home may be the best option. Care homes have trained medical professionals who can provide the necessary medical care and support, ensuring that your parents receive the right care at the right time.

Additionally, care homes can also offer assistance with daily living activities, such as bathing, dressing, and medication management, which can be a relief for you and your aging parents.

If your parents are currently receiving medical care at home, it's essential to assess if they are receiving the appropriate care and support they need. Are they regularly taking their medication, attending appointments with doctors and specialists, and receiving regular check-ups?

If you notice that your parents are struggling to manage their medical conditions or their health is declining, it's crucial to discuss their care needs with a professional caregiver or a doctor. They can help you assess your parent's current health status and determine if a care home would be a better option for them.

Emotional and Mental Changes

It's common for aging parents to experience emotional and mental changes as they grow older. However, there are certain changes that could indicate it's time to consider moving them to a care home.

One common emotional change that may occur is depression. If your parent has lost interest in activities they used to enjoy, or seem to be feeling more sad than usual, it could be a sign of depression. While this doesn't necessarily mean they need to move to a care home, it's important to seek professional help to address their mental health needs.

Another emotional change to watch for is anxiety. Your parent may start to feel anxious about their ability to care for themselves or their safety. This can lead to a fear of leaving the house, which can further isolate them from family and friends.

In addition to emotional changes, there may also be mental changes that indicate a need for more support. For example, your parent may start to experience memory loss or confusion. This can make it difficult for them to perform daily tasks and increase their risk of accidents or falls.

If you notice any of these emotional or mental changes in your aging parents, it's important to discuss their care options with them and their healthcare providers. While a care home may not be the best fit for everyone, it can provide the necessary support for those who require it. It's important to prioritize your parent's safety and well-being, even if that means making difficult decisions about their care.

Family and Social Support

Another crucial factor to consider when it comes to moving aging parents to a care home is their social and family support network. Are they currently living alone or far away from loved ones? Is their community able to provide them with the necessary social interaction and support they need?

One of the benefits of moving your aging parents to a care home is that they will have access to a social network of peers and caregivers who can offer companionship and emotional support. They can participate in group activities and programs, which can provide a sense of community and belonging. This can be especially important for seniors who live alone and feel isolated.

However, it's also important to consider the impact that moving to a care home may have on your parents' relationships with family members. If they have close relationships with their children and grandchildren, it's essential to ensure that those connections can be maintained even after they move to a care home. This may mean arranging regular visits or ensuring that there are opportunities for family events and outings.

When it comes to family and social support, it's essential to have open and honest communication with your aging parents about their needs and preferences. Some may prefer to move closer to family members, while others may prefer to stay in their current community and maintain their social connections. It's important to listen to their wishes and respect their choices.

When my own grandmother started showing signs of dementia, it became clear that she could no longer live on her own. My mother was her primary caregiver, but the demands of caring for an aging parent were taking a toll on her health and wellbeing.

We ultimately made the decision to move my grandmother to a care home, where she would have access to 24/7 care and support. While it was difficult at first, we quickly saw the benefits of having her in a community of peers and caregivers. She was able to participate in activities and programs, which helped to keep her engaged and stimulated.

The care home also offered opportunities for family visits and events, which allowed us to maintain our connection with my grandmother. While the decision to move her to a care home was not easy, it ultimately proved to be the best option for everyone involved.

Options for Care Homes

If you've determined that a care home is the best option for your aging parents, it's important to consider the various types of care homes available. Here are some options to explore:

Assisted Living: Assisted living facilities are designed for seniors who need help with some daily tasks but can still live independently. These facilities typically offer services such as meals, housekeeping, medication management, and transportation.

Nursing Homes: Nursing homes provide a higher level of care for seniors who have more complex medical needs. These facilities typically have 24-hour medical staff and provide medical care, rehabilitation services, and assistance with daily activities.

Memory Care: Memory care facilities are specialized care homes for seniors with Alzheimer's disease, dementia, or other memory impairments. These facilities have staff trained to provide specialized care and activities for residents.

Residential Care Homes: Residential care homes, also known as group homes, offer a more home-like environment for seniors who require assistance with daily activities and need more attention than can be provided in an assisted living facility. These homes typically have fewer residents than other care homes.

It's important to visit several care homes and ask questions about their services, staff, and costs before making a decision. Talk to other residents and their families to get a sense of the care home's atmosphere and quality of care.

Remember that finding the right care home is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Your parents' needs and preferences should be the top priority when selecting a care home.

Making the Decision to Move

Moving your aging parents to a care home is a significant decision that can come with a range of emotions. You may feel guilty, sad, or even relieved that your parents will be receiving the care they need. However, it's crucial to assess your parents' needs and evaluate their safety and well-being. Here are some essential factors to consider when making the decision to move your aging parents to a care home:

1. Discuss Your Parents' Needs: Speak with your parents about their daily routine, physical health, mental state, and what type of care they require. Listen to their needs and concerns and let them know you're considering all of their options.

2. Visit Several Care Homes: Touring care homes will give you a better understanding of the types of facilities and services available. Make sure to research online, ask for referrals from friends and family, and call each facility to ask for specific details and information.

3. Consider the Costs: Care homes can be costly, and it's essential to factor in the costs when making your decision. Check with your parents' insurance providers, government funding, and other sources that can help with the financial burden.

4. Evaluate the Quality of Care: When touring care homes, observe how the staff interacts with residents and evaluate the overall cleanliness of the facility. Talk to current residents or their families to get a sense of how satisfied they are with the care they're receiving.

5. Trust Your Instincts: Moving your parents to a care home is a personal decision that can only be made by you and your family. Trust your instincts and go with a facility that you feel most comfortable with.

Caring for Aging Parents in a Care Home

Moving your parents to a care home can be a difficult decision to make, but it may be the best option for their well-being. Once you have chosen the right care home for them, you may wonder how you can support them during this new phase of their lives.

It's important to remember that your role as a caregiver does not stop when your parents move into a care home. You can still be involved in their daily life and provide emotional support. Here are some ways to care for your aging parents in a care home:

1. Visit them regularly: Make sure to visit your parents regularly and spend quality time with them. Bring photos or a favorite book to read together.

2. Stay in touch: Call or video chat with your parents regularly. This will help you stay connected and make them feel less lonely.

3. Be an advocate: Attend care meetings with the staff and make sure your parents' needs are being met. Advocate for them if you feel they are not receiving the appropriate care.

4. Take care of their finances: Make sure bills are paid and financial arrangements are taken care of. This can be a stressful aspect of aging, so taking care of it can give your parents peace of mind.

5. Celebrate special occasions: Bring special treats or decorations to celebrate holidays, birthdays, or anniversaries. This will help your parents feel connected to their family traditions.

6. Listen to them: Your parents may need someone to talk to about their concerns or fears. Listen to them without judgment and offer emotional support.

7. Provide small comforts: Bring them their favorite snacks, blankets, or pillows to make their space feel more like home.

Remember, moving your parents to a care home is a big adjustment for everyone. It's important to communicate openly and often with your parents and the care home staff. Together, you can create a supportive and caring environment that ensures your parents' well-being and quality of life.