There may come a time when older loved ones need ongoing care at an assisted living facility. The question for many families is how do you know when it's time to move their loved one out of their home and into assisted living?
Here are 12 signs that it may be time to consider transitioning an older adult into a full-time care community
1. The older adult’s care needs exceed what you can provide
If an older person in your family is declining in health, mobility, and mental acuity, it might become too difficult for you to handle the increasing duties of care. Assisted care facilities are staffed with trained healthcare professionals who can provide optimal care 24/7, ensuring that your loved one is comfortable and well looked after.
2. They begin to wander
Wandering is a considerable risk for people with Alzheimer's disease or dementia. Sneaking out of the house unaccompanied puts an older adult in danger of becoming lost or injured. This risk is heightened if someone attempts to drive. If wandering becomes a serious concern, it might be prudent to consider an assisted living facility. These facilities feature enhanced security features that ensure residents are safe and accounted for at all times.
3. The older adult is in and out of the hospital
An ill, frequently hospitalized older person may require 24-hour care by trained healthcare professionals. Moving someone to an assisted living facility provides the necessary medical support they may need without the physical and emotional toll that repeated hospitalizations can take on the entire family.
4. The person exhibits aggressive behavior
Some older adults, often those diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease or dementia, can behave violently or aggressively. This situation is not only emotionally taxing but also puts you, the older adult, and anyone else in the immediate vicinity at risk of serious injury. As the behavior progresses, it may be time to consider assisted living, where staff is trained to de-escalate situations with empathy and support.
5. They make mistakes taking their medications
Errors in properly taking medication can be dangerous for older people. Assisted living communities provide help with medication management and many other healthcare services that bring peace of mind to the older adult and their family.
6. Your loved one has trouble maintaining proper hygiene
An older person may be neglecting good hygienic habits such as bathing, brushing teeth, washing hair, and shaving due to physical limitations or forgetfulness. It may be uncomfortable for family members to assist in these areas, so it might be time to consider assisted living. Your loved one will get assistance with these tasks by trained staff who can provide support while maintaining the older adult’s dignity and self-respect.
7. They seem overwhelmed by daily tasks
Everyday activities like vacuuming, dusting, laundry, cleaning the bathroom, and making the bed get more complicated and stressful for older adults as they age or are ailing. If they're living in an unsanitary or unhealthy environment because they cannot take care of these tasks anymore, it might be time to consider a move to an assisted living community, where all of these services and more are provided.
8. The older person lacks access to proper nutrition
Many older people don't go grocery shopping due to a lack of transportation or physical energy. They also might not be motivated to cook healthy meals, especially if they live independently. Moving to an assisted living facility will give them access to a diverse menu of fresh, healthy meals customizable to conform to your loved one's personal needs, tastes, or requirements.
9. Your loved one has become increasingly isolated
Illness and mobility issues can prevent older people from seeing friends or participating in activities they enjoy. If they live alone, they may become bored and disinterested in social activities. Both of these situations can lead to mental health issues such as depression. Assisted living centers offer ample opportunities to socialize with the friendly staff and fellow residents during movie nights, fitness classes, game nights, and more.
10. In-home care has become too expensive
As your loved one ages, especially if they're diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, dementia, or other degenerative conditions, the demand for in-home care will increase, increasing your costs. At this point, it would be prudent to compare the prices of keeping the older person at home vs. living in an assisted living community. You might find that the value offered with assisted living outweighs any advantages provided by in-home caregiving.
11. Caregiving is impacting your mental and physical health
Caring for an older loved one is a noble duty. However, when it starts to affect your mental or physical health, leaving you exhausted, depressed, and disconnected from your family, friends, and activities you enjoy, it's time to consider a change. You might feel guilty about not continuing caring for your parents, but consider that you won't be able to provide them with adequate care if your health is being negatively affected. You can still visit and participate in their care plan while they’re in assisted living, which helps take care of your own well-being at the same time.
12. Your loved one's doctor recommends assisted living
Your loved one’s primary care physician takes a detached view of their situation. They'll provide insight and advice that will bring comfort and peace of mind if you're unsure about the move to assisted living. Your loved one might also feel more secure and welcoming about the decision if their healthcare professional thinks the transition is a good idea.
Find the Right Assisted Living Community
Moving an older loved one to an assisted living facility can be a difficult choice to make. However, when you're in one or more of the above scenarios, it might be the wisest move for both the older adult and your family.
When you need assistance finding the right assisted living community in Southern Maine, call Assisted Living Locators. Our team specializes in connecting older adults and their families with assisted living options that best suit their needs and budget.
Throughout the entire process, we're on your side making sure that all of your questions are answered and that you have all the information you need to make an informed decision.
Assisted Living Locators of Portland, Maine cares about finding the best assisted living accommodations for the older adult in your life. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.