The choice to help an aging loved one move out of their home and into an assisted living community is a multifaceted one, comprised of emotional and practical elements.
Above all, you want the person to be well and safe.
How can you be certain that your loved one should no longer live alone?
Although every situation is unique, looking at the following 4 signs will provide valuable information to help make this important decision.
1. Big-picture signs it might be time for assisted living
Keep these red flags in mind. Certain situations make it more apparent that it’s wise to start considering alternative living arrangements.
- A chronic health condition that’s getting worse. Progressive problems such as congestive heart failure, dementia, and COPD can decline gradually or quickly, but either way, their existence means your loved one will eventually need help.
- A slow recovery. How did the person you are caring for weather the most recent illness (for example, a flu or bad cold)? Was he or she willing and able to seek medical care when needed, or did last winter’s cold turn into untreated bronchitis?
- Recent close calls or accidents. Did your loved one have a medical scare, take a fall, or get in a fender bender (or worse)? Who responded and what was the response time? Accidents do happen, but as people get older, the chances of them happening again increase.
2. Up-close signs it may be time for assisted living
Give your loved one a big squeeze. Clues aren’t always detectible from a distance; when you don’t see the person every day, you might gain more insight through touch.
- Changes in appearance. Does the person’s makeup and hair look all right? Are clothes unsoiled? Someone known for neatly ironed shirts who is now in a stained pullover may lack the dexterity for small buttons or may have lost the strength for managing an iron and ironing board. A formerly clean-shaven man with a disheveled beard may be forgetting to shave (or forgetting how to shave).
- Noticeable weight loss. Does the person feel smaller? Are clothes loose-fitting, or has he added notches to his belt? Many conditions, from cancer to depression, can cause weight loss. Someone who is having trouble getting out of the house to shop or remembering how to cook (or to eat) can lose weight; check the contents of their fridge and watch their meal preparation skills.
- Frailty. Do you feel something is “different” about the person’s stature and strength when you hug? Can your loved one easily rise from a chair? Does he or she seem unsteady or unable to balance? Compare these observations to the last time you were with each other.
3. Social indications it might be time for assisted living
Think about the person’s social connections realistically. Social circles tend to diminish with age, which can have safety and health implications.
- A plan for the worst-case scenario. If there is a flood, earthquake, fire, or other disaster, is someone on standby to provide assistance? Does your loved one understand what the plan entails and how to execute it?
- Days spent without leaving the house. This happens sometimes because the person can no longer drive or is afraid to use public transportation alone and lacks a companion to accompany them.While many older adults fear being “locked away” in a retirement community, many such facilities offer regular daytrips that may keep them more active and mobile, not less.
- Signs of active friendships. Does your loved one still get together for outings or lunches with friends, visit with neighbors, or participate in religious events or other group activities? Does he or she talk about others or keep a calendar of activities?Lack of companionship is associated with heart problems and depression in older adults. If friends have passed or moved away, relocating to a place where other people are around could be a lifesaver.
4. Money signs it could be time for assisted living
Riffle through the mail. Your loved one’s mail can offer indications as to how he or she is managing money, a common early warning sign of cognitive distress.
- Letters from insurers, creditors, or banks. Routine business letters aren’t worrisome. But it’s alarming if they’re referring to recent accidents, overdrawn balances, overdue payments, or other concerning events.
- Thank-you messages from charities. Older adults are often susceptible to scammers. Even those who have always been fiscally judicious are vulnerable if they are having trouble with thinking skills (a common sign of Alzheimer’s disease). Some charities hit up givers over and over, and your loved one may not remember having already donated.
- Unopened bills. This can indicate that your loved one is having difficulty managing finances — one of the most common initial signs of dementia.
The Staff at Hearthstone Senior Living Are Here To Help You
Taking care of an aging loved one can be extremely stressful for everyone involved. If you believe that it’s time to consider moving someone you love into an assisted living community or you’d like to learn more about our facilities, contact us today.
You can learn more about our living spaces, our staff, and our onsite health services by scheduling a tour for Hearthstone of Beaverton and/or Hearthstone at Murrayhill.
We provide direct access to a number of medical specialists and community staff members that are available 24 hours a day.
If your loved ones need support around personal organization, managing their medications, or any other type of assistance, our staff is ready to help.
12520 SW Hart Road
Beaverton, OR 97008
We are located at:
10880 SW Davies Rd
Beaverton, OR 97008
In case you happen to be in the area and would like to stop by!