For some, the decision comes naturally, and the move is made easily with the support of family and friends. For others, the decision is quite difficult, particularly because our identity and memories of shared experiences with family and friends may be deeply tied to our home or apartment.
But, of course, change is inevitable, and adjusting to those changes is essential along life’s journey. Children leave home. It’s time to retire from work. Friends move away. A spouse may die. Driving becomes difficult. The house and yard become a burden. Assistance may be needed with medicine or personal care.
A number of signs can point to consideration of placing a loved one in assisted living. Here are a few:
- Does Mom or Dad seem isolated or depressed in the home?
- Has he or she lost interest in activities enjoyed in the past?
- Is your parent uninterested in undertaking social activities?
- Do friends still stop by the house to socialize?
- Do you observe a significant decline in hygiene?
- Are clothes as clean as they had been, and are they appropriate for the weather?
- Does Mom or Dad appear anxious or fearful?
- If parents live together, is one caring for the other? If so, does the caregiver appear worn out?
- Does your parent show a noticeable change in weight?
- Is the refrigerator as full as it had been? Is what you see part of a balanced, nutritious diet, or just snacks and convenience foods?
- Is there leftover food that may no longer be safe to eat?
- Do any pots or pans have burn marks that may signal forgetfulness about turning off the stove?
- Are kitchen appliances working properly?
- Does your parent move around the house with considerable effort?
- Are medications being taken as prescribed?
- If Mom or Dad is still driving, does the car have new dents or scrapes? Do you detect apprehension about driving?
- Has mail been opened and sorted, or are piles of mail accumulating?
- Are bills being paid and is money being managed appropriately?
- Are housekeeping standards being maintained?
- Are plants and animals being taken care of as in the past?
- Is daily living pleasant or a chore?
To help further, we have developed a Senior Needs Assessment as a guide to help families make this important decision. You can use the assessment to help your family make an informed choice.
See Senior Needs Assessment attachment.