Senior Decisions: When It’s Time to Consider Assisted Living

We are very fortunate this blog post to have a guest blogger–Lydia Chan. Lydia is the co-creator of Alzheimerscaregiver.net, which provides tips and resources to help caregivers. Today, she writes about when it might be time to consider assisted living. Lydia can be reached at lydia@alzheimerscaregiver.net.

Photo by Pixabay

As your parents or other loved ones get older, you may have to help them decide the best place to live. While many older adults would like to stay in their current homes throughout their golden years, for many seniors assisted living is a better option.

Sometimes it’s difficult to determine whether your loved one can continue to live on their own. However, some signs may emerge that it’s time to consider assisted living.

What is assisted living?

After55 explains that assisted living facilities are long-term care options that offer personal, medical, and social support for people who need assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as eating, dressing, toileting, showering, and mobility. Assisted living can also provide help with instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) such as communication skills, transportation, meal preparation, shopping, housework, medication management, and financial assistance.

Downturn in health

If your loved one is suffering from health problems that have been getting worse, they have fallen more than once, or they have been forgetting to take their medications, it may be time to move into assisted living.

With nurses on staff and medication administration available, assisted living can provide a safe environment for older people who are experiencing these types of issues. However, when researching assisted living in your area, you will need to determine if the facility is capable of handling their needs. Assisted living communities typically have scheduled times for licensed nursing services and may have on-call nurses, but they do not have 24/7 skilled nursing care or handle medically intensive needs like a skilled nursing community. These facilities fill important needs, but there are expenses involved. As Medicare.org explains, there are several options for covering the cost, like self-insurance and government assistance. If your loved one is heading into a nursing home, decide what your best route for payment is.

Social isolation

Social isolation is a serious problem among seniors. Some research indicates social isolation can lead to high blood pressure, weakened immunity, and obesity, as well as cognitive decline and depression. Signs of social isolation include a disinterest in activities they used to enjoy, refusing help from aides or neighbors, lack of personal hygiene, and growing irritability.

If your parent, friend, or relative does not have someone to check on them regularly or a group of peers to socialize with, then assisted living may be the answer to combat social isolation. Assisted living communities offer common meals, social activities, wellness programs, and supervision by staff. Therefore, your loved one can have their social needs met as well as the supervision they need in this stage of their lives.

Talking to Your Loved One About Assisted Living

Broaching the subject of moving out of their home and into assisted living can be extremely difficult if your loved one highly values their independence. Though they will need to leave their familiar home and relinquish some of that independence, you need to have an honest yet sensitive discussion, stressing the benefits of assisted living. Senior Path suggests encouraging other friends or family members to participate in the conversation with you, and you might need to touch base with your loved one’s doctor for information.

You can point out that assisted living communities offer a safer environment with daily living assistance and available nursing care. Seniors are housed in an apartment-like environment with their own space, but also have the convenience of prepared meals and social opportunities. By explaining all of these benefits and other details about assisted living, your loved one may welcome the idea.

If your parent or another person you care about has growing health problems, lacks social interaction, or needs help with daily living activities, it may be time to transition to a new environment. Though they may be resistant about leaving their current home and neighborhood, the benefits of an assisted living community may help them live a longer, happier, and healthier life. It’s worth it to approach this difficult subject and weigh the options carefully.

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