How to Know When Your Elderly Parent Needs to Make the Move to Assisted Living
When an elderly person moves from their home to an independent living facility, they are likely to experience a wide range of emotions. A whole new set of emotions are likely to set in when, and if, the time comes to move from independent living to assisted living.
Just as it is difficult to know when it is time to move your loved one out of their home, deciding when to make the step to assisted living can be equally trying. After all, these types of decisions greatly impact both the patient and their family.
Assisted living facilities can take a number of forms. Each facility has its unique services that are intended to support seniors who need help with their daily routine. In general, assisted living communities are designed for individuals who have chronic medical conditions that require monitoring. They are not, however, ill enough to require admittance to a hospital or nursing home. In most cases, residents of assisted living facilities will need help with things like bathing, dressing, housekeeping and similar tasks.
Meals are usually prepared in a dining room which allows for socialization with other residents. Again, every assisted living facility is different so it is important to do your due diligence when it comes to finding a facility that provides the amenities and services your loved one wants and needs. For example, if they enjoy being active, it is a good idea to find an assisted living facility that offers wellness and exercise classes.
So how do you know if it is time for your parent to make the jump from independent to assisted living? Like many health care decisions, there is no straightforward answer. It is important when discussing the issue with your elderly parent that you take their feelings into consideration. If possible, it also is a good idea to loop in other family members so that one adult child does not have to shoulder the entire burden of making the final decision.
Of course, there are some cases in which a move to assisted living is clearly indicated. These include:
- A worsening of a chronic health condition
- An increased number of falls or overall frailty
- The inability to manage finances or pay bills
- The inability to care for oneself
- Signs of depression or isolation
- The development of multiple medical problems
- Memory loss
The move from independent to assisted living can be especially challenging if a patient suffers from dementia or a chronic disease such as diabetes or Parkinson’s. In such cases, the change in routines can be overwhelming.
If you feel that the move from independent to assisted living is inevitable, in almost all cases it is better to make the move sooner rather than later. This will help to ensure a better quality of life, and greater level of support, for your loved one. Further, the healthier they are, the more they can become accustomed to their new surroundings and get used to their “new normal.”