Things change as we age. Frailty and health conditions make it harder to take care of ourselves on our own. Many seniors face challenges due to decreased mobility, loss of strength, or cognitive decline. While each person ages differently, many of these are common problems that can’t be ignored.
Talking to a loved one about assisted living isn’t easy. It isn’t just a practical decision – it is also an emotional one. Most adults don’t want to leave the home that they know. To many, making the transition to senior care implies that they have lost their independence.
The reality is that seniors of all ability levels choose to move into assisted living. Doing so gives them many advantages, especially the social benefits of living in an assisted living community. Elderly people can become isolated, which can lead to an increased risk of health problems and depression. Making the move helps prevent these issues before they appear.
The first step is knowing when it is time to move to assisted living. Vista Living senior care helps families make this important decision every year. We suggest using the following questions to help you decide if you should have the talk about assisted living with your aging loved one.
· Do They Struggle to Keep Up with Daily Medications?
Keeping up with medications is essential to staying healthy. Some seniors begin to struggle with taking the right dose at the right time. This could be remedied with a weekly or monthly pill box if it is a minor issue.
If the problem persists, then it should be treated as a red flag. This is especially true if you see empty or expired pill bottles or unfilled prescriptions lying around.
Assisted living facilities offer medication management that keeps residents on track with their treatment plans. It eases the burden placed on seniors to keep up as well as their families who may feel like they have to monitor their loved one’s prescriptions.
· Have They Had More Vehicle Accidents or Near Misses?
Many see driving as a normal part of being an adult. It gives us the freedom to move around. As we age, our vision and hearing may diminish. Other health conditions can also make it hard to navigate and react quickly in a vehicle.
If your loved one has had an accident, near misses, or seems to have dings and damage on their car frequently, this should not be ignored. They may no longer be able to drive safely.
Assisted living communities are built for convenience. They provide everything residents need to live comfortably. Many also have salon and barber services on-site and care providers who come to the location to administer services. Many also plan group trips that include transportation for residents so they can go out into the community without becoming a risk on the road.
· Is Their Home Starting to Look Dirty, Sloppy, or Unmaintained?
A senior’s home environment can tell you a lot about their state of mind and physical condition. If a previously well-kept home is suddenly dirty, sloppy, or disorganized, your loved one may be having difficulties.
It’s hard to keep up with chores and home maintenance when mobility decreases or physical ailments slow us down. It also can be challenging to ask for help. If your loved one’s home is looking unmaintained or unhygienic, it is time to talk about assisted living.
Assisted living communities provide housekeeping, laundry, and other services so your loved one is always in a clean, comfortable environment.
· Do They Show Signs of a Lack of Grooming and Bathing?
Activities of daily living are something that we often take for granted when we are young. We can bathe, groom, and dress ourselves with no problem – until we can’t. Older people sometimes struggle to handle these tasks on their own. They may not be able to move like they once did or may lose their balance when trying to get in and out of the shower.
Assisted living staff are trained to provide support for activities of daily living. These activities are essential to staying healthy. Being clean also boosts self-esteem, which has a direct impact on a person’s mental health.
· Is There a Lot of Old or Spoiled Food in Their Kitchen?
Nutrition is another area that suffers when someone cannot care for themselves. Do you notice a lot of old or spoiled food sitting around the kitchen? Are they lacking food? It can become difficult to go out, buy groceries, bring them home, and prepare meals when age-related conditions get in the way.
You should also pay close attention to your loved one’s weight. Do they appear to be losing or gaining weight for no reason? This could imply a change in diet.
Seniors in assisted living are served three nutritious meals a day, usually with snacks. Staff ensures that residents are eating so no one ever goes hungry.
· Have They Shown a Loss of Interest in Activities They Once Loved?
Senior care isn’t just about physical wellness, it is also about mental health. If your loved one has lost interest in activities that they once loved, they may be displaying the signs of depression.
It’s not easy figuring out how to discuss assisted living with a parent, but it’s important to find a way to help them.
Mental health has a direct impact on a person’s overall happiness and quality of life. Assisted living helps seniors connect with care providers like therapists. It also prevents isolation and depression with community activities and social opportunities.
· Are They Falling Behind on Bills and Not Managing Finances?
Even if they have the money, a senior may start to fall behind on bills and not manage their finances properly. In cases involving cognitive decline, they may start making very poor decisions that lead to monetary losses. This also makes them more susceptible to fraud.
Seniors who are suddenly struggling to manage finances should not be left to figure it out for themselves. They could lose their retirement funds or worse. Assisted living helps simplify the process by combining all their bills into one monthly fee, It also provides a layer of protection against financial abuse and fraud.
· Has Their Mood Changed or Do They Seem Fatigued?
The grumpy old person is a common stereotype, but it isn’t rooted in reality. Older people aren’t inherently mean-spirited or unhappy. This is not a normal part of aging.
If your loved one is showing moodiness, fatigue, depression, or irritability, they may have something else going on. They could be experiencing a mental health condition or signs of dementia.
Moving into assisted living reduces stress and helps seniors thrive. It stops isolation, which can prevent depression.
· Are They Frequently Forgetting Things, People, or Places?
Everyone forgets something at some point. Doing so once or twice isn’t necessarily cause for alarm. However, if your loved one seems to forget things, people, or places often, then they need help.
Forgetfulness or losing their sense of direction frequently can indicate a cognitive issue. Your loved one should be checked out by a doctor. And in the meantime, you may want to bring up the topic of assisted living.
A facility like Vista Living memory care can provide support and security that protects your loved one in case they become lost, confused, or forget something important.
· Do They Seem Unsteady on Their Feet or Have Had a Fall?
Fall injuries are a big risk for seniors. One bad fall can cause immense pain and even shorten an elderly person’s life. The average home is a relatively safe place for most people, but some commonly used structures and furnishings are obstacles to someone experiencing frailty.
Stairs, low-sitting furniture, power cords, and rugs can all turn into tripping hazards. Someone with declining mobility may also need specialized equipment, like a chair lift, to move safely.
Assisted living is designed with this in mind. Facilities have wider hallways and doorways for wheelchairs and walkers. They also have staff on hand to help with walking, standing, sitting, or whatever your loved one needs.
If you notice the signs discussed above, then it may be time to have a conversation with your loved one about moving into assisted living.