Making the decision to go into assisted living is never easy. It’s an emotional decision that often means leaving the family home and sacrificing a sense of independence. At some point, however, it’s a decision that has to be made.
Understanding when it’s time to move to assisted living will look different for everyone. Here are five signs that it’s time to consider this transition.
Signs of Cognitive Decline
One of the most telling signs that it’s time to consider assisted living is cognitive decline. It’s natural to become forgetful as we get older. Yet, there’s a tipping point when forgetfulness starts to become a safety issue. For example, if someone forgets to turn off the stove, pay important bills, or starts to get confused about where they are, it’s time to consider assisted living.
According to the experts at Bel Air Assisted Living, forgetfulness is especially problematic when medication management is involved. Someone who has to take medication at specific times to manage medical issues is at significant risk if they start forgetting whether or not they took it.
Widowhood and Isolation
Another sign that it’s time to consider assisted living or moving to a seniors’ community is social isolation. Many widowers find themselves socially isolated and combating loneliness after their partner has passed. In these scenarios, the individual might not need additional medical support; they just need socializing opportunities.
For many widowers or those facing social isolation, the primary challenge comes down to convenience. If the person is unable to drive or lacks the resources to find opportunities to socialize, they withdraw. Moving to an assisted living or retirement community makes it easier to stay connected and engaged.
Mobility Limitations and Restrictions
Mobility limitations and restrictions — especially after an injury — are another sign that it could be time to move into assisted living. If getting around the house is a challenge, or the individual lives in a multi-story building, moving around can be a safety issue.
Fortunately, there are plenty of steps to take before moving to an assisted living facility. From safety bars to mobile alert systems, there are several tools to help seniors maintain their independence. However, when these mobility issues arise, it’s wise to look at other options and start planning for the future.
Difficulty With Home Maintenance
Maintaining a home is a lot of work, especially if there are physical and mental health considerations. Again, there are several options to help a person maintain their independence for as long as possible. Family members can assist with some tasks, and you can hire local companies or youth to fill the gaps.
Again, at some point, these options may not be enough. Furthermore, signs of hoarding and extra clutter could be a subtle sign of cognitive decline. If you notice an aging loved one struggling to stay ahead of their home maintenance, consider having a conversation about getting additional support.
Caregiver Challenges or Burnouts
Being a caregiver can pose emotional, physical and financial challenges. Playing this role can lead to the very real issue of caregiver burnout. As the years go by, the workload of the caregiver increases, leading to exhaustion and financial stress.
At some point, it may not be feasible to help your senior loved one stay at home. When this time comes, it’s crucial to have a frank conversation and explore other options. Caregivers often struggle to advocate for themselves, especially in tense family situations. While many people avoid assisted living for as long as possible due to financial concerns, it eventually costs more in wellness and caregiver burnout to stay at home.
Knowing the right time to discuss assisted living will be different for everyone. Use these five signs as guidelines for learning when it’s time to have that talk.