It is not easy knowing when a family member's needs have extended beyond the level of care that a family can provide. Some conditions, such as diabetes, are perfectly manageable for long periods of time before worsening to the point when professional care is needed.
Many diseases, like Parkinson's disease or kidney failure, are widespread in elderly populations and require around-the-clock care that friends and family simply can't provide. The slow advance of these conditions may make it difficult for the affected family member to accept that living without around-the-clock assistance isn't feasible, even when it's fairly clear to others familiar with the situation.
Advanced diabetes often affects eyesight, making the performance of daily tasks downright dangerous. Loss of vision also creates enormous risks of mishandling prescription medications. Conditions such as severe or reccurring strokes necessitate an environment in which a person can not only be carefully treated for pre-existing or recent bouts of disease, but also given intense preventive care.
When it seems like a relative is spending as much time at a medical facility as he or she is at home, advanced care options need to be explored. The risk of accidents, infections or disease-related episodes can be vastly diminished by making sure a loved one will have the level of professional care that is needed.