Mental Health Factors Behind Living At Home vs. A Care Home

The decision to move into a care home may be tough, especially when you’ve maintained your independence for so long. There are many factors to consider when you’re thinking about the transition. You may be asking yourself if you need the assistance, but could it also be better for your mental health? The Canadian Mental Health Association believes the definition of mental health is changing. Good mental health was considered the absence of any mental illness, but in recent years a more holistic approach has been adopted. The focus has shifted towards positive qualities that cause people to experience personal growth. These attributes include hope, courage, honesty, ambition, and determination.

The home you choose to live in may affect these particular factors which can change your quality of life, for better or for worse. Living in your own home, or in a care home will affect your mental well-being in different ways. Although there is no easy answer, there are some simple questions you can ask yourself to see which solution may be right for you.

Have You Had Any Significant Changes To Your Mental Health Recently?

If you answered yes, a recent change in mental health may affect your overall quality of life. You may need help coping with these difficult life changes, and it may be challenging to do that while maintaining your independence. Staff at a care center will be able to help you through these hard times; they can ensure you receive the care you need to maintain or improve your health. Whether it’s basic care needs such as cooking, or being given medication at the right time, they can help ease the worry associated with these responsibilities. However, if your memory and behavior are the same as it was 20 years ago, then you may have nothing to be concerned about. When a person’s ability to function hasn’t changed, it may feel more comfortable for them to live in a familiar environment, like their own home. That way they have the comfort while still feeling safe, and secure.

Is It Tough For You To Be Sociable?

If a person is unable to be social with others, it may have a negative impact on their emotional health. Whether you have difficulty socializing with those you live with, or you live alone, it’s important to feel connected to others. Mental health is linked to social tendencies; these relationships with others will also improve your state of physical health. Harvard Medical School has found that emotional and mental health issues can result in the development of a disease, including digestive and sleeping disorders. If you find your tendency to be social has declined in recent years, a care home may be a better environment for you. Many care homes have games nights, social events and other opportunities to meet people with similar interests.

If you live at home and find yourself constantly entertaining guests or visiting others then you likely have no issues with socializing. Your home may even be the perfect place for everyone to meet.

Do You Feel Unmotivated?

Motivation is the driving force that keeps us going throughout the day to attain our goals. If you’re having a tough time getting out of bed in the morning, or completing simple routine chores then you may have an issue with motivation. This lack of enthusiasm could keep you from the daily tasks that help maintain your overall health. A care home will have regimented schedules to keep you on track. It may also present some ways to work on self-improvement. There may be exercise classes, or activities at a care home that recover that sense of passion you once had for life.

If you find that these activities are already in your life, and you feel fulfilled, staying at home may be a good option for you. As long as you’re able to maintain that zest for life, it doesn’t really matter where you choose to live. Whether you’re able to achieve psychological and emotional well-being on your own, or with the help of staff in a care center, it is an important factor to consider.

Do You Have Trouble Maintaining A Schedule?

Sleeping or eating during odd times of the day, or even missing meals all together should be a cause for concern. Challenges with mental health can cause a person’s normal schedule to go haywire. The lack of awareness of a normal schedule can cause a decline in physical health due to poor eating or hygiene habits. Over time, the individual’s quality of life can suffer. If you are retired, and have found that your normal schedule has shifted it may be time to consider a routine. If you still have issues with achieving this routine, a care home may be a better option. The staff of a care home will make sure a specific schedule is retained while you are well taken care of. Living at home could be a better option if you love looking after your own schedule and taking care of your own needs.

Do You Rarely Ever Leave The House?

Do mental health issues hinder your ability to leave your home?

After retirement, most people tend to stay home more often. If you don’t have other activities that get you out of the house, the sense of seclusion can cause anxiety. The feelings of isolation can create psychological and emotional distress that may be harmful to your mental health. Living with others in a care home may help you enjoy life again. Care homes also tend to have fun outings allowing you to reach your fullest potential. Whether you’re looking to score higher in a game of golf, or checking out your local library, it’s always great to be out in the community.

If you’ve answered yes to one of these questions, it may not necessarily mean you’re better off in a care home but it’s important to consider your options. Living at home and living in a care home both have their advantages. Making the best decision for your needs may be difficult, but feeling confident about your choices is equally as essential.

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About the Author:


Beth Wallace is a Safety Specialist for Canadian Safe Step Walk-In Tub Co. She visits homes to show seniors how they can keep their home is safe. Her goal is to make sure they have a better quality of life and to see that their wishes to stay in the home they love for the rest of their lives are granted. Follow Beth on Google+ and Twitter.