While your senior loved one may seem happy, healthy, and well-cared for at a glance, it's easy for children, grandchildren, friends, and relatives to miss signs that may indicate otherwise. If your senior loved one suddenly stops making his or her bed, locking the front door, or eating breakfast each morning, for instance, you might not think anything of it right away -- or you might assume it's a minor sign of growing older. However, seemingly minuscule details like these could mean your senior loved one may be ready for an assisted living community. To explore some of the behaviors that could indicate readiness for assisted living, read on.
Major Changes in Memory
According to Harvard Health Publishing, minor memory decline is normal as we grow older -- like forgetting certain words or the names of old friends. However, some cognitive changes--like forgetting how to operate a vehicle or regularly misplacing everday objects--are much more concerning. These changes in memory could indicate a serious type of brain disease such as Alzheimer's disease or dementia.
While seniors with early-stage dementia may be able to live alone with the right assistance and home modifications, others will be safer in an assisted living community or memory care facility. As such, it's important to keep an eye out for any major signs of cognitive impairment--and determine whether these changes could be the result of a brain disease or a prescription medication that your loved one may be taking.
Unintentional Weight Loss
If your senior loved one unintentionally loses weight or seems frailer than usual, a few factors could be to blame. These include:
- A loss in energy or motivation that prevents your loved one from preparing meals.
- Underlying medical concerns such as cancer, dementia, malnutrition, or depression.
- A reduction or loss of smell or taste.
- Social or financial concerns that prevent your loved one from shopping and buying groceries.
With a few changes to your loved one's kitchen, lifestyle, or shopping habits could be all your senior needs to stay healthy and nourished at home, these signs could also indicate a need for around-the-clock care at an assisted living facility.
Major Mobility Impairments
Whether your loved one falls and sustains an injury, develops a medical condition that limits his or her ability to move around freely, or experiences the worsening of an existing medical concern, any major mobility impairments could mean that your senior's house should be modified--or that it's time to downsize to a smaller home. If your loved one's mobility impairments become too difficult to manage or prevent him or her from performing normal daily activities, your loved one may need in-home assistance or around-the-clock care.
Tips for Discussing Assisted Living
If you fear that your loved one may be at risk of malnutrition, physical injury, isolation, or other potential dangers, it's time to talk to your senior about assisted living. Rather than waiting until your loved one falls and sustains a major injury, it's best to speak with your senior as soon as you notice any signs that could indicate a need for around-the-clock care or supervision.
Moreover, it's best to speak to seniors as sensitively and calmly as possible--and avoid making ultimatums or demands that they move into assisted living. While you only want what's best for your loved ones as they grow older, the transisition into assisted living should be their choice and not yours.
Knowing when to talk to your senior loved one about assisted living isn't always easy, but it's important that you do so early on as possible. You and your loved one are unlikely to reach an agreement after one discussion alone, but introducing the topic sooner rather than later will give your senior plenty of time to consider the idea and determine whether it's the right move for him or her.
Our firm can help you find solutions with a Life Care Plan--a unique program that offers a multi-disciplinary team which includes an attorney and a care coordinator working together to provide legal care, care coordination, and patient advocacy.
- Tips for Adults Talking to Their Parents About Senior Living Choices
- What's the Real Cost of Aging In Place?
- Forms Needed to Act on a Loved One's Behalf
- Questions to Ask When Looking at Assisted Living
- Assisted Living vs. Memory Care: What's the Difference?