You might have noticed changes in your loved one as they get older, but at what point should you consider assisted care? Signs could include recent falls, difficulty taking medication, changes in mood, problems with daily activities, isolation, difficulty with hygiene, and caregiver burnout.
Assisted Living Explained
There are many different programs and facilities for elder and end-of-life care. You might have heard of nursing homes, but assisted living is more independent. Those who are put into assisted living stay in their own apartments but share common areas. Many places offer laundry service, prepared meals, housekeeping, and help with medications. Assisted living also provides on-site staff and security to help with any needs or emergencies that might arise. Another great benefit of assisted living care is that it can include social and recreational activities.
The Biggest Signs Your Loved One Needs Assisted Care
There are some obvious signs that your elderly loved one needs assisted care. While it might be no question to most that these reasons merit the consideration of assisted care, some caretakers might be in denial about how severe their situation may be. If your loved one is experiencing any of the following, it is highly recommended that they move into assisted care.
Frequent Accidents, Falls, or Close Calls
When a person is nearing the end of their life, they may find themselves struggling to keep up physically and mentally. They might fall more often or forget to turn the oven off. They might have more medical emergencies. These accidents can be alarming for anyone, especially older people. One minor accident can lead to severe damage.
For example, kitchen accidents can be deadly. Forgetting to turn off a gas kitchen stove could mean carbon monoxide poisoning. Cutting up vegetables and dropping the knife could mean a serious cut. If your older loved one is having more accidents and more hospital visits, then they may need professional assistance and care.
Difficulty Managing Activities of Daily Living
It’s normal for elderly loved ones to need help with some tasks. However, if a loved one can’t complete any activities that a person does on a day-to-day basis – such as eating, bathing, going to the bathroom, or getting dressed for the day – they aren’t able to do Activities of Daily Living (ADLs).
Other activities, also called “second-level activities,” include cooking, grocery shopping, doing their laundry, and completing their housework. These tasks are called Instrumental Activities of Daily Living. If your loved one is struggling with these tasks, they may need assisted living.
Other Signs Your Loved One Needs Assisted Care
The following signs might not be as obvious, or alone they might not seem like a sign that your loved one needs assisted care. However, assisted care should be considered if your loved one struggles with more than one of these things.
Changes in Mood or Aggressive Behavior
While it’s normal for people to be aggressive occasionally, or experience some temporary mood changes, if it becomes an extreme change or the change seems to happen at the end of the day, this could be an early warning sign of dementia. If your loved one is experiencing these symptoms alongside other symptoms – such as memory loss, difficulty completing daily tasks, confusion with time or place, or misplacing things – there is a chance they have dementia.
Noticeable Physical Changes
If you aren’t living with your loved one, you might not know about their daily habits. It can be hard to tell what they forget to do or where they fall short in their care. One sign that your loved one might need care is noticeable weight loss or weight gain. This could be evidence that they aren’t eating enough or might not be making the best nutritional choices. Your loved one might also have a strange body odor, which might mean they struggle with personal hygiene. Other signs might be looking frailer or worsening health problems.
Increased Social Isolation
Those who are living on their own or with their caregiver might find it difficult to socialize. It may be too challenging to leave their house because they are no longer driving. They may lack active friendships and never leave the house. This can take an emotional toll on a person. Those who isolate themselves can develop depression. Social isolation could also be a sign of depression as well. If your loved one has cut back on their daily activities and interests, it’s a sign they may be struggling and would benefit from assisted living.
Difficulty Keeping Up With Finances
The signs of financial difficulty might not be as obvious, especially if you aren’t aware of their spending or if they are private about their finances. However, some common signs that your loved one may be struggling with financial difficulties due to old age include unopened mail, overdue bills, or substantial amounts of debt. If your loved one can’t remember payments or isn’t responsible with their money, then it might be a sign they should enter assisted care.