5 Signs Your Aging Parent May Need Assisted Living
Watching your parents get older and face increased health concerns can be very difficult. Over time, you may begin to wonder if your aging parent should remain in their own home or move into an assisted living facility. When making this decision with your parent, be on the lookout for any of these five signs:
Declining Living Conditions
If your parent has begun to struggle with living independently, you will likely notice that their living conditions seem to be worsening in a way that is out of character for them. This may mean their house is becoming dirty and cluttered, there never seems to be fresh food in the fridge unless you bring them groceries, necessary home repairs are being ignored, and the yard has become unkempt.
This decline in living conditions can be a result of reduced mobility and cognitive function. Your parent may not realize that these tasks would be handled for them in assisted living.
Social Isolation and Depression
As people age, more and more family members, friends, and significant others pass away, which can leave the elderly feeling very isolated and lonely. Social isolation has been directly linked to depression in the aging population, and is definitely something to look out for with your own parent. If you notice that your parent has been spending more and more time alone and seems increasingly down, it's time to intervene.
Encourage them to join senior-friendly activities in their community, and make an effort to spend more time with them. Point out that in assisted living, they would have built-in daily opportunities for socializing, interaction, and fun activities and events.
One of the major benefits of assisted living is that your parent will have on-site expert medical care and will no longer have to manage their own medication. If your parent has demonstrated declining cognitive or memory function, keeping track of medication details will become increasingly difficult. By living alone, they may be at risk for missing their medication or even accidentally overdosing. Be sure to ask them about their medication and speak to their health care provider if you notice a problem.
Decreased Attention to Personal Care
Another common sign that a senior needs assisted living is a decline in personal care. If your parent always had impeccable hygiene and suddenly seems to be going days or weeks without bathing, they may be finding daily life tasks too difficult to manage on their own. In assisted living, they will have compassionate help with any personal care tasks they struggle with.
Falls and Accidents
If your aging parent's mobility and/or vision have declined, their life may be much less safe when living alone than it would be in assisted living. Make sure to help your parent set up their home for maximum safety, including adding grab bars in the shower and night lights, and making sure there are clear paths throughout the home.
If your parent begins to experience increased falls or accidents around the home, they are at risk for seriously injuring themselves if they do not get outside help soon. In assisted living, they will have skilled caretakers making sure they get around safely, and should they slip and fall someone will be there immediately to help them.
If you notice these signs, it is probably time to talk to your parent about moving into assisted living, or at least seeking in-home care. These conversations won't be easy, but you will gain peace of mind knowing you are doing what you can to ensure your parent lives out the rest of their years in comfort and safety. If you're interested in more information about assisted living or in-home care, you can find out here.