More than 800,000 people in the United States reside in assisted living facilities, according to the American Health Care Association. With technological and healthcare advances, people are living longer, which means the number of assisted living residents will continue to grow. How do we know when it’s time for our elderly parents and loved ones to take this step? For some, it’s easy to see the signs, while for others, it can be difficult to know when to make that decision.
Read on to learn about some of the signs that it’s time for your senior loved one to enter assisted living. Paying attention and looking out for these signs will help you avoid a crisis or situation that requires immediate action.
1. Chronic Health Issues
Chronic health issues and illnesses are one of the biggest indicators of the need for assisted living. These conditions only get worse with age and contribute to compromised immunity. If your elderly loved one is suffering or needs attention on a 24-hour basis, you may want to move them to a facility that fully meets their medical needs and provides ongoing attention. Proper medical care can improve seniors’ quality of life, bolster their health and increase their life span.
2. Frequent Falls & Loss of Mobility
Frequent falls are another important sign to watch for—even simple stumbles can lead to severe injury or death in seniors. If your senior loved one is home alone and falls, they may not be able to call for help, which could exacerbate the injury, make recovery more difficult and put their life in danger. If your senior loved one has trouble walking and is falling more often, it may be time to move to a facility where they can be monitored consistently. Too many falls can have a snowball effect and be extremely detrimental to a senior’s health, especially if they have osteoporosis or weak bones. If they sprain, fracture or break a bone it can make them more susceptible to other injuries and even lead to long-term disability.
3. Increasing Aggressiveness
Mood swings and aggressive behavior are symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease that worsen as the diseases progress. Seniors suffering from these diseases often experience Sundowner’s syndrome as well, a condition in which getting tired at the end of the day causes them to grow restless, agitated, irritable and confused. This type of behavior can be too much for family and caregivers to deal with on their own. Assisted living provides specialized, comprehensive care with professionals trained to deal with these situations.
4. Isolation & Lack of Socialization
Seniors tend to drive and venture out less, which often leads to feelings of loneliness, isolation, sadness and even depression. Isolation, whether intentional or not, is associated with cognitive decline and is a risk factor for early mortality. If your loved one has stopped participating in social activities and goes for days without leaving the house, ask them if they would like to change their living situation. Assisted living facilities offer a variety of activities and opportunities for interaction, from bingo and card games to stretching classes and special events that will boost their mood.
5. Forgetting to Take Medications
Failure to take medications and follow health protocols is another important sign to watch out for. If a senior forgets whether they took a medication or not, they could take too much or too little, either of which can be disastrous.
6. Inability to Handle Day-to-Day Activities
If your senior loved one struggles with basic activities like cooking, cleaning, and personal hygiene, this indicates that it may be time to change their living situation. Inability to perform basic tasks leads to malnutrition, weight loss, and physical decline, as well as unsanitary household conditions. This lack of ability signifies that it’s time to talk to your loved one about finding a place to relax and enjoy their twilight years.
Making the transition to assisted living can be a sensitive topic to tackle, but if you think it’s time for a senior in your life to enter an assisted living facility, start the conversation now. With our compassionate approach and incredible facilities, we can help you find the perfect senior-focused lifestyle, amenities and care programs for the loved ones in your life.