Most elderly prefer to stay in their own homes, especially since the thought to move into a skilled care situation is often associated in their minds with end-of-life care. For many elderly, the move to a nursing home is a better option than remaining in their home for many reasons.

An elder is housebound.

If your elderly loved one is no longer getting around on her own, fulfilling such tasks as buying groceries, seeing the doctor, or visiting friends, it’s possible that her season of independence is coming to a close. Don’t hesitate to evaluate the situation because it is ultimately about the safety of your loved one.

Living at home is no longer safe for the elder.

While a younger person has no difficulty with the basics of maintaining a home, it becomes a different story for the elderly. At the point that stairs become a burden, cleaning the home becomes unmanageable, and some of the outdoor tasks like snow removal become impossible, it may be time to consider moving your elder into a nursing home. As symptoms of dementia begin, home safety issues can be concerned with remembering to turn things off like toasters and coffee pots–simple things that can lead to dangerous situations.

The level of health care and assistance needed is increasing and becoming difficult to provide in the home.

Home visits can get your elder by for a period of time, but at some point he may need more assistance than someone picking up groceries and cooking a meal. When he is no longer able to bathe himself, walk to the mailbox, cook or maintain the basics of every day living, home health care visits may simply be insufficient.

An elder needs close monitoring because of declining health.

At this point, your loved ones needs attention because their health care needs are changing and becoming more of a daily concern. If your loved one is unable to take her own meds or even at the most basic level, communicate her own needs, it is time to look at the possibility of nursing home care. Declining health creates an unpredictable situation that requires more regular observational care.

The majority of people who move into nursing homes do so after an acute hospitalization. Nursing homes today are generally for people who need skilled nursing and 24-hour monitoring because their needs have changed that significantly. So even if your elder is living at home with reasonable success at this point, you may want to find out what the future needs will look like and consider your options now.