Recognizing Your Biological Boundaries: 8 Signs It’s Time to Seek Out a Nursing Home


No one looks forward to the day they have to move into a nursing home. Many people put this off for years, hoping to stay in their own home where they are comfortable and everything is familiar. However, the time may come, and knowing the signs it is time to make this move is essential.

  1. Inability to Get Organized

If a person notices they are missing due dates on their bills, or if bills keep going past due, it may be time to visit Here, they can learn about the benefits of nursing home care. In many situations, forgetting to pay bills can be a sign of failing cognition. These changes are important to recognize and, sometimes, seniors may need to ask their family for input.

If bills are not being paid, or are being paid late, it’s a good idea to consider a new living situation. Recognizing this problem will help ensure serious financial issues don’t arise.

  1. Inability to Keep Up with Personal Hygiene

Forgetting deodorant one day or having greasier hair than normal from time to time isn’t a huge issue. However, if grooming issues occur along with other functional declines, it’s important to take note. For example, are driving, cooking, and bathing becoming more challenging? If so, it may be time to consider nursing home care.

Keep in mind that full nursing home care may not be needed right away. For some seniors, a better option is a step-down program. This offers minimal care until more care is needed. With this program, it’s possible to become familiar with the new home, routines, and the staff before full care is needed.

  1. A Noticeable Physical Decline

Aches and pains are a normal part of the aging process. However, most seniors know when their physical and mobility issues reach a point they can’t handle on their own anymore.

A complication from surgery, fall, or stroke usually sets off a chain of medical events that result in the need for long-term care. Many acute medical issues aren’t preventable. However, they are much more predictable if the person has been seeing a doctor regularly or if they get a geriatric assessment at the earliest signs of decline.

The individual’s physician, a local Alzheimer’s Association, and local aging agencies can all be helpful resources. It’s a good idea to make sure all potential nursing homes have been visited. That way, when the event happens, it’s not necessary to take the next available bed.

Recognizing Your Biological Boundaries: 8 Signs It's Time to Seek Out a Nursing Home

Regular appointments with a doctor and self-care should begin early in a person’s life. There’s a study that shows how providing self-care during the 30s, 40s, and 50s can affect the length of life, and how long an individual can live independently and healthfully.

While living longer is a good thing, having to live with prolonged chronic illness or disability isn’t. Any disability causes dependency issues, which isn’t something that most people want.

  1. There’s No Family to Help Provide Care at Home

Another sign a senior should consider long-term care is if no one can help them in their own home. If family or friends can’t step up and assume the role of caregiver, many seniors don’t have any other option other than moving into a nursing home.

There are many reasons that care may not be available. For example, family members may work or have other responsibilities. Regardless of the reason, if this is the case, it’s best to look into local nursing home arrangements.

  1. Inability to Care for the Yard or Home

Most seniors take pride in being able to stay in their homes. However, if the time arrives when they can no longer handle the interior upkeep and cleaning or the yard work, it’s time to consider another living situation.

Some signs this has become a problem include clutter, pests, high grass, and more. Sometimes, this can be because of a physical limitation, or it could indicate depression. While hiring a housekeeper or someone to handle the yard is possible, this is often a financial strain for seniors.

  1. Feelings of Isolation

If a person notices they spend more time alone, or if they no longer enjoy the activities they once did, it’s a cause for concern. Signs of depression are often subtle but may indicate possible dangers.

Depression isn’t something that will go away on its own. Moving into a nursing home can eliminate feelings of isolation and help a senior engage with others their age. This can also help to prevent severe depression.

  1. Signs of Sundowning

For some seniors, sundowning isn’t a problem they can recognize on their own. Instead, they may hear about this from family members who are around them.

This condition is an agitated behavior that becomes more pronounced as the day progresses. It’s a very common sign of dementia, too. This can take a toll on the senior and people who are with them, which is why nursing home care may be a smart alternative.

  1. Wandering

If a senior wanders frequently and they don’t know where they are, nursing home care is needed. This is dangerous behavior that will only get worse as dementia progresses.

Usually, nursing homes will have the proper safety measures in place to ensure residents remain safe even if they wander. This is a better living situation for many people.

Finding the Right Nursing Home

Remember, the most important thing a senior can do when they realize it is time for nursing home care is to find the right facility. This takes time and effort, so it is something a senior needs to consider carefully early on. It’s also a good idea to involve the senior’s family in this decision, as they can help ensure the best facility is found and used.

Being informed is the best way for an individual to know if nursing home care is needed. Use the information here for a general understanding of when this level of care is needed and when it is time to begin searching for the right location for the senior’s ongoing care needs.