The decision to move someone into a care home is ideally made through a team effort, with the team consisting of the person who needs more care, their family members and caregivers and perhaps a doctor or other medical adviser. This decision may be a difficult one, and it should always be handled with love, respect for the person’s preferences and an eye to the person’s needs.

Creating the Team

When you notice that a loved one is struggling to handle personal care activities and household chores, and you wonder if your loved one is safe at home, the time has come to discuss the transition into a care home. You may meet with some significant resistance initially. Many people don’t like the idea of giving up their independence or admitting they need help. That’s why you should create a team to make this important decision.

The most important member of that team is the person who must make the transition. Listen carefully to your loved one’s preferences and concerns, and treat your loved one with the utmost respect and empathy. Try to see the situation from that person’s point of view. However, your loved one may not be fully objective about the situation, so family members and caregivers also need to be part of the decision-making team. The team provides a broader perspective of the issues involved. Finally, don’t hesitate to include a doctor or other medical professional in the team, especially if your loved one is resistant. Sometimes a doctor’s authority is enough to convince a person that a change is necessary.

Approaching the Decision

Approach the decision to move someone into a care home with tact and consideration. You might start by gently bringing up some of the difficulties you’ve noticed. Perhaps your loved one can no longer keep the house clean or is struggling with personal hygiene. Don’t be offensive, but explain what you’re seeing and why you’re concerned. Emphasize your loved one’s safety and happiness, and ask if they’ve been experiencing frustration.

As a next step, you could focus on the advantages of a care home. Talk about the amenities provided, the opportunities for socialization and activities and the possibility of getting help in difficult areas. Listen to what your loved one has to say in response. Acknowledge reasonable objections and concerns, and admit that the transition might not be easy. Continue the conversation over time, and include other team members. Hopefully, your loved one will recognize the need for more care and consent to move. If your loved one truly isn’t safe at home and refuses to move, you may have to turn to the social services system for help. Talk to an elder care lawyer for guidance.