As your senior parent, friend, or relative grows older, it can be difficult to determine how to best care for them—especially if your senior wishes to age in place. For the health and safety of your loved one, however, there are some signs that may indicate a need for around-the-clock supervision and care at an assisted living facility. North Shore Area Partners invites you to explore three of these common signs and to learn how to best talk to your senior loved one about assisted living.
1. Your Senior’s Medical Conditions are Worsening
According to Everyday Health, many seniors suffer from one or more chronic medical conditions like heart disease, cancer, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and respiratory conditions such as emphysema or asthma. Some of these medical conditions may increase your loved one’s risk of falling and sustaining a life-threatening injury, while other health issues may worsen over time and make independent living unsafe or even impossible for your senior. As such, any major falls, injuries, or worsening medical conditions may mean that it’s time to talk about assisted living with your loved one.
2. Your Loved One Feels Isolated or Lonely
Social isolation and loneliness are two common issues affecting seniors, especially those who reside alone, have no friends or relatives living nearby, or have medical conditions that prevent them from driving a vehicle, socializing with others, enjoying their favorite hobbies, or leaving the house on their own. Once seniors become isolated, their risk of early mortality, depression, and drug or alcohol abuse increases. However, a senior living community could help to give them the social opportunities they need to live a happier, healthier life in their Golden Years.
3. Basic Daily Tasks are Becoming a Problem
If your loved one struggles to keep up with his or her household chores, laundry, cooking, cleaning, or personal hygiene, it could mean that your senior can no longer live safely on his or her own. Some telltale signs include:
A refrigerator filled with expired or spoiled foods.
An odorous living space.
Stacks of dirty dishes in the kitchen.
Poor grooming habits.
How to Talk to Your Senior Loved One About Assisted Living
If you believe that your senior parent, relative, or friend may be ready for assisted living, it’s important to speak with your loved one as gently and sensitively as possible. Remember to listen carefully and ask plenty of questions to show your loved one that you care about his or her wants, needs, and concerns.
Moreover, knowing when to introduce the topic of assisted living is also important. Instead of introducing the idea out of the blue, bring it up naturally or wait for a situation that would warrant this kind of discussion—such as after a minor fall or injury at home. However, the U.S. News & World Report recommends introducing the topic before a major health crisis or medical emergency arises—as this will give your loved one more time to consider the idea and make plans for the future.
A Final Word
Knowing when to talk to a senior loved one about assisted living isn’t always easy, but it’s important to understand the signs that may indicate a need for regular supervision and daily care. By familiarizing yourself with the signs and talking to your loved one as early on as possible, you can come up with a plan that keeps your senior safe and provides you with the peace of mind that your loved one is in good hands.
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About Lydia Chan
Lydia Chan understands the life of caregiving for another. After her mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and she found herself struggling to balance the responsibilities of caregiving and her own life. She is the co-creator of Alzheimer’s Caregiver, a website that aims to provide tips and resources to help caregivers.