Deciding whether a care home is the right choice for your loved one can be a daunting decision, we ask bloggers and experts for their advice.
Deciding when to put a loved one into care can be daunting, and how do you know if you are making the right choice? There are hundreds of factors that need to be considered when you think about placing a loved one or a relative in full-time care like applying for continuing care funding to what care home you are going to choose. We asked bloggers and care experts for their guidance on the best options available to you and your elder.
Can They Care For Themselves?
One of the first signs that a care environment could be the next best step for your family member or friend is when they struggle caring for themselves. As we get older, we can struggle more and more with mobility, strength and the ability to do day-to-day jobs. Tasks like cooking, cleaning and washing can be difficult and start to become few and far between.
A recent illness, the passing of a companion and loneliness can all be factors for deterioration and it is important to keep a close eye to spot the tell-tale signs that it may be time for help. We spoke to Frankie who blogs at The Journey to Wellbeing but also works with people of all ages on a day to day basis and knows how to spot signs that a care home may be the best option: “It can be difficult seeing a loved one that’s struggling to cope at home, especially if you don’t know where to turn for help. As overwhelming as it may feel, try not to worry, you’re not alone. There are a number of services that can offer advice.”
She went on to explain that many people feel daunted by the decision but should never feel alone: “Accepting that the next step may be a care home can be daunting but your loved one will now receive the care they need. Rest assured you have cared enough to seek help and recognised your family member has reached a point where they require a higher level of support. You may wish to visit the care home to get to know more. You can request information and also speak to staff, residents and families. The most recent inspection report should also be available within the home or online. As your loved one settles into the care home, you will have the opportunity to continue your role as a family member and spend enjoyable, quality time together.”
Do They Have Companionship?
The loss of a partner or a close friend can leave elderly people feeling lonely and isolated. Without everyday visits from family, it may be weeks before they see another reassuring face and loneliness is one of the biggest contributing factors to unhappiness and a drop in general health in the over 60s.
A care environment will not only provide a safe place to rest but will also supply elderly patients with companionship, friendship and a place to interact, smile and most importantly laugh. It can be a tough decision to take them away from their home, belongings and normality, but once they are settled in their new environment, it’ll be difficult to understand why you didn’t make the choice sooner.
Would They Benefit Fom 24/7 Medical Care?
Independent care can become tricky when a loved one develops an illness or injury that needs round the clock care. We spoke to Zoe, an assistant psychologist, who also blogs at Miss Mental Health, she explained how permanent health care can be a huge benefit to those in care:
“When considering a care provider it’s important to remember that you know your loved one best and although it can be nerve-wracking, be reassured that the decisions you are making are guided by the best intentions. In my experience, the best care settings are those which actively support independence for its residents.
“Although someone may have additional care needs, it’s important that their skills are maintained as much as possible. This can mean a decline in functioning but also maintain self-esteem and a sense of purpose which is vital to good physical and mental health. Settings that provide ‘just enough’ support whilst being compassionate and caring are ideal. Look at how staff communicate with residents and whether they are doing for people or supporting people to do. It’s a subtle contrast but one that can make the world of difference.”
Find The Right Guidance
If you are unsure about the decision you need to make or are unsure about any of the facts you may have heard about care homes, it is important to find the right guidance to ensure you make the right decision. We spoke to the team at Elder who recommended finding the right team to help your process.
“The first thing to do is find an agency who are experts in their field, trying to juggle finding the right carer, as well as Local Authority Needs and Financial Assessments, can be very daunting. So make sure you are comfortable that the agency you use can advise and signpost you to make sure you are able to navigate the system as smoothly and rapidly as possible.
“Also, look for a care agency who genuinely cares, not just for the needs of the person who will be receiving the care, but also about the needs of the family. Don’t be afraid to look into non-traditional care models, care homes often aren’t the only or best option available.
“When making important decisions, we usually want to feel supported and guided through the process by a professional.” Says Rebecca from Elder.
Finding the right guidance can make or break your decision or the care home you choose to use, so contacting an agency like ourselves who are experts in NHS continuing care and funded nursing care to help make the process a little easier. Contact a variety of care homes and examine the sort of guidance and help they give you; this can be a great indication of the sort of home you want to choose.
As we have discussed in this article, making a decision about placing someone into care can become very daunting, but with the right guidance and advice, the process can be eased. Trusting intuition and knowing your loved one needs help is the first step to take.
Author: Tim Davies LLB