When Is An Aging Parent Ready for a Nursing Home? Tips to recognizing the signs

Jun 28, 2023

“Is it time to move Mom?” At some point, it’s a question many adult children ask themselves. How do we really know when it’s best for our aging parents to move into either an assisted living or senior care facility? 

Caring for an elderly parent can be both a blessing and a challenge: While we are grateful to still have them with us, it can be difficult if the caregiver has to manage either Mom’s chronic health conditions, Dad’s mental wellbeing, their finances or a combination of all three. And if a parent simply doesn’t want to leave their home, that can add to the situation.

But for their own health and safety, sometimes a move is necessary. 

There are some key physical, mental and emotional signs to look for when considering taking the leap from a personal home to a care home:


  • How well can they dress themselves, take a shower or bath and use the restroom?
  • Are they able to get around their house safely? 
  • Are they eating a normal, healthy diet? Can they safely cook for themselves?


  • Have you noticed changes in their behavior or mental status? 
  • Is there a loss of interest in hobbies they used to enjoy? 
  • Do they easily lose track of time? 
  • Are they taking their daily medications if no one is there to remind them?


  • Are they easily agitated or verbally or physically abusive to relatives and/or strangers? 
  • Are they expressing a complete lack of energy?
  • Have they become more isolated? 

Whether your parent is exhibiting any or all of these characteristics, it’s important to have a compassionate and honest conversation about where they may live once they are no longer able to care for themselves. Ask questions about how they are managing things, but be kind and understanding. You may find out that they’re feeling scared or concerned too, but they’re not sure what to do next.

Talk about options together, if possible, and then start a list of all medical, legal and financial considerations. Take a tour of senior care homes that might be a good fit.  It’s important to remind yourself and your loved one that gathering this information and finding resources is the best plan of action to help them remain independent, safe and healthy.

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