Deciding that it’s time for your loved one to go to a long-term care facility is never easy. It signals a loss of independence for your senior parent or grandparent and a role reversal for you. This reminder of one’s mortality can also trigger a lot of emotions.
There’s no one sign that it’s time to think about long-term care. However, as many facilities have waitlists, it’s best to plan ahead. Here are some signs that it’s time to choose a care facility for your loved one.
Your Loved One Is at Risk
As we age, it’s normal for a few things to slip. You may forget where you put your keys or to turn off the lights before leaving the house. However, when those little slips put your loved one in potentially dangerous situations, it’s time to consider long-term care.
For example, if your parent starts forgetting that they’ve put things in the oven or starts to wander, they may require long-term care. According to Auxiliary House Memory Care Home in Bethesda, MD, these are two common signs of a cognitive issue and require specialized attention.
Your Loved One Gets Injured
Another sign that it’s time to find a long-term care option for your loved one is if they get injured. A fall or surgery tends to affect seniors more than a younger person. As a result, they may develop limited mobility or put themselves at risk for further injuries.
Seniors take longer to heal from an injury, which often leads to longer-term care and assistance needs. If you’re unable to offer this support at home, it’s time to look for an alternate option.
Daily Tasks Become Difficult
Another sign that it’s time to look into long-term care is when daily activities and tasks become too difficult. There are solutions available for certain tasks and chores. For example, you can hire someone to mow the lawn and shovel the walkway. However, when tasks like preparing food and maintaining hygiene become too difficult to complete independently, you’ll need a longer-term solution.
While it’s wise to start looking at long-term care at this point, you can also investigate in-home care visits in the interim. Having someone come in to assist with food preparation for the week or bathing can keep your loved one at home for longer.
You’re Experiencing Caregiver Burnout
Sometimes it’s not about what your loved one can handle; it’s about what you can handle as a caregiver. Many caregivers for elderly parents are juggling their duties with work, family, and other responsibilities. Caregiver burnout is a very real issue that doesn’t get discussed enough.
If you’re feeling burnt out from your responsibilities and it’s starting to impact your finances, health, and mental well-being, there’s no shame in looking for help. There may be a feeling of guilt (sometimes perpetrated by other family members) in looking for long-term care instead. It’s important to give yourself some grace and understand your boundaries.
You Measure the Cost vs. Benefit
Investing in long-term care is costly. Unfortunately, the cost is often a significant barrier for families interested in getting long-term care for their aging loved one. At some point, however, the opportunity cost of keeping a loved one at home may outweigh the financial cost of sending them to long-term care.
For example, if acting as the primary caregiver limits your income earnings, it could become more affordable to pay for a care facility. Additionally, if you’re paying for various services to maintain a home, have a caregiver come in, and stay on top of your loved one’s bills, it’s time to weigh the costs.
Regardless of your situation, there’s no shame in looking into long-term care. Start researching options sooner rather than later to find something suitable and accessible for your loved one.