If your aging loved one has been living independently in his or her home for many years, sometimes starting the conversation about moving to assisted living can be difficult. However, the ability to recognize some of the signs assisted living is needed can help improve the overall quality of life for your loved one. This is especially true for a family caregiver who may become overwhelmed by their caregiving responsibilities and may not be qualified to provide the sufficient level of care needed.
Everyone experiences lifestyle changes throughout the aging process. Our loved ones might not be able to cut their lawns and maintain the yard anymore due to some chronic aches, pains, and mobility issues, or perhaps their eyesight has worsened and they can no longer safely drive to pick up groceries or to doctor’s appointments. Sometimes, aging loved ones simply need gentle reassurance that moving to assisted living will only improve their life on the whole.
If you are wondering if your loved one could benefit from assisted living, signs to watch for include:
Increase in healthcare needs.
If your loved one is starting to have more and more issues maintaining his or her health, or current health issues begin to escalate, more care may be needed than a family caregiver can provide.
Decrease in mobility.
Mobility issues tend to be a major issue in regards to aging. Chronic conditions like arthritis or osteoporosis can make it difficult to move around the home or lead to a debilitating fall.
Unable to maintain the home.
The mobility issues mentioned above can lead to aging loved ones have difficulty keeping their homes clean and tidy. If your family member has always kept a neat home, but the last time you stopped by you noticed dishes piled up in the sink or dirty floors, this could prove that your loved one might be better off in a maintenance-free assisted living community.
Decline in cognitive abilities.
Even just mild cognitive impairment can have a drastic impact on our aging loved one’s daily lives. For example, your loved one may forget if medication was taken and take an extra dose, or meals may start to get skipped. He or she may also show signs of poor judgment or fall victim to a senior scam.
Trouble managing finances.
Perhaps bill payments are falling through the cracks and your loved one is getting notifications from collections agencies or utility companies. Or, perhaps he or she is having trouble balancing a checkbook, or paying bills twice.
Home safety concerns.
Home safety also relates to mobility or memory issues. Perhaps your loved one isn’t able to take proper care of him or herself because the shower is located on the second floor, and stairs have become unmanageable. Or, maybe recently the stove was accidently left on after your loved one forgot to turn it off after cooking a meal.
Social isolation and loneliness.
If your loved one is living alone, there’s a strong possibility social isolation is an issue. Building relationships and staying engaged with others is key to healthy aging, and loneliness can easily lead to depression or other health concerns in seniors.
Many seniors report that moving to assisted living has offered benefits they never even considered. While losing independence may be a fear your loved one has, most residents report that the assistance they receive on a daily basis actually boosts their independence. Plus, assisted living benefits the family caregiver, too, as caregivers are released of caregiving duties and know their aging loved ones’ healthcare needs will be met, now and in the future.