How Do You Know When It’s Time for Assisted Living?
Knowing when it’s time for assisted living for your aging parent, friend or relative can be challenging. If your loved one needs help with activities of daily living or is socially isolated, it may be time. On one hand, many families dislike the idea of moving their loved one into a long-term care facility, but the ongoing stress of trying to live independently can be difficult for both the senior and their family members.
To help you decide when it’s time to consider assisted living for your loved one, take a look at these common signs that indicate someone may benefit from joining an assisted living community.
Your Loved One Needs Help With Activities of Daily Living
As people age, many individuals develop mobility limitations, chronic health conditions or memory impairments that can make everyday tasks difficult. These tasks, known as activities of daily living (ADLs) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs), include:
- Bathing and personal hygiene, including oral and nail care
- Getting dressed and grooming
- Using the toilet and managing incontinence
- Transferring on and off chairs and in and out of bed
- Moving around one’s home
- Doing personal laundry and maintaining a tidy home
- Shopping for food and preparing meals
- Managing one’s own prescription and over-the-counter medications
- Managing personal and household finances
- Communicating in person, over the phone and in writing
- Being able to arrange transportation to medical appointments, social engagements and to run errands
Caregivers at assisted living facilities help residents with ADLs and IADLs by providing nonmedical assistance in a way that’s respectful and age-appropriate. Housekeeping and laundry services are included, as are three meals daily plus snacks, so residents don’t need to worry about shopping for groceries or cooking healthy meals.
Often, seniors in assisted living can continue to perform many of these ADLs independently, but they need help with activities that may put them at an increased risk of suffering a fall such as bathing or transferring on and off the toilet.
Your Loved One Is Socially Isolated
While the need for help with personal care needs is often why seniors seek out assisted living care, it’s also common for older adults to want to live in a safe, supportive community. Loneliness is a serious problem among the elderly who live independently, especially if they’ve lost a spouse or if mobility limitations restrict their ability to enjoy their favorite hobbies and activities.
Social isolation can lead to a host of health problems for older adults, including depression, significant weight loss or gain, and poor nutrition. Since assisted living communities offer daily recreational activities, communal meals and community events, residents have plenty of opportunities to make new friends and build meaningful relationships with the facility’s staff and volunteers.
Assisted living facilities also provide seniors and their loved ones with the peace of mind that comes with knowing friendly, compassionate caregivers are always nearby and ready to lend a helping hand.