Five signs your loved one may need residential care

Five signs your loved one may need residential care

Author: Christine Farmery

It is a very difficult decision to make, and often one that your relative may not immediately agree with, but there are signs to indicate when a loved one may not be able to cope with living on their own any longer.

This can be a difficult time for everyone, especially when your loved one used to care for you as a parent or grandparent and their dependency on you has now reversed your roles.

Older people often won’t admit to themselves or to you when things are becoming too much, but there are signs to look out for that indicate that you should consider care for your loved one.

Mobility and falls

The simple day-to-day tasks that we do with ease when we are younger become increasingly difficult as we get older. Older people may start to struggle with their mobility, strength, and sight making simple things like getting dressed, bathing, cooking, and cleaning challenging at best or fraught with the possibility of falls or injuries at worst.

If your loved one has suffered a fall at home, respite care at a nursing home can provide them with a supported place in which to recover. If they regularly fall or struggle with daily life due to physical limitations, then it may be time to consider a more permanent move into residential care where there are trained staff and specialist equipment to help them.

Personal hygiene

If you’ve noticed a change in the appearance of your loved one because of poor personal care, they may be struggling with looking after themselves.

Poor personal hygiene like unwashed or uncut hair, dirty clothes, or body odour can indicate that your loved one is having difficulty handling their everyday life. This could be because of a lack of mobility but can also be caused by depression.

It is a difficult conversation to have but if you’ve noticed a decline in your loved one’s personal hygiene, carefully ask them what they find difficult to manage and suggest solutions to help. Residential care could help your loved one regain their fresh and healthy demeanour, improving not only their appearance but also their self-esteem and social confidence.

Messy home

In a similar way to their personal care, an unkempt home could indicate that your loved one is finding it too much to cope on their own, particularly if it is out of character in what has previously been a much cared for home and garden.

The upkeep of a home can become an overwhelming and unmanageable task as you get older and start to slow down. If you’ve noticed things like an unclean house, an empty fridge, an overgrown garden, or unopened post at your loved one’s home, it could be time to get extra help.

Talk to them and let them know that they don’t need to cope on their own. Talk through the options that can help them with day-to-day tasks, this could initially mean getting a cleaner or carer and then moving to residential care in the longer term.


We all suffer from occasional forgetfulness, especially as we get older, but if that memory loss is starting to cause wider problems such as forgetting to take medication, then it may be time to look into care.

Memory loss does become more common with age and doesn’t always mean medical issues such as dementia, but the stress of trying to remember important everyday things may have become too much for your loved one. By moving into residential care with trained professionals on hand, they (and you) will be alleviated of the stress of remembering (or forgetting) things that are imperative for their wellbeing.

Poor nutrition

Good nutrition and a well-balanced diet are essential for us all to stay healthy and happy, but if your elderly loved one struggles to shop, prepare meals, and cook, their nutrition may be suffering without them realising.

If you notice your loved one gain or lose weight, it might indicate poor nutrition possibly linked to their eating habits.

If you’re concerned that they aren’t getting the nutrition that they need, a short stay or long stay move into residential care may be a good option to get them back on track with nutritious meals cooked for them by trained cooks.

Find out more about food at The Dower House

Care at The Dower House

It can be hard to know for sure if your loved one may need residential care. But if you’ve noticed some of these signs, it could be time to have some open conversations and look into their options for the future.

The Dower House is a nursing home in the Hampshire countryside near Winchester.

Whether you’d like to book a visit to find out more about The Dower House, or you simply need to talk and get some advice about caring for yourself or your loved one, we’re ready to listen and happy to help. Please contact us on 01962 882848.

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