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When is it time for assisted living?

Though some older adults may not like to admit it, as we get older, certain activities and tasks become more difficult, time-consuming, or neglected altogether. As a caregiver for a loved one, you may be stretched too thin or do not have the time or resources to devote to your aging loved one.

Sometimes it is best to make the decision to move your loved one from their home to an assisted living facility. For many families, this is a difficult decision to make. Regardless of the difficulty, however, it may be in their best interest. If you feel that your loved one may need to live in an assisted living centre, look out for these signs.

There are a few important indicators to look out for if you have the feeling that your loved one may be in need of assisted living.

  • A recent fall or accident

  • Neglectful of their personal health

  • Health conditions worsening

  • Unable to seek out medical assistance independently

  • Unable to complete daily activities (ADLs) independently

  • Confusion and /or cognitive difficulties

You may need to have an eye for detail when observing more hidden signs of a loved one being unable to care for themselves. If you observe any significant weight loss or gain, this may be a basic indicator of an unbalanced diet. As it becomes harder to get to the grocery store some elderly people begin skipping meals. The more meals they skip, the more malnourished they will become. This can lead to a snowball effect that in turn can permanently damage the patient’s health. The same reasoning goes for weight gain. Perhaps the person does not have access to nutritious foods or meals. Or they may forget that they have just eaten and be eating repeatedly.

Along with weight gain or weight loss, keep an eye on your loved one and notice if they seem more frail or fragile. As we naturally become frailer, we experience more difficulty keeping our balance, holding heavy objects, and transferring from one position to another. Specific signs also include an inability to travel up or down stairs, difficulty getting up from a chair, or the inability to get in or out of a car. Chronic illnesses can cause someone to become frail enough to prevent them from properly conducting daily activities. Frailty that gets in the way of ADLs is a crucial physical sign that your loved one may not be able to remain independent any longer.

Beginning the search for assisted living can be daunting and you may need some help to decide whether or not your loved one really needs assisted living. Don’t be afraid to do some research or ask questions; ask your loved one’s primary care provider if they’ve noticed any important signs we mentioned above.

If it truly is time for assisted living, take your time to visit a variety of residential care providers. Ensure that they are aware of the difficulties your loved one is having and that they are able to support your loved one in their living choices.

When broaching the topic with your loved one, emphasize your concern for your loved one’s safety and explain that living alone may no longer be the safest option. Assisted living can grant you and your loved one peace of mind, knowing that a professional is providing care.

Max Gottlieb is the content editor for Senior Planning and Prime Medical in Phoenix, Arizona. Senior Planning provides free assistance to seniors, helping them apply for benefits and find a living situation that best fits their needs.

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