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When is the right time to think about live-in care?
It can be difficult to know when it’s the right time to start talking to a loved-one about implementing or increasing a care service. Having lived independently for many years, it’s tough to face the fact that a little extra help from a trained professional could now be beneficial. However, taking a proactive approach to care and support can mean avoiding a crisis, and actually enabling the person to live a more independent life at home, for longer.
Any one, or even a combination, of the following factors can often be the catalyst for people to think again about adopting a live-in care strategy:
- Illness: A worsening medical condition can demand that a person changes their lifestyle to accommodate treatment, or cause them to lose confidence in their abilities to go about their routine as usual. Cognitive conditions such as dementia can disrupt a person’s usual thought patterns, resulting in them becoming socially isolated and carrying out actions that they might not have previously.
- Mobility: Usually caused by illness, a decrease in a person’s mobility can result in them becoming cut-off in their own homes. Eventually, what once appeared to be a safe and familiar home environment might seem more hazardous, with things like high shelves and loose rugs becoming a daily challenge.
- Bereavement: A bereaved partner will often take time to adjust to a new routine, learning to fill in the blanks that their spouse once did. The grieving process can lead to depression, which has been shown to increase the risk to a person’s overall health and might well cut them off from their support network.
By spotting the warning signs early and putting the right live-in care support in place, your loved-one can be helped to stay safely and independently in their own home.
How to spot the signs that it’s time to talk about live-in care
All of the usual signs can be caused by either physical or cognitive difficulties. However, the two are often inter-linked, so a combination of contributing factors is likely.
These are some of the most common signs that it’s time to talk to your loved-one about the possibility of live-in care:
A noticeable increase in the number of accidents around the home – such as falls or the dropping of objects – often signifies that a person is experiencing physical and/or cognitive difficulty with their usual routine.
The changing of regular eating patterns can indicate a wide range of health considerations, from the impairment of mobility to conditions such as loneliness and depression. You might notice a fluctuation in the person’s weight, or a build-up/lack of food in the house.
It may be that the person is no longer physically able to maintain personal hygiene, or that a condition such as depression has suppressed their drive to do so. You might notice that a person is no longer washing themselves or their clothes. They may have stopped shaving, applying makeup or even treating cuts and bruises.
People are creatures of habit and can form strong bonds with friends and acquaintances throughout the community. If a person changes their usual routine and become limited to the immediate locality (or, even the home), it could mean that they’re struggling with mobility or a cognitive memory-related condition such as Alzheimer’s.
With complex medical names, changing dosages and irregular timings, taking the right medications can be a difficult process. Watch out for tablets that haven’t been taken, out of date medicines still in circulation and anomalous test results as indicators that a person is not properly administering their prescriptions.
This might take the form of jobs left un-done and a build of dust, dirt and stains (especially in hard-to-reach places), or a general increase in clutter; leaving furniture askew, piling up objects or papers tables, leaving letters un-opened or allowing piles of washing to build up.
By spotting the warning signs early and talking openly with your loved-one, you can help to pre-empt a more serious care requirement and give them the independence to stay with dignity in their own home. It’s important not to wait for a crisis – getting a sustainable care package in early can ensure that people who need care actually remain more independent for longer. The longer it’s left, the harder it can be to introduce the idea. Acting at the earliest stage and calling on a highly-trained live-in care team has been shown to reduce hospital readmissions, and slow the progression of many conditions – especially those related to depression, loneliness and falls around the home.
Find out how The Good Care Group can support you and your loved one throughout care consultation and eventual implementation.