How To Know its Time For Assisted Living Back
It is often difficult to recognize the signs that your loved ones may need to seriously consider moving to an assisted living community. The main thing to consider is that you too may be in denial. Children don’t want to see their parents or older loved ones suffer but they also have a hard time of letting go of the ways things were. You have to do what is best for everyone. Look for these signs and remember some are more obvious than others.
Overall Health Signs:
Do they have a chronic health condition that is worsening (COPD, congestive heart failure, dementia)? These conditions will cause your loved one to need help on a continuous basis. How was the recovery time on their last cold, flu or sinus infection? Were they able to get the medical attention they needed in time and heal quickly before it turned into something more serious?
Has your loved one fallen or suffered an accident lately? Accidents do happen but have you noticed that they are more frail and finding that they are unable to manage their daily living activities. Daily Living Activities are a huge sign to look for. These are dressing, cooking, laundry, managing their medications and being able to shop and do what it takes to live alone successfully.
Have they lost or gained weight. If you hug them, do they feel like they are going to break? There are different reasons for losing weight but if they cannot shop for themselves or cannot cook, they will lose weight. Weight loss can be a sign of many things but unless they are truly working on losing weight you must take note. Weight gain could mean that they do not remember eating so they are constantly eating. Watch for signs of dementia and diabetes.
Has their appearance or smell changed? Personal hygiene habits that change suddenly is a great sign of depression or injury. If they don’t have the energy to take a shower or brush their teeth or can’t remember if they already did you must truly consider what is going on. Check their buttons to see if they are getting them closed because this may be a lack of dexterity or forgetfulness.
Consider your loved ones social activity before to now. Do they have active friendships? Did they once do bunco nights once a month and now they don’t even speak of it? Do they talk about appointments and if they forgot them or kept them. Did they stop going to the library or walking in the neighborhood to say hello to neighbors? Do they simply stay inside their home all day without seeing the sun at all? Older loved ones that are feeling the loss of companionship can suffer from depression and heart problems. Getting your loved ones around other people in an assisted living community will help them tremendously. Are they still driving? Were they once in love with their car and now it looks like teenagers own it? Is it dirty, does it have dents that are not accounted for? When is the last time they drove with you in the car? Have them take you for a drive. Check if they put on their seatbelts and didn’t forget to use turning signals or get easily distracted. They may not be attending events because they can’t remember how to drive or the directions of getting some places that they used to go for years. If they are a danger to themselves and others it is time to take those keys away from them.
Are you seeing piles of mail with them not being opened? Are they getting the bills out of the mailbox or is the mailbox full because they aren’t checking the mail? Your loved one’s mail can offer a great insight into how they are doing. If they were once always checking their mail and pay every bill early or on time and now you are seeing collection notices, this is a huge red flag that there may be cognitive trouble.
What are they eating? Look to see how fresh their food is and check on signs if they have noticed if food is molding or expired. Are they purchasing the same item 5 times because they do not remember that they have already bought it? Are the microwave, toaster and washing machine working? Have they burnt things in the kitchen and not told you? Look for clutter in the living room. A once clean house that is now dirty or cluttered is a sign that there may be physical limitations. How are their plants doing? Did you find once thriving plants now dead, needing water or just gone? How is the yard? Is the once perfectly manicured yard now a shamble or look neglected?
How are your loved ones pets? Have the dogs or cats gone to the vet lately as scheduled or was the appointment missed? Are the dogs being fed on schedule as they typically have been or are they under/over fed? Are they groomed like always or in desperate need of grooming? Not being able to care for a pet can sometimes be a sign that one cannot help themselves either. Keep a close eye on this.
Trust in you and family:
Your instincts are probably right but make sure you are not in denial yourself and weigh out the truths of the situation. Talk to your family and get insight from them as well. Talk to old friends or close relatives and seek out their opinions. Listen to the comments made about them missing dates or quitting the book club, questions about their health, etc.
Start to research and find a good assisted living community. You will be pleasantly surprised at how much it will help your loved ones.