When Should I Seek Out a Nursing Home?
Knowing when to seek out a nursing home can be an extremely difficult decision. Whether you find yourself with rapidly declining health or you are a concerned family member looking out for the wellbeing of a loved one, it is important to identify some key components which will help you to determine if nursing home care is the next logical step.
Fortunately, we now live in a time with abundant healthcare options that can prolong one's life and independence. As long as an individual is able to safely live in his or her home, this is generally preferred. When the tasks of everyday living become too difficult to carry out, the first step is often to seek out some form of in-home assistance. Whether that's a friend stopping by to help with dispensing medications, having Meals On Wheels deliver food, or having a home health aide coming by to check blood pressure, these types of in-home care can delay the need for longterm nursing home care. However, nursing home care can be the next step if any of the following are occurring:
1. An individual is repeatedly falling.
According to the National Council on Aging, falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for older Americans. Declining strength and/or vision can result in an increased fall risk. The fear of falling can further isolate a person, leading to increased physical decline and depression. Although a nursing home cannot prevent all falls, a person can benefit from having a nursing home staff implement preventative measures and being present to assist when falls do occur.
2. Cognitive Impairment is Interfering with Daily Life
It is normal for mental functions to decline in one's later years. However, when that cognitive decline advances from simple forgetfulness to a level that is endangering an individual's life, it might be time to consider nursing home care. Dementia and Alzheimer's can leave a person vulnerable to wandering away from home, forgetting to take medications, or neglecting personal hygiene. A nursing home staff can greatly improve the quality of life of an individual suffering from cognitive decline by ensuring that the individual stays safe and adheres to a healthy way of life.
3. They need more care than you can provide
Oftentimes, the person who is in need of care is being watched after by a family member or by a spouse. This can become an exceedingly trying situation when the level of care required escalates to a point that exceeds what the caregiver is able to do. Whether it's due to physical limitations of no longer being able to lift the person or personal limitations of not having time to care for a loved one while maintaining other work/family responsibilities, a caregiver may find that placement in a nursing home is in the best interest of all parties.
If you find that you or your loved one meet the criteria of needing a nursing home, or you would like the opinion of a healthcare professional, the staff of the Wilson Nursing Center would be happy to visit with you to talk about next steps. Give us a call at (580) 668-2337.