Everyone experiences old age differently, and every individual and family is unique, so deciding if and when to move into a care home is very personal. However, we can keep an eye out for signs that living independently is becoming unmanageable for an individual.
We may need to start considering care options for someone if they are:
A free ‘needs assessment’ by your local authority social services department can provide answers to questions you may have about what kind of care someone requires.
It’s not unusual for elderly people to be reluctant to go into a nursing home, even if it seems clear to you that it would be better for them and for the family. They may feel embarrassed or ashamed about struggling to live independently, be upset by the thought of leaving their own home or find the prospect of spending their later years in care daunting. They may also be experiencing issues with memory and other mental faculties, which can make it hard for them to recognise their own needs.
The first step to take when your loved ones are resistant to care is to have some honest but compassionate conversations with them. It’s important to make sure they always feel that their opinions and concerns are being heard, and to avoid the risk of them feeling that their family is ‘ganging up’ on them. Acknowledge the things they are still able to do for themselves ‒ and how they can continue to do those things in a care home ‒ but also remind them of their current difficulties, and how they will only continue to deteriorate.
If you cannot persuade your loved one to go into a care home, or they no longer have the mental capacity to make a decision, there are ways to ensure they still get the care they need.
If an individual’s mental capacity means they can’t consent to entering a home, the decision can be made for them via power of attorney. A Lasting Power of Attorney is granted by an individual who is still fit to make their own decisions. It gives another person the right to make decisions on their behalf if they become unable to in the future.
If someone does not have reduced mental capacity and refuses to go into a care home, but you believe they need to, the best step to take is to arrange a social care needs assessment. Local authority social services are duty-bound to honestly assess the situation, to outline care requirements and to ensure they are implemented, even if they are resistant.
In some situations, social services can require that someone receive care without their and their family’s consent. They can do this if the needs identified by social care needs assessment are not being met at home, if they could endanger other members of their household, or they no longer have the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves. However, they are obligated to ensure that this is in the person’s best interest, give them a genuine choice of where to live, and to consider alternative care plans with the same results.
Legal provision for situations where someone needs to be taken care of against their will is found in the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards. These apply to situations when it is necessary to restrict a person’s liberty when they aren’t able to consent to care which is essential for their own safety, and can apply to individuals with conditions like dementia.
In order to avoid decisions being taken out of you and your vulnerable loved one’s hands, you can take pre-emptive measures to raise the level of care they are receiving at home. And, if social services do reject any alternative and insist on a care home, you are still entitled to choose which one.
Whether your loved one is moving into a care home voluntarily or not, their comfort and wellbeing are always the priority. It’s vital to select a home which can cater to their individual needs and provide outstanding care and quality of life.
At Fonthill, our award-winning holistic support is tailored to each resident. Our skilled staff can manage a huge range of complex needs, and we’re committed to creating a supportive, stimulating environment. Amazing activities, delicious dietitian-approved meals, and constant mental and emotional support can help alleviate the worries your loved one may have about going into a long term care home. At Fonthill, we are always ready to provide the compassionate care and understanding you and your loved one deserve.
We’d love to hear from you. If you are looking for a residential care home for a loved one and would like more information then please call us on 01727 532001 or simply fill out our online form and a member of our friendly team will get back to you as soon as possible.