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When Is It Time To Consider Long-Term Care For A Loved One?

When Is It Time To Consider Long-Term Care For A Loved One?

By Pam Leonard

The decision to move a family member into a long-term care facility can be difficult.

Family caregivers often feel guilty when they begin considering such a move. They may feel it is their responsibility to care for their loved one at home. They may be concerned that a facility will not be able to care for their loved one properly and that the move will diminish their family member’s happiness and quality of life.

However, if you’re a caregiver, it’s important that you pay attention to the signs that it is time for a move of this type. You might be physically unable to provide care for your loved one due to your own health limitations. You may not be able to meet the financial demands of caring for your loved one at home. You may realize that your loved one’s behavior has evolved past the point that you can keep them safe, or that your loved one needs rehabilitation or specialized care that can only be provided in a medical setting.

As a caregiver, you should also consider the emotional toll that caregiving has taken on you or other members of your household. When caregiving becomes too stressful, quality of life diminishes for everyone, including the person being cared for.

By asking yourself the questions below, you may be able to see your situation more clearly:

· Am I feeling emotionally drained and perpetually exhausted?

· Are most of my interactions with my loved one negative? Do they often result in a power struggle?

· Have I exhausted all resources that are available to me such as support from family members, home health, hospice, hired caregivers, or respite care options?

If the answer is “yes,” then it may be time to seek a long- term care facility for your loved one.

This is not a decision you have to make alone. A caregiver support group, a therapist or a case manager who specializes in senior care can guide and support you through this process. These resources can help you navigate any emotional and financial issues related to this decision. They can also help you find the long- term facility that can properly meet your loved one’s needs.

Pam Leonard, LBSW, CDP, is Program Director for CJFS CARES, an acclaimed 4-hour respite program that provides cognitive, social and physical engagement for adults affected by memory and movement disorders. She also facilitates two free weekly caregiver support groups that are offered virtually. To learn more, contact her at or 205.960.3411