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When do you know your loved one needs some care?

Updated: Aug 22, 2022

The decision if and at what point a loved one needs care is rarely an easy one and can be emotional and involve multiple people.

Any decision is dependent on so many individual factors and circumstances, it’s impossible to generalise any best practices.

In this article we look to highlight some factors to consider, cover a few options and try and give some support to those in the middle of making, or planning to make, this type of decision.

Care exists in many forms from practical help like home adaptions (rails, ramps, gadgets etc), to pop-in day centres that offer; companionship, activities and sometimes a low level of personal care like help showering and dressing.

Then there are various types of part-time to full-time care, and short term to long term, available in your home or externally, in a care home, sheltered accommodation or rehabilitation centre amongst others.

There are specialist types of care such as for people with dementia, stroke and other disabilities and conditions, respite care (to help support family caregivers), convalescence care (to support those coming out of hospital), specialist nursing care or overnight care.

Some of these can be partly or fully funded through the NHS or Council, whereas some of them are self-funded.

Conversations around the need for care often comes as the family member:

  • Starts to struggle with personal care or daily tasks, such as washing, going to the toilet, getting out of bed, cooking or eating meals, taking medication or keeping the home clean and comfortable; or because they have

  • Has suffered a significant deterioration in their health or mobility;

  • Or because their home is no longer a suitable environment because of illness, frailty or dementia.

There are no fixed rules that tell you when is the right time is to take this step.

The decision should be based on an individual’s needs and circumstances. It is however best to involve them as early as possible in these conversations to allow them some level of control.

Try to keep conversations about care positive by explaining why it’s important and highlighting the benefits for your loved one.

For most, care can offer additional independence, access to a more fulfilled life, a better standard of living plus increased safety, comfort and stability.

It's important however to be realistic and remember that there is no ‘ideal’ answer: age and disability is a complex and very subjective subject.

It’s best to focus on your loved one’s best interests, but also bear in mind the impact of the situation on yourself and other family members and friends, as decisions like this rarely only affect one person.

Try not to rush the decision if possible. Choosing the right care solution for your loved one is crucial and be aware it will generally need reviewing every so often as circumstances change.

The first step is often a needs assessment. This might be offered by your GP, Social Worker or other agency such as District Nurse or Occupational Therapist or can be undertaken by a care provider.

This is your chance to consider what specific types of care are needed and to highlight any relevant factors.

It’s important to concentrate on the objectives of what you are wanting the care to achieve: it might be to ensure they are safe, to improve their lifestyle, to support existing caregivers or to allow them to do any things (such as get some sleep during the night, run errands or go to work).

Some factors that might be helpful to consider when reviewing care options are:

Any need for specialist care and the care provider’s experience in this

  • Amount, type and length of care required

  • Location / proximity to family, friends and other obligations or interests (eg clubs, hobbies, jobs, pets etc)

  • Ability to maintain or indeed improve their lifestyle

  • The duration of care required

  • The cost

  • Environment (including noise levels, socialisation, physical environment, familiarity, facilities)

  • Accessibility (do they require any special adaptations such as ramps, alarms, companion pet etc)

The team at AMD Care appreciate the enormity and the delicacy of these conversations and if we can help in any way during this time, please get in touch.

Our managers can undertake a no-obligation needs assessment with you at home and discuss with you different options for care.

If you are local to Saffron Walden and would like to speak to one of our friendly and experienced team, find our contact details at

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