Signs Your Parents Need to Move to Assisted Living
Assisted living is a residential option for seniors who need help with some of their daily activities, such as keeping house, cooking meals, going to the bathroom in the middle of the night, and traveling to appointments. An assisted living facility develops a personalized plan that meets the senior’s specific needs and accommodates their disabilities, while also giving them the freedom to do what they can for themselves. In this type of facility, seniors are provided with the safety and security of 24-hour support and access to care, although privacy and independence are encouraged.
There comes a time in a senior’s life when moving to an assisted living facility may be the best option, especially if they need more personal care services than what they can get at home or from an independent living retirement community. If you have been thinking about this option for your parent for quite some time now but have never been certain if they really need to move to assisted living, here are some signs that will help you assess their situation and determine if they would be able to live more comfortably and safely in an assisted living facility.
Mysterious Bruises or Injuries
As our parents age, they become more fragile and prone to accidents around the house. They might not tell us if they had any potentially serious falls, though, maybe because they don’t want to worry us, or because they don’t want us to have a reason to keep them from staying in their homes. Regardless of the reason, the fact is, their vulnerability puts them in an extremely dangerous situation. Falls can cause fatal injury to elderly people.
Decreased Quality of Life
Watch out for signs that activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, laundry, or housecleaning, have become more difficult got your parent to accomplish on their own. You may notice that your parent is not as well groomed as before. Your father may start forgetting to shave. The house is not as well-kept as it normally is. You see you parent wearing wrinkled clothes.
While some symptoms of memory loss are nonthreatening, others can cause their life. Observe if your parent is starting to forget things more frequently than usual. You may notice a pile of unopened mail lying around the house or expired medicine from failing to take their medications. Check their calendar and see if they are missing appointments. These are some of the harmless manifestations of memory loss. The more frightening ones would be leaving the stove on, forgetting to take important medication, or not locking the doors at night.
You may start noticing that your parent is now having difficulty performing tasks that used to be very easy to do. Standing from a seated position becomes a hurdle. They are now moving more slowly that usual. They have trouble navigating stairs. They can no longer lift light items such as grocery bags.
Sudden Change in Weight
A sudden weight loss or weigh gain may be the result of your parent trying to conceal from you the fact that simple tasks such as cooking or buying groceries have become more challenging for them. They may not be eating as healthy as usual. They may tell you that they are eating regularly but you notice that there are food going bad in their fridge.
Your parent may start getting phone calls from bill collectors and their unpaid bills are just piling up at home. If your parent does not have any financial issues and paying bills has never been a problem before, unpaid bills is most likely a sign that they are unable to keep track of regular tasks such as bills payment.
Sudden Changes in Behavior
You may notice your parent behaving differently – sudden anger, striking a family member, fear or paranoia that someone is out to hurt them or steal money from them. They may also start hoarding items such as newspapers or clothes. Some days, they will refuse to take a bath or wear clean clothes. These sudden changes in behavior and character may just be caused by depression or the medications they are taking, or this can be early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. If you notice these changes in mood and behavior, you will need to talk with your parent’s doctor.
After you have evaluated your parent’s situation and you have answered yes to any of these items, then I think it is time to consider moving your parent to an assisted living facility. You may feel confused and even guilty for considering the move, and this is understandable. It is normal for us to find it difficult to accept the fact that our parents whom we looked up to during our childhood now need our strength and protection in return. Keep your focus on your parent’s safety and wellbeing, and let that guide you in your decision making. The sooner you are able to talk to your parent about what’s best for them, the sooner you will be able to find a good assisted living facility where they will have access to all the help they need.