When is it Time to Move to Assisted Living

Knowing when it may be time to move into an assisted living community can be hard to determine. There are physical and social signs that may be indicators that you or a loved one may need more help. This guide aims to help those who may be wondering if it could be time to consider assisted living.

Below is a list of some physical signs:

  • Personal hygiene is lacking
  • Clothes are dirty
  • Disheveled appearance
  • The refrigerator is bare or has spoiled food
  • Poor appetite and eating habits
  • Unopened mail
  • Unpaid bills
  • Falling victim to scams targeting the elderly
  • Medication not taken as prescribed or refills not being ordered
  • Dishes stacked in the sink
  • House is in a state of disarray or unclean- inside or outside
  • The car has unexplained dents, dings, and scratches
  • No longer interested in hobbies

Many things can be the cause for a senior to be struggling at home:  

  • Loneliness because of isolation and a diminishing circle of friends
  • Boredom
  • Chronic illness
  • Poor nutrition
  • Mobility has become harder and more challenging
  • Depression
  • Hearing loss
  • Vision issues
  • Pain
  • Weather

The answer to ‘is my loved one ready for assisted living’ can be very simple, but a senior’s fear of losing their independence often complicates it. Most often, that loss of independence has already happened. Sometimes the fear of leaving what is familiar to the unfamiliar can be frightening for anyone. Somehow, living alone is the banner of which the flag of independence flies for many seniors. In reality, though, they have already lost their independence simply because they are living in an environment that is no longer suited for their abilities.

Too Much House

Living in a home that is too big or not as safe as a senior may need. I have worked with so many families whose loved ones were living in the home where they raised their children in. The bedrooms are on the second story and the laundry room is in the basement. There were also stairs to get into the home. Homes that are not senior-friendly can be hazardous. One elderly gentleman that insisted on staying in the family home was on the stairs, bringing a laundry basket up from the basement. He lost his balance with a misstep, fell backward, and cracked his head on the concrete basement floor. He had died and was found a few days later.

Mobility Problems

Mobility issues make it harder to grocery shop or stand to prepare nutritious meals. Good nutrition will suffer. Good nutrition is important to maintain mental clarity and healing. Loss of mobility can also mean a senior can no longer do what they once loved. Fingers aren’t nimble enough to crochet or their vision is impaired where woodworking is no longer an option. Reading can be a challenge and driving at night or at all is no longer possible. A senior’s world can shrink and it can happen in a series of small steps or it might be because of a more catastrophic happening, such as an illness or stroke.

Assisted living can be a perfect solution to give back the independence a senior needs and wants. The ability to wake up every day and have the care and support needed to live a full life is what assisted living is all about.

For a senior who decides to ‘right-size’ their living space and come into assisted living, the struggles of living alone disappear. Help is available to support a resident to succeed every day. What was once a life filled with lonely days is now filled with exciting things to do and places to go. For the woman who could no longer crochet because of arthritic fingers, enjoy visiting with the women in the weekly crochet club, helping them design their next quilts. The man who could no longer use the equipment in his woodshop enjoys all the hand tools in the community’s workshop and the camaraderie of other fellow woodworkers. For the seniors who had to give up driving, appreciate the transportation provided to medical appointments, shopping, and community outings. Dining is now a fun experience to share well-prepared meals with friends.

Every day, residents can decide what they want to do, what they want to eat, and who they want to socialize with. They aren’t worried about maintaining a home, doing laundry, asking or waiting for help from family, or being bored or lonely. They are at peace knowing that a caring staff is attentive to their personal care needs. This is independence! With the thousands of seniors and families I have helped to find the right community, I have heard over and over, “I wish I did this sooner.”

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