When is it Time for Assisted Living?
Sometimes, caring for someone becomes too much and although we may want to overlook the common signs, assisted living could be a necessity. For older people, activities of daily living (ADLs) can become more difficult, time-consuming, or impossible without the help of someone else. When someone is unable to perform even the simplest ADLs such as bathing, dressing, or using the restroom unaided; you may not have the time to give the proper care. Other activities include doing the laundry, driving, keeping track of medications, picking up medications, cooking, and grocery shopping. It is often difficult to move an older person out of their home, but the main priority is to make sure your loved one is safe and healthy in the long run.
Recent falls or accidents are red flags indicating that it is time for assisted living. If someone has fallen, it usually means they need more supervision or assistance than they are being given. Naturally, as we age, the risk of falling increases, but this is no excuse to keep someone living alone if they have fallen. Also, if living alone, is the elderly person able to seek medical attention when they become sick, or do illnesses go untreated? Oftentimes, seniors become unable to drive and rather than ask for help, become increasingly isolated. If unable to seek medical attention, ailments develop into chronic conditions and worsen dramatically. When a person has a condition that worsens over time, they need the assistance of a skilled nursing staff to receive the necessary care.
Beyond the clear example of falling, sometimes someone begins exhibiting less noticeable signs that it is time for assisted living. If you see a loss in weight, someone forgetting to eat, or even less groceries in the house than usual, it could mean the person is losing the ability to feed him or her self. As it becomes harder to make it to the supermarket, some elderly people begin skipping meals altogether, resulting in an unhealthy diet. The more meals skipped, the more malnourished a person can become. This makes people more fragile, less likely to exercise, and more susceptible to illness. Things like this can be stopped with the proper monitoring and aid, but watch for these signs.
Inevitably, with age comes reduced mobility, balance, and strength. However, an inability to use the stairs, clean the house, get up from a chair without risking falling, or to get in/out of a car are signs that should not be ignored. When you go to your loved one’s home, is there clutter that wasn’t there before? Clutter and an unkempt house are among the leading risks for falls. In some instances, people become unable to clean up after themselves due to neurological issues. Spills left unattended, dirty dishes, or old food left out can all be signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s.
You may need help to truly determine if your loved one needs assisted living, but don’t be afraid to ask questions. There are plenty of resources available. You can continue to research online, talk to a primary care physician, or even find a social worker. When talking to someone about moving, it is important to place an emphasis on your concern for their safety. Assisted living can grant you much needed peace of mind, knowing your loved one is being cared for by professionals.
Jacob Edward is the manager of Arizona based companies Prime Medical Alert and Senior Planning. Jacob founded both companies in 2007 and has helped many Arizona seniors and their families navigate the process of long term care planning. In his spare time, Jacob enjoys dining out and supporting his alma mater Arizona State's Sun Devil sports teams. Jacob lives in Tempe, Arizona