The decision to start a conversation with your parent or loved about the benefits of moving to an Assisted Living is not one that comes easily for most adult children or family members. It is a paradigm shift in most instances where the person who may benefit from theses services has always been the matriarch or patriarch of the family and now, likely for the first time, roles are reversed. The children need to become the caregiver and help determine what is best for their older parent. There are some specific things that you should be aware of or look for which will help you determine when it’s time to start that conversation. These are the top 6 signs assisted living could benefit an older adult in no specific order.
These are the top six signs that indicate an Assisted Living could benefit an older adult in no specific order.
- Frequent or recent falls
- Changes in hygiene
- Poor or declining health
- Inability to maintain one’s home, apartment, or household
Frequent or recent falls
One of the signs that Assisted Living is needed is the occurrence of frequent falls that may happen with or without injury. As adults age their mobility can decrease and there are many areas in their homes that could cause trips and falls that may have not been an issue in the past. According to the CDC, one out of five falls causes a serious injury such as broken bones or a head injury and each year, 3 million older people are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries.
One of the benefits of living in an Assisted Living is the frequent monitoring. In many assisted living communities they even have emergency pendants and bracelets that allow a resident to request help if they feel unable to get up safely. In the event of a fall, they can even use the pendant to call for help which can be there in moments.
Changes in hygiene
Another sign is the change in someone’s hygiene. Maybe you notice that their hair is unkempt, and they were always meticulous, or their nails may be too long or broken. This is common in adults who can no longer maintain these functions due to diminished physical or mental capacity. Assistance with these activities of daily living is probably the most common reason people begin to explore Assisted Living for their loved one.
The National Center of Assisted Living has reported that older adults need help with the following:
- 62% need help with bathing
- 47% need help with dressing
- 39% need help with toileting
- 30% need help transferring out of bed
- 20% need help with eating or preparing food
Assistance with these areas helps older adults feel more independent because they can spend time focusing on the areas that they can still do and not focus on the areas that can cause frustration.
Depression is a common problem among older adults. Often, older adults find themselves spending more time alone because they may have lost a spouse, are no longer able to drive or their circle of friends may have moved or have passed away. Studies show that loneliness and social isolation are associated with higher rates of depression. Depression for seniors presents itself differently and is often described as a lack of interest in doing things or a general disinterest. Everyone experiences depression differently but some of the more common things to be on the lookout for are:
- Decreased energy
- Moving and or talking in a slower manner
- Weight gain or loss
The above list is not all-inclusive, and people may have their depression show itself in other ways.
Isolation is also associated with cognitive decline, chronic diseases, and dementia. It’s been linked to poor health conditions like high blood pressure, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Both depression and isolation can have a detrimental effect on an older adult’s emotional wellbeing, physical health and even their lifespan.
The AARP foundation has listed four signs which indicates if a person may be isolated:
- Deep boredom, general lack of interest and withdrawal
- Losing interest in personal hygiene
- Poor eating and nutrition
- Significant disrepair, clutter and hoarding in the house.
Poor or declining health
A chronic health condition for older adults can directly impact their ability to perform their daily activities. Unfortunately, older adults have a much higher number of chronic conditions such as heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. According to the national council on aging 80% percent of older adults have at least 1 chronic condition and 70% have 2 or more. This alone is not a reason to move someone to assisted living but if you find that the amount of exercise, medication administration and proper nutrition are not being met to manage these illnesses then an Assisted Living could be the answer.
Inability to maintain one’s home, apartment, or household
A home or apartment that is in disrepair is a tell-tale sign that someone is no longer able to maintain living on their own. This is especially true if they are also trying to manage doctors visits and other necessary appointments. Coordinating the services needed to keep up with the appearance of the home such as the landscaping, snow removal, gutter cleaning and preventative maintenance on main appliances may be too much for someone to stay on top of. In addition to external signs, you should also be on the lookout for piles of mail, unpaid bills, or unwashed dishes in the sink or laying around inside of the home.
Again, this is not an all-inclusive list and there may be other signs that will help you determine that an Assisted living community would be the next step for your parent or loved one. Seeking the help of senior care experts and trusted medical professionals can relieve a lot of the anxiety of beginning your research. Don’t let the complexities of the decision get in the way of knowing when its time to start the conversation.
How HearthStone Assisted Living Could Benefit an Older Adult
Our team of senior living experts can help answer questions you may have about assisted living. We have three locations in Leesburg Florida, Wildwood Florida and Lake Nona Region. Call us today to get in touch (352) 764-4100.