As a caregiver, starting the conversation about moving an aging loved one to an assisted living community can be difficult. Often, our loved ones have been living in the same home for many, many years with no intention of leaving despite their decline in health. However, family caregivers often find themselves overwhelmed by their caregiving responsibilities, and may not even be qualified to provide the sufficient level of care needed.
This is why it’s important to have this conversation so the wishes of all parties involved are known- sooner than later. Talking to aging loved ones and treating them with the respect they deserve will make the conversation easier on all parties involved. Your loved ones should feel like they have a say in the future; they have a right to be part of the decision-making process and feel as though they are in control of their lives.
While every situation is unique, there are some telltale signs that your loved one would enjoy an improved quality of life in an assisted living community.
These signs include:
Trouble maintaining the home.
The next time you visit your loved one, take note of the state of the home and yard. Maybe your family member has always kept a neat home, but the last time you stopped by you noticed piles of laundry, dishes stacked up in the sink or an overgrown lawn. These are all good signs that your loved one might be better off in a maintenance-free assisted living community.
Decline in health.
When current health issues or chronic conditions worsen, and you’re faced with performing medical tasks like managing medications or even injections, more care may be needed than you are qualified or comfortable to provide.
Decline in cognitive abilities.
Even just mild cognitive impairment can have a drastic impact on our aging loved one’s daily lives. For example, our loved ones might forget to take their medication, take an extra dose or start skipping meals. He or she may also show signs of poor judgment or fall victim to a senior scam.
Decrease in mobility.
Chronic conditions like arthritis or osteoporosis can make it difficult to move around the home or lead to a debilitating fall. Limited mobility is a major issue in regards to aging, and family caregivers are often tasked with some of the heavy lifting that can lead to a decline in their own health.
Concerns about safety.
Perhaps your loved one is unable to properly care of him or herself because the shower is located on the second floor, and stairs have become unmanageable. Or, maybe recently the stove was accidently left on after your loved one forgot to turn it off after cooking a meal.
Maybe you’ve observed many late payment notices or cancellation warnings sitting on the counter in your loved one’s kitchen. Or, perhaps he or she is having trouble balancing a checkbook, or even paying bills twice.
Becoming socially isolated.
Building relationships and staying engaged in the world is key to healthy aging, as loneliness can easily lead to depression and other health concerns. If your loved one is living alone, there’s a strong possibility social isolation is an issue especially if he or she no longer drives.
Moving to an assisted living community can be extremely beneficial for your loved one. In fact, many seniors report they feel more independent than they ever did when living alone in the home. Plus, assisted living benefits the caregiver, too, as you’ll be relieved of your caregiving duties and can simply enjoy spending quality time with your loved one.