Moving into an assisted living community can feel like a big change for older adults. Some view it as an end to living independently and a reminder of a person’s increasing age.
Many benefits come with moving into assisted living. There are around one million Americans in some type of senior community right now. That number is expected to double by 2030. As our healthcare services improve, so does our longevity. Today’s seniors live active, healthy lives. Many now believe that 80 is the new 65 thanks to innovations in medicine and senior care.
Assisted living communities can enrich a person’s life. They provide opportunities for socializing. They also reduce the burden placed on family members, who otherwise may have to care for aging relatives at home without the resources of an assisted living community.
The difficult part is knowing when it is time to make the move. You should not wait until something bad happens. It is best to begin this chapter in your life sooner when the signs of old age are starting to show but before they become a health risk.
If any of the following apply to you, then it may be time to consider assisted living.
Changes in Mobility and Increased Fall Risk
Our physical capabilities tend to change as we get older. If you notice trouble with balance and strength, this could be a sign that you need assistance. This is especially true if you have had a fall or almost fell in the recent past.
Fall injuries are particularly damaging for older people. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one out of five falls causes serious injury. At least 300,000 older adults are hospitalized because of hip fractures each year. Over 95% of hip fractures are caused by falls. Falls are also the most common cause of traumatic brain injury.
You should speak to your doctor about fall risk concerns. They can evaluate you and recommend ways to reduce your risk. Assisted living facilities are already equipped with devices and railings that are used to prevent seniors from falling.
Inability to Perform Activities of Daily Living
Activities of daily living include all the skills needed to do the basic things a person does every day. These include keeping up with grooming, dressing, and personal hygiene as well as using the bathroom, eating meals, and moving throughout your home.
If you have trouble in any of these areas, you should learn more about assisted living. These communities have staff available to assist to ensure that you stay clean and healthy. You can talk to the facility about your health status and physical ability to ensure that you retain as much independence as possible while receiving the support you need.
Prolonged Periods of Illness and Recovery
Older adults take longer to recover after an injury or illness. This can occur due to an underlying health issue, like diabetes. It can also happen because of reduced skin elasticity and delayed inflammatory response.
If you take longer to get back to normal after an injury or illness, it may be time to consider a senior-friendly living situation.
Difficulty Managing Household Finances
Financial troubles can also indicate that a person needs additional assistance. Age-related conditions can affect cognitive ability. This can lead to poor money management and make a person more vulnerable to scams.
If you are struggling to pay bills and manage household finances, seek assistance. Ask a trusted friend or family member to help you while you decide if it’s time to move into an assisted living community.
Home That is Not Cleaned or Maintained
Is your house beginning to look poorly maintained or dirty despite your best efforts? This is another clear sign that you need help.
This situation can occur if your physical or mental status has changed or after losing a spouse or loved one who handled the tasks that are going undone. You don’t have to try and do it all alone. Assisted living communities hire cleaning staff that handles everything so you can thrive in a hygienic environment.
Signs of Depression or Social Isolation
Depression is a concern for older people. It is considered a significant predictor of suicide in the elderly. Many things can cause a person to become depressed as they age. Seniors may face a chronic illness or mourn the loss of loved ones. Others may struggle to cope with the inability to drive, work, or do the things that they once enjoyed.
If you experience restlessness, anxiety, appetite changes, difficulty concentrating, poor decision making, changes in sleep patterns, lack of energy, feelings of emptiness, or unexplained aches and pains, you could be depressed.
Depression can also lead to thoughts of suicide and drug or alcohol abuse. If you notice any of the symptoms listed above, seek medical advice immediately.
Exhibiting Dangerous or Unusual Behaviors
If you exhibit dangerous or unusual behaviors, it may be time to consider assisted living. Worrying Behaviors include things like wandering inside or outside for no reason or letting candles burn when you leave the home.
Severe Memory Loss and Dementia Symptoms
Severe memory loss and dementia can make living on your own a challenge. Seniors may experience difficulty using language, misplacing objects, poor judgment, rapid mood swings, and personality changes. Some patients also report lacking initiative, excessive sleeping, and loss of interest in things they used to love.
If you notice the symptoms of memory loss or dementia, you should go to your doctor first. They can evaluate you and provide more insight into your condition and how to treat it. Next, you should consider moving into an assisted living community that provides memory care.
Poor Medication Management
You should be taking your prescribed medications in the right doses at the right times to stay on top of health issues. Poor medication management is dangerous at any age. You may not get enough of what you need, or you could accidentally overdose.
If you find yourself missing doses or forgetting if you took one, it may be time to consider assisted living.
Pets That Appear Neglected
People of all ages own pets. Our animal companions make our lives happier. However, an older person may begin to have difficulty taking care of their pet. If your beloved dog or cat looks underfed, overfed, or otherwise neglected, this could be a sign that you are in need of daily assistance.
Experiences Sundown Syndrome
Sundown syndrome, or sundowning, is a term used to describe changes in dementia patients that occur in the late afternoon or early evening. Patients may experience anxiety, sadness, mood swings, restlessness, confusion, hallucinations, delusions, or even energy surges during this time.
These feelings can cause behaviors that are difficult to manage, like disorientation, crying, screaming, rocking, pacing, resistance, or aggression.
Concern from Friends, Family, or Neighbors
The people around you may pick up on changes before you do. If you have had family, friends, or neighbors express concern over your wellbeing, it may be time to listen to what they have to say.
These are people who care about you and likely know your normal routines. One comment may not mean anything, but if you have had multiple people share concerns, it is likely time to re-evaluate your living situation.
Visit Vista Living Senior Care to learn more about assisted living for older adults.