It may not always be obvious when a family member needs long-term health care. If you live a distance from your parent, the signs of mental and physical decline can be even more difficult to detect.
Be aware of these symptoms that indicate that a loved one may need extensive live-in or nursing home care.
Loss of self-care abilities
You might note that your family member struggles with hygiene and other activities of daily living. He or she may rarely shower or wear dirty, mismatched or inappropriate clothing (a thick sweater in the summer, for example). Unexplained weight loss can indicate that a person can no longer shop for food or prepare meals independently.
Older adults who begin to experience memory decline and confusion may avoid friends and loved ones. If social situations become challenging or potentially embarrassing, they may stay home more often. Often, dementia and other chronic health problems cause depression, which can also result in isolation. Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia represent one of the most common reasons that adults need long-term nursing care.
Complex medical needs
Many seniors have at least one chronic health condition and take multiple medications. Your loved one may need long-term care if he or she fails to attend doctor appointments, take medication as prescribed or use medical equipment as directed. Some older adults enter long-term care when they need extensive treatment such as dialysis or oxygen.
Planning ahead for long-term care can help make this situation easier for your family. While some older adults develop health problems gradually, others need care right away after a fall, injury or severe illness.