How to Know When It's Time for Assisted Living
As children grow into adults, they learn to care for themselves and become more independent. Most of us will spend the vast majority of our lives living independently, taking care of ourselves, and making all our own decisions. One of the greatest challenges of aging is coping with the shift when an older adult can no longer remain completely independent. This comes in stages, so it can be helpful for both seniors and their loved ones to understand they have options.
Assisted living is an important step in this process, as it serves seniors who can no longer live alone, but don’t necessarily need round-the-clock medical care, nor need to be in a nursing-home setting. So how do you know when it’s time to consider assisted living?
Generally speaking, assisted living is the first and best option for older adults who are at risk living on their own, and need help with daily activities, especially managing their medications and health, in order to retain their independence. It can be difficult for older adults to admit they need help, so this guide is designed to help you identify whether you need to consider making a change. Here are some things you can look for that may indicate your loved one would benefit from making the move to assisted living:
Health & Medical Concerns
The most common reason for seniors to go into assisted living is when they’ve experienced a fall or injury that impairs their ability to operate normally on their own. Chronic health issues can also be a factor. Sometimes even basic health changes can cause concern. Is your loved one doing a good job of managing their medications properly? Can your loved one get themselves to the doctor? Have they let a cold or sinus infection go untreated?
Nutrition and Basic Care
When you visit your loved one, look for signs that they aren’t showering, eating well, or eating enough. Look out for weight loss or gain, which can signify issues with eating and meal preparation. Personal hygiene changes and body odors can be a sign that bathing or laundry has become difficult for them. Keep an eye out for any significant changes in grooming habits. For example, a shaggy beard on someone who is normally clean-shaven, or wrinkled clothes on someone who is usually in a pressed shirt, can be a sign that they are struggling with daily activities.
Personality and Social Changes
Does your loved one seem lonely? Do they leave the house? Do they enjoy hobbies and talk about friends? Depression is very common among seniors. Isolation associated with aging and losing one’s social network can contribute to depression and a host of other health issues, including heart disease and cognitive decline. While assisted living is designed to provide help with activities of daily life, it has the added benefit of keeping seniors social and engaged. A community with access to transportation and activities can go a long way to prevent isolation.
Do they have difficulty getting around, either in a vehicle or walking? Whether your loved one can do this on their own is a big factor in whether they can continue to live independently. In many areas, being able to drive is essential to living independently. If your parent is still driving, go for a ride with them and observe whether they are driving safely. Tailgating and driving too slowly are signs of poor eyesight and other issues that can impact safe driving. If they have difficulty moving about the house, using stairs, or getting in and out of chairs, this could also be a sign they may need additional care.
Finding the right care for your loved one as they age is incredibly important. The staff at Camino Retirement Apartments are here to help you navigate the process and find the community that is the right fit for your needs.