Making the decision to move a loved one to assisted living can be difficult. They may be anxious about losing independence, and you might struggle with doubts about your decision. It’s completely normal for families to question whether assisted living is the right choice for their loved one.
To help you make an informed decision, we’ve compiled a list of common signs that may let you know it’s time to seriously consider assisted living for your loved one. Please understand that this list isn’t exhaustive — every family is different, and you may experience something different than what is listed here. You know your loved one best, and if you suspect that they can no longer live on their own, you should consult your doctor about your options.
Before we get started, let’s talk about what assisted living actually is, and why it might be the right choice for your family. It is generally defined as:
“…a type of housing designed for people who need various levels of medical and personal care. Living spaces can be individual rooms, apartments, or shared quarters. The facilities generally provide a home-like setting and are physically designed to promote the resident’s independence. Services are offered to assist residents with daily living.”
Sometimes, there comes a time when your loved one simply can’t take care of themselves very well anymore. These facilities are staffed by compassionate, qualified medical professionals that will pick up the slack. Here are three signs that your loved one may need to move to an assisted living facility:
Trouble With Activities of Daily Living
Activities of Daily Living are the small things that need to happen every day in order to live well. These little things include travelling, bathing or showering, or managing medication. This is the most common sign that your loved one may need to consider assisted living. For instance, even a small mistake in medication management can have severe consequences. In a 2017 report, the CDC estimated that about 350,000 people are hospitalized every year due to medication mismanagement.
Assisted Living facilities can monitor the medicine intake of your loved ones, ensuring that no mistakes are made. They will also be able to adjust their services to the level of assistance your loved one requires. Their goal is to preserve as much independence as possible, while minimizing mishaps.
They Spend a Lot of Time Alone
Senior isolation can take a massive toll on the overall wellbeing of our loved ones. Research presented at the 2015 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference showed that there is a direct correlation between time spent alone and mental decline in elders; isolation is a key indicator of dementia-related conditions. Psychological dangers posed by isolation include depression, feelings of hopelessness, abandonment, and loneliness.
Senior isolation also increases the risk of serious physical health decline. Conditions like chronic lung disease, arthritis, impaired mobility, and high blood pressure can be aggravated by isolation. Assisted living facilities ensure that your loved one gets the social interaction they need to live a healthy, and fulfilling life.
You’re Struggling With the Physical and Emotional Toll
Caregiving is a full-time job. It can be demanding, frustrating and exhausting. If you find yourself unable to meet the heavy responsibilities that quality caregiving entails, it might be time to consider assisted living for your loved one. This isn’t a betrayal, or a sign that you don’t love your family member. Your loved one will experience a better quality of life, and get the help they need as their needs increase over time.
Remember that moving your loved one to a facility may actually be the best way to show you that you love them and that you care for their long-term wellbeing. They need the best assistance they can possibly get, and when you feel overwhelmed, stressed-out and frustrated, you might not be able to provide that assistance.
Assisted living facilities are able to provide around-the-clock, high-quality care while allowing your loved one to maintain as much of their independence as possible. Staff are trained and experienced and will give your loved one the assistance they genuinely need.
Dr Liz Geriatrics provides support and education for both family and professional caregivers to improve the lives of the people they help, and get them get the tools they need to cope with the increased demand on their time.
To learn more, please visit our website:
Elizabeth (Dr. Liz) has over twenty years of experience in providing medical care to the elders. She is board-certified in Internal Medicine, Geriatric Medicine, and Palliative Care Medicine. Dr. Landsverk founded ElderConsult Geriatric Medicine, a house calls practice, to address the challenging medical and behavioral issues often facing older patients and their families.