Moving a loved one into a nursing home is a tough decision. 

Even when it’s clear an aged care facility is the only way forward, it’s natural to experience guilt, anxiety, or remorse. After all, your loved one may feel less independent—perhaps even burdensome —which could strain your relationship.   

But allowing your loved one to remain at home could mean they’ll miss out on the care they need.

It’s fair to say nobody wants to move into a nursing home. But oftentimes, it’s a necessary step. This post covers eight signs that suggest moving into a nursing home is the right choice for you and your loved one. 

Worsening chronic conditions

A chronic health condition is the primary driver behind aged care home admissions. While some conditions can be managed at home, many require round-the-clock care. Dementia and stroke are the two most common reasons for admission, though conditions like Alzheimer’s, heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis can be tricky to manage without specialist medical care. 

If your loved one has a chronic medical condition affecting their independence and quality of life, it might be time to look into an aged care home. Most conditions worsen with age, so it’s wise to consider what’s best in the long run rather than right now. 

Missed medication

Whether intentional or inadvertent, missed medication can have severe consequences. Skipping your pills can cause dizziness, confusion, complications, and falls, all of which could land you in hospital. 

A combination of pill organisers, alarms, and smartphone apps can help when it’s a simple case of age-related forgetfulness. Intentional non-adherence, on the other hand, is challenging as you’ll need to address the root cause. In either case, persistent missed medication is a serious health concern and a clear indication a more comprehensive level of care is required. 

Elevated fall risk

As we grow older, our muscles weaken, our eyesight diminishes, and our coordination wavers. These natural age-related changes enhance the risk of a fall, which can have devastating consequences on a frail old body. Falls can even be deadly—5000 Australians die from falls each year, 95% of whom are over 65. 

A one-off slip isn’t a sure-fire indication your loved one needs to live in an aged care facility. On the contrary, there are numerous ways you can help your loved one reduce the risk at home. But if falls continue to present a considerable ongoing risk, they’ll be much safer in a nursing home. 

Reduced mobility

We all become less mobile as we age. But at what point does our diminished agility warrant live-in care? If your loved one has difficulty driving or performing everyday household chores, you might be able to pick up the slack yourself or arrange help through a Home Care Package. Reliance on a cane, walking frame, or wheelchair doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time to move into an aged care home. 

But when your loved one struggles to make it to the bathroom on time or can’t cook and eat for themselves, their quality of life suffers tremendously. A nursing home offers assistance with all these tasks to provide some much-needed relief. 

An unkempt home

Have a stickybeak around your loved one’s home to gauge its cleanliness and overall condition, then compare that to how it looked before the onset of old age. If their formerly spotless home has fallen into disrepair, they’re struggling to keep up with the essential maintenance tasks.  

Chores like washing the dishes or mowing the lawn become increasingly difficult as we age. Again, a Government-funded Home Care Package or an out-of-pocket cleaner/handyperson can help. However, an aged care home might be best if these alternatives are too expensive or don’t offer enough support. 

Poor hygiene

While a messy, unkempt home is a worry, poor personal hygiene is a far greater concern. Ask your loved one how often they bathe and brush their teeth, and keep tabs on their appearance and smell. If they wear adult diapers, find out whether they’re changing them frequently enough (as embarrassing as that may be). 

When an older person struggles to maintain an acceptable level of personal hygiene, it’s a solid indication they need a higher degree of care. 

Increased isolation

Some people worry their loved ones will feel lonely in a nursing home. But in many situations, the opposite is true. Aged care facilities have a broad range of social activities so residents can foster new friendships and mingle. 

Is your loved one starting to neglect their favourite social events like lawn bowls or bridge? Reduced mobility or other age-related issues are almost certainly to blame. A nursing home lets an older person remain social when it might otherwise prove too difficult. 

Caregiver burnout

While it’s natural to put the needs of your loved one first, you must also consider what’s right for you. An action-packed work schedule or a demanding family of your own could mean you don’t have time to provide adequate care. 

If looking after your loved one leaves you physically and emotionally drained, you’re starting to experience caregiver burnout. A third-party live-in carer often isn’t cost-effective, so an aged care home is usually the best bet. There’s no need to feel selfish. Your loved one deserves someone with the time and qualifications to provide adequate old-age care.

CareAbout can help you with the move into a nursing home

It’s no easy feat to identify the exact moment you should move your loved one into a nursing home. But by keeping an eye out for these eight signs, you can effectively monitor their care-related needs. 

Be proactive with your decision-making. The last thing you want is to frantically hunt for an aged care home when in crisis mode—i.e., a lapsed lease, unexpected hospitalisation, or sudden stroke.At CareAbout, we work with thousands of families to find them the care they need. Speak to one of our team members for a free consultation.