When Should I Look for Assisted Living?

by | Aug 5, 2022 | Health

Knowing when the time is right to start looking for assisted living for a loved one can be challenging. For many people, the decision depends on several factors, including health, finances, and lifestyle. Age is also often a consideration, as most people want to retire before moving into an assisted living community.

Understanding the signs that indicate when to start discussing assisted living with your loved one can prepare them for the transition. 

Assisted Living vs. Nursing Home

When it comes to senior care, there are several options available. One option is a center for assisted living, which provides help with daily living activities, such as bathing, dressing, and eating. Assisted living centers also offer social activities and opportunities for residents to interact with one another. 

Another option is a nursing home, which offers more comprehensive care for seniors who need help with basic daily tasks and more complex medical needs such as medication management. Nursing homes also provide 24-hour supervision and medical monitoring of residents. When deciding on senior care, it is essential to consider the individual needs of your loved one. 

For example, a nursing home may be the best option if the senior requires constant supervision and medical care. However, if the senior only needs assistance with basic daily tasks and wants to maintain some independence, an assisted living center could be a better choice. Both options have long-term care options available for senior living. 

When to Choose Assisted Living

Before considering assisted living for your loved one, it is essential to have a conversation about why they might benefit from this kind of residency. Recognizing the signs that it’s time for an assisted living facility can help your loved one understand why they need help. 

Some common situations that indicate it’s time to transition to assisted living include:

  • Injuring Themselves

If your loved one has bruises, cuts, or has fallen recently, an assisted living facility can provide the level of care and supervision they need to stay safe while still allowing them to maintain their independence. 

Staff at an assisted living community are trained to manage various medical and physical needs, and they can provide 24-hour support. They also have the equipment and tools necessary to prevent falls, like bed rails and wall-mounted handrails. 

  • Failing to Perform Basic Tasks

An assisted living community may be a good fit if your loved one fails to perform basic tasks like cooking, cleaning, and self-care. These communities provide a safe and supportive environment for those who need help with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, and eating. 

Assisted living communities also offer home care amenities and services, including housekeeping. This can help to reduce the burden on your family members and allow the individual to remain independent for as long as possible. 

  • Exhibiting Signs of Mental Degradation

As people age, it is not uncommon to experience a decline in mental capacity. This can be due to many factors, including illness, injury, and the natural aging process. 

Conditions like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease require comprehensive memory care and 24-hour monitoring to prevent people from wandering away when they are sundowning. Memory care and security measures are available at these living facilities.

At an assisted living facility, seniors can socialize with other residents, which can help stave off feelings of loneliness and isolation and help mental capacity. Most assisted living facilities also feature a variety of mental health professionals, including psychiatrists, allowing your loved ones to get the mental health care they need as they age. 

  • Worsening Health Issues

Elderly individuals may need more help with activities of daily living or begin to experience chronic health problems. Moving to an assisted living community is the best option for many people to meet their changing health needs.

For people with chronic health problems, assisted living communities can provide the level of constant care they need. Many communities have on-site healthcare amenities, such as wellness centers and pharmacies, to help residents manage their health. 

Skilled nurses are trained to assist with medications and other health-related needs. And because resident populations in assisted living communities are typically similar in age and health status, residents can often find others in the community who are facing similar challenges.

Assisted living communities provide a safe and supportive environment for residents. Staff members are available 24 hours a day to help with medical support. Since assisted living communities are designed specifically for older adults, they often include features that promote safety and independence, such as grab bars in showers and wheelchair-accessible accommodations.

  • Sudden Weight Loss

Sudden weight loss is often a sign of an underlying health condition, and it can be difficult for seniors to regain their lost weight. Medications and illnesses can affect seniors’ sense of taste and smell or cause nausea, making them reluctant to eat. This means consuming the calories needed for the body to function is more challenging, leading to weight loss and malnutrition.

If you notice that your loved one has lost a significant amount of weight, it is crucial to speak to their doctor and look into an assisted living community. In an assisted living community, seniors will have access to nutritious meals, meal planning, and help with daily activities like shopping, which can help them regain any lost weight. A supportive community can help improve overall mental health and prevent weight loss. 

  • Mobility Issues

An assisted living community can provide a better quality of life for a loved one with mobility issues. In assisted living communities, residents have access to round-the-clock care, support, and accessible living spaces with ADA-compliant features.  

They also commonly offer activities and amenities to promote improved mobility for daily tasks, such as on-site fitness centers, swimming pools, and walking paths. These amenities can help boost a person’s overall health and well-being, both physically and mentally. 

Most assisted living communities provide transportation services and assistance to get residents to where they need to go, whether to scheduled outings or around the facility. This can take a lot of the stress and anxiety out of daily life for the resident and their family members. 

  • Unsafe Driving

Deteriorating eyesight and slower reaction speeds can make driving dangerous for seniors. If they have recently had an accident, or you are concerned that they may no longer have the capacity to drive, take them for a driver’s re-evaluation test at your local DMV. 

If your loved one is deemed an unsafe driver and needs to turn in their license, it is crucial to look for an assisted living community.

  • An assisted living community can provide the support and assistance needed to help with activities of daily living. This can include help with driving, getting groceries, and other errands, reducing their risk of car accidents.
  • An assisted living community can provide a sense of community and social interaction. This can help reduce isolation and loneliness, which are common among older adults.
  • Assisted living facilities offer various transportation services to reduce the need for your loved one to drive. 

The personal care offered by these facilities can drastically improve your family members’ living situation. 

  • Self-Isolation

Depression is not a normal part of aging, but it is prevalent among older adults due to loneliness and isolation. One of the signs of depression is withdrawal and self-isolation. If a loved one is self-isolating, considering an assisted living facility can help reduce negative feelings and build a sense of community. 

  • They can offer social activities and opportunities for engagement.
  • An assisted living community can provide peace of mind for the person self-isolating and their family members.
  • There is always someone available to help in case of an emergency. If your loved one falls or has a medical emergency, staff will be there to help. 

Make the Right Choice

Looking into assisted living communities is essential if you are caring for a loved one, showing signs of age-related mental and physical deterioration. Independent living becomes much more difficult with age. These communities can provide the level of care and support your loved one needs to maintain their independence and enjoy a high quality of life. For more health advice, visit smartreadz.com.