As your parent or other loved one gets older, it’s only natural to wonder whether they need a little extra help. But it’s far from simple to tell when it’s time for a higher level of senior care – and oftentimes, our loved ones simply don’t want to discuss it. So how do you know when it’s time for assisted living? If you’re confused about how to talk to your parents about assisted living, read this list of a few things to watch for as you approach this important issue.
- You’re worried. Most people have an intuitive understanding of their loved ones and can sense when something is amiss – this goes double for parents and their children. Whether it’s a small change in behavior, habits or mobility, you’ll likely notice if something feels wrong. If you find yourself worrying whether your parent is safe living in their current home, trust that feeling. You may find that your concerns were unfounded, but it’s always better to err on the side of caution.
- You’re tired. Being a caregiver is a full-time job. Unfortunately, most adults already have a full schedule, and adding the weight of looking after our aging parents can quickly become untenable. Don’t feel that you must bear this responsibility alone. Instead, listen to what your body and brain are trying to tell you. If you feel that you can no longer deal with being a caregiver without sacrificing your own happiness or health, it’s time to look for outside support.
- Transportation issues. There comes a time in every senior’s life when they need to stop driving – but that doesn’t mean transportation needs simply vanish. If they can’t reliably make their way to the grocery store, doctor’s office, pharmacy or other necessary locations without requiring outside help, assisted living could be the right choice for them. A good community will provide scheduled or upon-request transportation for both vital and recreational trips.
- Problems with personal care. Many seniors with mobility challenges will exhibit a lapse in their personal care, leading to poor hygiene and dingy living spaces. In addition to creating a potential vector for dangerous infections and foodborne illness, an unclean home also presents many more obstacles that could potentially cause a life-threatening fall.
- They’re lonely. Social isolation is one of the most significant risk factors for seniors’ long-term health. If you notice that your loved one isn’t getting out to see neighbors and friends, or if close friends have passed away, it might be time to talk to them about moving to assisted living. For many residents, being surrounded by people their own age provides a sense of built-in community, making it a lot easier to meet new people to spend time with.
- Chronic health issues. While some chronic health concerns mandate around-the-clock skilled nursing care, many can be managed by assisted living caregivers. Things like persistent back pain or muscular weakness can make it hard to dress, bathe or perform other daily tasks. At an assisted living community, your loved one will find that necessary support without any unneeded intrusion. Read this article for more information on identifying the level of care that suits your loved one’s needs.
- Diet mismanagement. Have you noticed a significant weight change in your loved one? Perhaps they just seem a little more frail than usual, as though their diet simply doesn’t supply enough vitamins and protein. As a result of physical limitations, many seniors find it difficult to cook for themselves – this can have a negative impact on nutrition, which can seriously harm their health.
- Dangerous conditions. If your loved one has increasing mobility issues, a staircase or loose rug can be a real health hazard. Most assisted living communities, on the other hand, have several ways to eliminate risky room features. Some rely on elevators, while others have the entire community on the ground floor. All should have some sort of fall-mitigation plan designed to keep your loved one safe.
Trust Yourself First
So how do you know when assisted living is right for your parent? Nobody knows your folks like you do. If something is off, or you feel like they might be at risk, you’re probably onto something. Go with your gut and start the conversation. There’s no harm in exploring your options and doing the work now will keep your loved one happier and healthier, longer. If you have questions about how to talk to your parents about assisted living or other levels of care, please contact us. We’ll share everything we know about senior care, plus details on the Eagle Senior Living difference.