We all want to do our best for our parents as they age and help them to live a fulfilling and independent life in their own home for as long as possible. However, the truth is that most of us will have to make the decision to move our elderly relatives into an assisted living facility at some point as their mental and physical health deteriorates. It’s not always easy to determine when the most appropriate time to do this is, though. Of course, we don’t want to push our mom or dad to make the transition when they’re not ready, but equally, we fear leaving it too late in case something goes wrong. To help you in making this decision, here are five signs that it’s time to move your loved one into senior living.
Your parent is unable to carry out daily activities
Daily activities cover everything from bathing and dressing to cooking and cleaning – all of those necessary tasks that we do without thinking when we’re younger but start to pose difficulties in old age. Unfortunately, our parents might not always tell us if they’re struggling, so here are some warning signs to keep an eye out for:
- A lack of food in the house or the presence of lots of expired food
- Rapid weight loss
- Wearing dirty, unwashed, or untidy clothes
- Issues with personal hygiene
- Mess, dirt, and clutter around the house
- Neglected pets
- Becoming irritable or defensive
Some of these issues can be addressed by making adjustments in the home, for example, putting in a stairlift, fixing handrails in the bathroom, and signing up for a meal delivery service. In other cases hiring someone to do chores such as clean the house and do the laundry can be a handy solution. However, if your mom or dad is struggling with a wide range of activities, that may well be a sign that it’s time to make the move to assisted living.
You have concerns about your parent’s safety
Safety is often one of the biggest concerns we have for our aging parents and can take many different forms. Perhaps you’re worried about scammers targeting your loved one, that they will suffer a fall in the house, or that they are not taking their medication properly. If you are concerned about memory lapses, there might also be a risk that your mom or dad will wander off and get disoriented or that they will forget to turn off appliances and create a fire hazard.
Again, some of these worries can be addressed by lifestyle adjustments. For instance, you can give your parent an emergency button to wear around their neck, which means they can call for assistance if they have a fall and are unable to get up. However, unless you are able to provide care around the clock, safety issues are one of the major signs that moving to a senior living center is the best choice.
Your parent requires specialist medical care
As we age, it’s only natural for our mental and physical health to deteriorate. In many cases, the conditions that arise are manageable, but some are more serious and require specialist medical attention. While it’s possible to hire a nurse to come to your parent’s home to provide such care, as their needs become more demanding, the likelihood is that assisted living will be the best option. At a facility such as https://www.belmontvillage.com/, there will be trained medical staff on-site at all times to provide treatment, care, and therapies. This can reduce the need for frequent hospital visits and medical appointments, ensure that medication is properly managed, and improve overall health and wellbeing. Even if your parent doesn’t have the need for specialist medical care in such facilities, they will have access to nutritious food, exercise classes, wellbeing programs, and much more in order to help boost their mood, independence, and quality of life.
Your parent is socially isolated
It might sound surprising, but loneliness and social isolation are among the most pressing concerns facing senior citizens in the US today. Just like smoking and obesity, loneliness can increase the risk of a number of health conditions and even premature death. If your parent lives alone and doesn’t know many people in their local area, a move to a senior living facility can be a great opportunity for them to meet people, make friends, and engage in a wide range of fun activities and outings to places of interest.
Of course, if social isolation is the only problem they’re having, you can absolutely tackle this without having to move your mom or dad to assisted living. Try encouraging them to join a local community group aimed at seniors, for example, a book club or exercise class. The key factor is to ensure that they are getting some social interaction with friends or family on a regular basis, in whatever form they most enjoy.
You are unable to look after your parent by yourself
We often feel a lot of guilt when considering moving our parents into a senior living facility; however, it’s important to be realistic about the level of care and support that you can provide. Caregiving can be a stressful experience and have serious impacts on the life of the caregiver. This is true both financially and emotionally. It’s vital that you don’t allow yourself to burn out or put too much pressure on yourself. This isn’t what your parent would want either and can have negative impacts on your relationship.
If you find that your own mental or physical health is suffering, this is a clear sign that it’s time to think about switching to assisted living. This in no way means that you have failed or are abandoning your parent. In fact, it will most likely allow you to have a better relationship with them and be advantageous to both your wellbeing and theirs. Remember you can visit them as often as you like, with the bonus that you’ll enjoy your time together more.