Despite many seniors being interested in staying in their own home for a long as possible, there comes a time when many of them simply cannot handle it any longer. Even with the help of senior companion care checking in on them every day, at some point it simply isn’t feasible to stay in the home.
While we’re big fans of helping seniors retain their independence as much as possible with traditional elder care services, we admit that time often passes faster than either the senior themselves or their adult child. This means that it might be time to move on to an assisted living facility or nursing home. Here are some times when it might be time to move beyond elderly companion care.
Sometimes the need for occasional care to help around the home becomes a need for medical care. A senior who needs basic care one day might require much more the next as they return from the hospital. Instead (or in addition to) elder care services, they might require short-term in-home medical care from a nurse. This would include at-home chemotherapy treatments, wound care, injections and lab draws, diabetes care, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation, orthopedic rehabilitation, physical rehab, and many other nurse-centric treatments
This care is usually short term, and after such treatments the client might go back to simply need elder care services. That’s usually the best-case scenario for everyone involved.
One of the primary signs that it’s time to move to assisted living is how likely it is that the senior will suffer from a dangerous fall soon. Falls are more likely to happen for many reasons: medications that cause dizziness, muscles become weaker as we age, poor balance and the ability to recover it quickly, failing vision, and sudden drops in blood pressure can all lead to dangerous falls.
Sometimes it’s the house itself — the very reason that the senior wants to stay — that can cause the fall issues. Door jams can trip them up, and a senior may be reluctant to start using a wheelchair because of the width of the doors, or they might fear steps and stairs in the house. If this is the case, it might be time to move.
There are many different types of dementia, and each one has stages. It might simply start with “senior moments,” where the senior isn’t able to remember a past event. As it progresses the senior might forget the names of those around them. Other symptoms might include wandering and sundowning (increased sadness, confusion, and/or aggression as the day progresses).
At the early stages of something like Alzheimer’s or Lewy bodies, a person may very well be able to care for themselves with a little help from elderly companion care. As it progresses, they might need more and more care, until eventually they become a danger to themselves. They could leave the house and end up not knowing where they are, or they could leave the stove on and start a fire. When their safety becomes an issue, it’s probably time to consider a nursing home.
Our companion care service for seniors is offered to help those who are elderly with the basic tasks around their home — laundry, meal preparation, making the bed, getting the mail, etc — as well as to provide them with companionship. But it’s not meant to be 24-hour-a-day care, and the senior should still be able to accomplish basic tasks such as using the restroom and bathing themselves. Once they are unable to perform such tasks, whether because of physical or mental limitation, it could be time to head to a nursing home.
Feeding is another big part of taking care of oneself. While we’re more than happy to provide meal preparation as part of our elderly companion care, our clients should still be able to feed themselves.
The Doctor or Caregiver Might Say So
Because of a combination of the above problems, there will come a time when it’s best to accept advice from outside the family. For instance, a doctor might see that advancing dementia means that a senior is no longer able to care for themselves. Our caregivers might notice the same thing as patients become more aggressive or abusive, or if they come back the next day and notice meals going untouched.
Trust us, we know that making the nursing home decision with (or for) your elderly relative can be incredibly difficult. We deal with such situations every day, and we want to work with you to help you decide what’s best for your relative. It might mean that they can still do well with typical elder care services for a while, or it could mean that it’s time for them to move to assisted living immediately.
If you have any questions, we’re ready to help. Contact Specialized Nursing Services when you need help.