Making the choice of assisted living is not an easy one. However, when daily life becomes overwhelming for your loved one, assisted care may be the best option. We would all love to maintain our independence throughout our lives but the fact of the matter is approximately, 70% of every senior 65 and up should expect a couple years of long-term care, in an assisted living or nursing community.
The decision to help an aging adult move out of their current home is a complex one — both emotionally and practically. Above all, you want the person to be safe and well. How can you read the signs that suggest your loved one should no longer be living alone? Every situation is different. Below are some similarities found in behaviors that should signal the time to consider assisted living.
Difficulty with basic tasks
Each and every one of us completes certain tasks on a daily basis that we take for granted. Such as bathing ourselves, eating, taking vitamins, gathering the mail, doing laundry, paying bills, etc. Nobody really enjoys doing them; however, the effects of aging can make these seemingly basic tasks much more difficult. For example, carrying the laundry to the laundry room can get more painful and difficult to achieve. If you’re starting to notice bills being left unpaid or vitamins being accidentally missed, it may be a good indicator that your loved one is struggling to complete their daily routine.
Maintaining healthy relationships
If mom and dad are struggling to manage relationships or seem to be losing friends and isolating themselves, it may be time to seek professional help. A major part of human life is establishing and maintaining relationships with other people. If you’re loved one is avoiding or losing friends, start inquiring why. These could be pointing to something simple or it could be evidence that they are showing signs of depression, dementia or some other form of mental disorder or physical fatigue.
Loneliness can be as bad for a senior’s health as an illness. If they’re not getting out and remaining socially active, living somewhere where they are immersed in a senior community of people could be the trick.
On average, 2.5 million seniors are treated every year for injuries related to falls. If mom is prone to falls, even minor falls, it may be time to seek help even if she says she’s okay. These instances should not be taken lightly. One misjudgment on the stairs, while carrying a bowl of hot soup, or when attempting to cook can lead to serious injuries.
These injuries can put your loved ones at risk of being immobile for an extended period of time. At such a fragile age, the lack of movement may cause difficulties in diet, and exercise. Thus increasing chances of diabetes, weight loss, weight gain or other illnesses. No facility, no matter the number of staff members, can guarantee mom won’t take a nasty fall and break a hip. but when an accident happens most are equipped to provide immediate care that could save your mom’s life. Many communities are equipped with motion detectors that will alert caregivers if your loved one wanders or makes a sudden move.
Agitated or aggressive behavior
The ageing process may be a difficult time for you and your loved one. You may start noticing different behaviors that weren’t there before. Reactions to situations that seem out of the ordinary, jokes and jesters that used to be funny, may no longer entertain them and in some cases, may offend them. Physical, sexual or violent aggression is frequently seen in those with dementia. Unfortunately, not understanding this can cause family members and caregivers to feel resentful or suffer emotionally. Very agitated behavior that becomes more pronounced later in the day is a common characteristic of “Sun-downers Syndrome” which are prominent signs of beginning stage Alzheimer’s disease. This can severely disrupt family routines and may be a sign that the care-giving burden is too hard to handle.
The hug test
The hug test – this may seem silly to some; however, this can be used as a great tool to measure the physical and mental state of your loved one. Clues aren’t always visible from a distance if they are having difficulties managing their daily lives, especially if you don’t see this person daily. Next time really focus on that hug and compare this hug to the next and look for these signs.
Seeming frailer. Does anything feel different about your loved ones’ strength or stature? Did they rise easily to hug you if they were sitting down? Did he or she seem unbalanced? Compare these signs for the next time you are together.
Noticeable weight loss. Does your loved one feel thinner? Do their clothes feel loose or has he added notches to his belt? Many conditions, from depression to cancer can cause weight loss. It may be smart to check the fridge as well and look for meal prep skills or lack of food.
Strange body odor. Unfortunately, a close hug can also reveal changes in personal hygiene habits. Causes may range from memory trouble to depression or other physical ailments.
Noticeable weight gain. Common causes include an injury slowing the person down, diabetes and dementia (when someone doesn’t remember eating, he or she may indulge in meals and snacks all day long).
Changes in appearance. Does the person’s hair and makeup look normal? Are clothes clean? Is your loved one known for crisply ironed shirts but is now in a stained sweatshirt? He or she may have lost the dexterity for managing an ironing board and iron. A formerly clean-shaven man with an unkempt beard may be forgetting to shave (or forgetting how to shave).
So how do you know it’s time for assisted living? If any of the signs mentioned resonate with you, it may be time to have that talk. Assisted living may be a hard transition but the experience can be a positive one. Take time to find the community that best meets your loved ones needs. At the end of the day, the move is about their safety and your peace of mind. Trusted Living Care is here in your search for care. Let us know if we can help.Find a community