One of the most difficult times in life is deciding when it is time for a parent or loved one to move into assisted living. There is no way to be certain and it finding the right moment to talk about such decisions can be hard on family members. For many family members, denial is part of the journey. However, it is best to be realistic about the loved one’s needs. For those who feel guilty, it helps to remember that assisted living bridges the gap between independence and skilled nursing. Here are sings to look out for to know it’s time for this option.
- Getting behind on household chores and maintenance is a good consideration. Many people fall behind on cleaning and home maintenance but for seniors who are normally neat and orderly falling behind can be a sign that they need help. Clutter, neglected plants, pets or lawn, overflowing trash, dirty dishes and unwashed laundry could mean that assisted living should be considered soon.
- Neglecting personal care is also another sign. Not bathing, not changing clothes, overlooking personal hygiene is a practical consideration.
- When people age, it is quite normal that they slow down. Youthful activities like constant partying and socializing can become less often as we age. Changes in personality however are dangerous. Seniors that exhibit withdrawal from society, giving up social activities and hobbies or staying indoors more often are dangerous signs that can mean that a transition to assisted living be considered soon.
- Another great consideration for assisted living is personal safety. Seniors who forget to take their medications, leave the stove on, forget to lock the doors or have increasing number of falls are good candidates for assisted living.
- If your loved one is losing weight and has changed their eating habits, skipping meals and difficulty in shopping for food is a sign of problems at home.
- Another dangerous factor is a decline in overall cognitive function. Signs include lack sound judgment, have difficulty following instructions or directions or needs lots of prompts and reminders.
- Seniors that have difficulty driving should also consider assisted living. When their car has unexplained dents and scratches, have driving or parking tickets, tailgate, drive under the speed limit or drift out of their lane means that he or she needs special assistance.
- Seniors are also easy victims to scams and some of them begin to wrestle with their finances. Watch out for overdrafts, unpaid bills, bills that have paid multiple times, final notices and letters of thanks from charitable institutions are signs that they need help.
It is not always easy to look for these signs or to discuss this among family members. However, professionals are sometimes the best people to care for loved ones. There are different kinds of assisted living and your loved one will need to be evaluated for the best kind that is suited for them.