A major health crisis or fall many times is the signal that a loved one is in need of more care. But before a crisis situation forces a move to a senior care facility, there are smaller signs that you can be on the lookout for which hint that it may be time to for your loved one to make the move.
Making the decision that your loved one is no longer safe living alone is a complex and often emotionally-charged process. Although every situation is different, many times assisted living facilities offer the help and security that aging adults need. Residents are able to keep the independence they desire while receiving help with daily living tasks (bathing, dressing, etc.) when required.
Being observant of your loved one’s behavior and any changes that may be occurring can help make the decision that it’s time for assisted living care. The following signs may give you the answers and confidence you need in your decision-making process.
1). Physical signs it might be time for assisted living
Certain big-picture situations, such as recent accidents, chronic health conditions, or difficulty managing activities of daily living, make it obvious that a loved one is in need of more care. But up-close signs can also reveal the need for more care. Look for physical changes in your loved one, like noticeable weight loss or gain, seeming more frail, strange body odor, or other changes in appearance. Giving your loved one a close hug is often all that is needed to expose these physical changes.
2). Social signs it might be time for assisted living
Has your loved one’s social interactions and relationships fallen to the wayside? Shrinking social circles often come with aging, but a loss of social connection can have major health and safety implications. Look for signs of active friendships with your loved one. Does he/she still get together for outings with neighbors or friends, or has your loved one cut back on social activity? If your loved one no longer shows interest in relationships, hobbies, or is home-bound, depression can easily set in. Moving to an assisted living facility with an active social calendar can dramatically change an individual’s mental health.
3). Home maintenance signs that it might be time for assisted living
Managing a household can be challenging for any of us, but it is especially challenging for those with age-related physical or mental decline. Next time you are at your loved one’s home, look for signs of neglect – such as piles of unopened mail and bills, stale or expired food in the fridge, extra clutter, broken appliances, or lax housekeeping. Finding multiples of the same item in the pantry can reveal an issue with memory loss as your loved one may have trouble remembering from one shopping trip to the next what he/she has in stock at home.
Notice actions that seem particularly strange for your unique loved one. For example, a former green thumb’s plants dying, a pet-lover’s dog being neglected, or a gardener’s yard being overrun with weeds are all red flags that your loved one’s memory or physical ability may be declining.
4). Driving signs that it might be time for assisted living
To live independently, the ability to drive is often a requirement. If your loved one is still driving, catch a ride and take notice of any irregularities. Does your loved one still follow basic rules of the road, such as using turn signals and fastening their seatbelt? Are there any dents or scratches on the car that point to careless driving? Is basic maintenance still being performed on the car, such as oil changes and sufficient gas? Tailgating, drifting from the lane, or going well-below the speed limit are signs of dangerous driving that shouldn’t be ignored.
5). Caregiver signs that it might be time for assisted living
It is not only your loved one’s well-being that needs to be considered. If extra care is being given by family or friends, the physical strain and stress level of everyone involved needs to be measured. If keeping someone in their own home is putting a strain on the caregiver’s own well-being or family/spouse relationship, then it may be time to look for a better solution.
If your loved one seems to be thriving in their own home and is retaining many close community and neighborhood connections but is in need of some help with basic tasks, an in-home care service may be the answer. But if your loved one is becoming more anxious, lonely, having memory issues, or feeling physically-strained by living in their own home, then a move to assisted living may be just what they need to boost their emotional well-being and secure their safety. By taking these signs into consideration and developing more of an understanding of your loved one’s needs, you can become more confident and comfortable in making the right decision for his or her care.
For more information, call (309) 367-4300 or visit www.snydervillage.com/assisted-living.