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7 Signs a Senior Needs to Go to an Assisted Living Facility

July 26, 2022
7 Signs a Senior Needs to Go to an Assisted Living Facility

As we age, our bodies change, and our minds start to lose some of their clarity. When you notice your loved one is having difficulty with their daily tasks, it's important to know that there are options for them to live safely and comfortably. The decision to move into an assisted living facility can be difficult because it means saying goodbye to the life you've known for so long. It's also something we don't want our loved ones to have to go through alone.

Signs it’s time for senior assisted living

You Live Alone and Requires Assistance

If you are a senior living alone, an assisted living facility may be your best option. These facilities provide seniors with services that can help them with their daily activities and minimize the stress of living alone. They also offer 24-hour supervision and care, which is excellent for seniors recovering from a severe illness or injury.

Preparing a Meal is Becoming Cumbersome

Food preparation can be very time-consuming, and the physical effort required to prepare a meal can be strenuous. As you might imagine, this is especially true for older people with arthritis or other conditions that make it difficult to bend and reach, as well as lift and carry heavy items.

You Need to be Reminded About Your Medication

You’ve been taking your medication faithfully for years, but now that you are getting older, it seems like you are forgetting to take them. Your family members and friends notice this too. They see you mumbling about forgetting to take your medicine, or they realize that the bottle is empty when they go to fill up your water glass. You may start having trouble remembering where the medicine is stored in the house or even what kind of medications should be taken.

Healthcare Supervision is Required

Many underlying health concerns can cause a person to not be capable of being left alone. There could be issues with fatigue and drowsiness that cause a fall or essential nutritional needs that are not being met while they are living on their own.

You are in Need of Companionship

Companionship is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing an assisted living facility. If you feel alone, it can be a huge stressor and will likely lower your quality of life. Many seniors struggle with feeling isolated in their homes or apartment. Friends have moved away, and family members are busy with their own lives, so they don't get to see each other as often as they used to. When you live alone, it's easy for this type of isolation to take over your life — but if you're living in an assisted living community, there will always be someone else around who is happy for some company.

Domestic Responsibilities are Becoming Overwhelming

As people age, they often start forgetting things. It can be hard for them to remember where they placed their keys or what day of the week it is. This makes it difficult for them when they need to remember things like how much milk they bought last time at the grocery store, what bills need to be paid, and how many pills they should take each day. It can also be problematic for seniors who live alone to clean up after themselves or do laundry because there’s no one around reminding them that their clothes need washing or that there’s food sitting out on the countertop getting moldy in the refrigerator.

Your Safety and Well-being are at Risk

As you age, your ability to be independent becomes more difficult. As a result, it's important to ensure that your loved one has access to all the resources they need to keep themselves safe and healthy. Assisted living facilities tend to have fewer stairs, handrails everywhere, and fewer appliances that require formal intervention.

When is it Time to Consider Nursing Homes?

A nursing home provides far more medical treatment and maintenance than an assisted living facility. These are designed with the well-being and safety of each resident in mind first before anything else. They are often staffed by registered nurses and LPNs that understand and have experience in geriatric care. Typical signs to watch for include:

Worsening Medical Condition

If your loved one has a medical condition that is worsening, it may be time to consider a nursing home. This can be especially true if your elderly loved one has a chronic condition that requires frequent doctor's visits, medications, and other treatments. 

If you have an elderly loved one who is suffering from Alzheimer's disease or another form of dementia and is not able to live alone anymore, this could also be an indication they need assistance. As the condition worsens and the symptoms become more severe, residential care centers can offer safety in a safe environment where they can receive specialized care during their final years.

Unexpected Weight Loss

There are a number of medical conditions that can affect your appetite. For example, you may lose weight if you have dementia and find it difficult to eat or swallow. You may also lose weight if you're depressed and don't want to eat. The same goes for people who are undergoing treatment for cancer or other diseases that affect the digestive tract, such as Crohn's disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), celiac disease, ulcerative colitis, diverticulitis, and pancreatitis.

Significant Memory Loss

Memory loss is a normal part of aging, but significant memory loss can also be a sign of Alzheimer's disease, depression, dementia, and other brain-related health problems. Memory loss due to these conditions typically begins gradually and becomes more pronounced over time. If you notice that your loved one.

Drastic Mood Swings

If a person is prone to mood swings, this can be a sign that something is wrong. Sometimes, there are medical reasons for mood swings, like depression or dementia. However, other times the problem may lie with medication side effects. Moodiness can also be an indicator of aging and the general changes our bodies go through as we get older.

Assisted Living Facility: 6 Things to Consider

When you are looking for an assisted living facility, there are some things to consider. You want a comprehensive overview of the facility to ensure you or your loved one will be treated with dignity and respect as they age. This should be a location that matches the quality of life, budget, and activity expectations of your future. Think about:

Location

The location of an assisted living facility can be critical. Not only does it need to be close to your senior's home and family, but it must also have easy access to necessary services. Many people opt for an assisted living community that offers transportation services so they can get out of the house and take advantage of local entertainment venues, medical facilities, shopping, and dining options.

Size

Assisted living facilities come in all sizes. In fact, some are small enough to be called “assisted apartment complexes” or “assisted retirement communities.” But if you have a loved one who is rapidly becoming less mobile, then it's time for them to start thinking about moving into an assisted living facility. Most are in the style of college campuses or resorts with many amenities and supportive services.

Services

The types of services provided by the assisted living facility are critical to the quality of life of the residents. Specific benefits to watch for include:

  • Companionship/Socialization
  • Light Housework
  • Meal Preparation
  • Errands & Transportation Assistance
  • Activities
  • Unique facilities (library, computers, game room, pool, etc.)

Transitions to Higher Care

You may want to consider moving your loved one into a senior living community if they are unable to live on their own because of medical reasons such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. A senior living community provides similar services as assisted living, but with less supervision needed for daily activities like dressing and bathing. Many of these facilities will have transitional options for those residents that need memory care, specialized nursing care, and more.

Cost

Assisted living costs vary greatly depending on location, services offered, and other factors—and it can get pricey very quickly. The cost of assisted living facilities can be subsidized by insurance (if you have long-term care coverage) or by the government (through Medicaid). However, these programs usually provide only partial assistance. You may still need to foot part of the bill themselves or receive assistance from family members.

Culture

One of the most important things to know about a facility is its culture. The culture of an assisted living facility is often the first thing that residents notice, and it can make a big difference in their quality of life. A good culture can inspire staff members to do their best work, as well as give residents opportunities to meet others and contribute to the community.

Making the Choice

The first step to making the decision is doing your research. Ask around and find out about the facility's reputation, including whether or not they have a good safety record. You should also visit the facility and speak with current residents or staff members to learn more about what it's like there. You should look for a place that has policies that align with your personality and preferences.

If you've noticed multiple signs that your loved one can no longer manage independently, it's probably time to explore your options for assisted living facilities. This is a big decision, and it shouldn't be taken lightly.

You must consult with family members and friends when considering moving into an assisted living facility so that everyone involved understands the level of care needed before making any changes in lifestyle or moving out of their home altogether. 

Take your time and think about what you want your golden years to look like before making a final decision.

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