Whether it’s your parent, grandparent, sibling, or spouse, it’s always hard watching a loved one wrestle with the challenges of aging. Even if you try to care for them at home for as long as possible, at some point, their needs may overwhelm your ability to provide care. As a result, you might find yourself wondering if a move into assisted living would be best for everyone. As you navigate this difficult decision, here are some factors to watch for.
It can be difficult to spot changes in health, especially if they happen gradually. However, frequent falls are hard to miss and are a strong indicator that your loved one needs someone around to provide constant care, especially if they seem to take a long time to recover. To identify other health problems, talk to your loved one’s doctor to learn about any changes in their conditions and find out which medications they are supposed to be taking. This will help you monitor their chronic conditions and ensure they’re taking their medications as prescribed.
Paying attention to your loved one’s behavior will help you spot problems with their mental health that could be impacting their daily life. For example, if your loved one appears disoriented, has trouble remembering things, frequently loses things, or displays unusual mood changes, they may be experiencing the early stages of dementia. Seniors suffering from mental health issues may also become isolated or withdrawn. Keep tabs on how often your loved one leaves the house, visits with family, or calls friends. Your loved one’s purchasing habits may increase if they’re suffering from loneliness.
The State of Their Home
The state of your loved one’s home can also tell you a lot about how they’re managing the challenges of aging. You’re likely to notice if your loved one stops cleaning their house, doing the dishes, or mowing the lawn, but try to look a little closer. Are there stacks of unopened mail lying around? If so, your loved one may be forgetting to pay their bills or manage their finances. You can also take a look in the fridge to learn about their health. Is it stocked with fresh, healthy food? Mom’s Meals explains that an empty fridge or the presence of spoiled food may indicate that your loved one is no longer eating properly.
Navigating Tough Conversations
There are few things more difficult than talking to a senior loved one about moving into assisted living. But this is a conversation you must have, ideally sooner than later. The earlier you involve your loved one in the decision-making process, the easier their transition will be. Caring.com recommends researching solutions before approaching your loved one with your concerns. Look up some long-term care facilities that you think would suit your loved one, consider alternative options like in-home care or adult daycare, and research transportation services that can help them get around without driving. Research costs and When you’re prepared with helpful information, introduce the topic gently and don’t push for a decision right away.
Where to Learn More
Moving a loved one into assisted living can be challenging. While this information should help you out, you likely still have a lot of questions. Check out the following resources to find the answers you need.
- Five Tips for Choosing an Assisted Living Facility
- Questions You Should Ask When Visiting an Assisted Living Facility
- How to Pay for Nursing Home Care
- Top 4 Ways to Help Your Loved One Adjust to Assisted Living
- Can Selling a Senior’s Home Cover the Costs of Assisted Living?
- Encouraging Independence in Seniors – Maintaining Quality of Life
Watching for signs that your senior loved one may need assisted living care is incredibly important. The earlier you can get them the help they need, the better! Moving to assisted living can be a major transition, but once your loved one settles in and gets comfortable in their new environment, they are sure to enjoy greater health and happiness!
– by Lydia Chan –
Lydia Chan is with alzheimerscaregiver.net
“After her mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Lydia Chan found herself struggling to balance the responsibilities of caregiving and her own life. She is the co-creator of Alzheimer’s Caregiver, a website that aims to provide tips and resources to help caregivers.”