Determining Whether a Loved One Is Ready for Assisted Living
By James Hall, Senior Care Fitness
Time eventually takes its toll on everyone, yet that fact doesn’t make it any easier to see a loved one show signs they might be struggling due to their age. Whether it’s physical or mental decline that has you worried (or both), it can leave you wondering whether your senior is truly safe and comfortable — and if there’s a need for more help than you can give. Let’s look at what assisted living is and some of the concerns that indicate it’s time to make the transition.
What Is Assisted Living?
Many people are confused about what assisted living entails. Essentially, Modern Retirement explains that it’s a step up from independent living communities in terms of the support seniors receive, but not as intensive as a skilled nursing facility, where residents receive round-the-clock nursing care.
When it comes to assisted living, a huge perk is help with activities of daily living such as dressing, taking medications, and bathing. There are also group activities seniors can enjoy, as well as access to transportation. Sometimes, there are additional perks, like an on-site beauty salon and pet-friendliness.
Keep in mind that if your loved one has a serious medical issue that requires 24/7 supervision and skilled nursing care, then a nursing home will be a better fit. If you decide this is the right solution for your loved one, websites such as SeniorCare.com can help you find the facility that best suits your senior’s needs in the Philadelphia area. In addition to pricing information, the listings also provide ratings and detailed information about each facility.
Bruises, Broken Bones, and Fender-Benders
Many seniors are at an increased risk for falls. There are several reasons for this, such as waning eyesight, balance issues, and muscle and joint problems. Additionally, slick floors, tripping hazards, and insufficient lighting are a few ways the environment could contribute to senior falls. Unfortunately, seniors are not only at a higher risk for falls, but they can also suffer severe injuries that can, at times, lead to death.
Seniors also tend to have more accidents driving than their younger counterparts. Between issues like arthritis and reduced range of motion, staying adept behind the wheel can be challenging for older adults. Some studies indicate a link between seniors who experience falls and seniors who are in driving accidents, as falls appear to reduce a senior’s cognitive abilities.
If you notice your loved one has more bumps and bruises than in the past, is making more trips to the doctor or ER for injuries, or is in more driving-related accidents than usual, those misadventures might indicate it’s time to consider a safer living situation.
Loneliness and Isolation
Is your loved one going it alone a lot these days? Seniors who find themselves living alone, without close neighbors or relatives, or who are housebound are often at-risk for being lonely and/or isolated. Being unable to call for help, get assistance with errands, or access to a listening ear can lead to mental and physical health decline.
Although Welbi points out that the concerns of isolation and loneliness are not the same, they both can put a senior in danger. There are apps that help reduce senior loneliness by keeping them more connected. Similarly, appropriate transportation is a solid solution, but sometimes isolation or loneliness are indicators it’s time to make a transition.
Talking Things Through
Discussing things with your loved one can be pretty intimidating. After all, talking about things like reduced ability to handle daily essentials, accidents, and loneliness are touchy, personal subjects. It can help to steer the conversation toward the positives involved, such as the social connections and safe environment your loved one will gain.
It may or may not be too complicated to include these issues in your initial talk, but hand-in-hand with your loved one’s lifestyle are some other challenging conversations, like finances, legal paperwork, and life insurance coverage. With your loved one’s consent, you can invest in a life insurance policy, but you’ll need to evaluate their financial situation and end-of-life plans to ensure you have enough coverage for the burial and essentials.
The decision to move into assisted living is a difficult one, but with more information and facts, you and your loved one can find the right remedy. Pay special attention to how difficult daily activities are for them, if there are more accidents than usual, and if your senior is too alone. There are solutions that will keep your loved one safe and happy.