Early Signs it's Time to Consider Care for a Loved One

By Dr Tom MacLaren, Consultant Psychiatrist at Re:Cognition Health

Recognising when it's time to consider care for a loved one can be challenging, as it depends on various factors such as the individual's health, safety and ability to manage daily activities. Identifying signs at the earliest stage is important, as this can avoid a care crisis and ensure the most suitable care provision is found, enabling a smooth transition.

Some early signs that may indicate that it's time to start considering care for a loved one include:

If your loved one is starting to struggle to perform basic activities such as bathing, dressing, grooming, eating or using the bathroom, it may be a sign that they need assistance.

Persistent forgetfulness, confusion or memory loss can be early signs of cognitive decline or conditions like dementia. If your loved one is having trouble remembering important tasks or events, it’s firstly important to seek medical consultation for a possible diagnosis and start to explore care options for the future. Planning is paramount.

A decline in personal hygiene, such as neglecting to shower, brush teeth or change clothes may indicate difficulties in self-care and could be a signal that additional support is needed.

Difficulty with walking, frequent falls, or challenges in maintaining balance can be a safety concern. This may necessitate the need for assistance or a more supportive living environment.

Changes in eating habits, unexplained weight loss or signs of malnutrition can be indicative of challenges in meal preparation or a lack of interest in cooking and eating. Careful attention to nutrition is crucial for overall health.

If your loved one is becoming increasingly isolated, avoiding social activities or no longer engaging in hobbies they once enjoyed, it may be a sign of loneliness or depression. Care facilities often provide social opportunities and companionship.

If your loved one is having difficulty managing their medications, missing doses or experiencing adverse effects due to improper use, it may be time to consider care that includes medication management.

A noticeable decline in the cleanliness and orderliness of the home can indicate challenges in maintaining the living space. This may be a sign that assistance with household tasks is needed.

Sudden or significant changes in mood, personality or behaviour can indicate underlying health issues or emotional distress. Professional care may help address these changes.

If the primary caregiver (often a family member) is experiencing burnout, exhaustion, or a decreased ability to provide care due to other responsibilities, it may be time to explore additional support, such as respite care or transition to a care facility.


It's important to approach these signs with sensitivity and involve your loved one in discussions about their preferences and needs. Consulting with healthcare professionals, such as a doctor or social worker, can provide valuable guidance in making informed decisions about the appropriate level of care.

For top tips on finding a care home visit our blog on 'Top 10 Tips for Selecting a Care Home'. 

Published: 19th of April 2024 by Loveday & Co

Tagged: Dementia, Loveday, Loveday Abbey Road, Loveday Kensington, Medical Professionals

Get in touch

Please contact our Membership team to answer any questions you might have and arrange a tour.

Send Enquiry
Lisa Nichols from the Membership Team

Lisa Nichols

Victoria Radmore from the Membership Team

Victoria Radmore

Loveday careers
Loveday is passionate about making a difference to both the people we care for and the people we work with.