How to Tell Whether Your Senior Loved One Could Be Ready for Assisted Living
By June Duncan, www.riseupforcaregivers.org
Even if your senior parent, friend, or relative has made it clear that they plan to live independently at home for years to come, there may come a time when you’ll need to talk to your loved one about the benefits of assisted living care. However, knowing when to broach the topic of assisted living isn’t always clear — especially if you know your loved one will refuse the idea at first. To help you determine whether it could be time to talk to your loved one about the transition into assisted living, read on.
Sign #1: Declining Health
If your senior loved one has recently fallen and injured him or herself at home, has a chronic health condition that continues to worsen over time, and/or seems to be gaining or losing weight more rapidly than usual, these could all signify a need for assisted living care. Several worsening health conditions that may require regular care at an assisted living community include memory issues, depression, urinary incontinence, strokes, cancer, congestive heart failure, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Sign #2: Serious Memory Troubles
In addition to having a new or worsening health condition, memory troubles can indicate that your loved one may need assisted living care — especially if your senior’s declining memory makes it difficult for them to shop for groceries, drive a vehicle, and perform other daily activities. To determine whether these memory troubles are a normal part of the aging process, the National Institute on Aging (NIH) recommends keeping an eye out for the following:
- Confusion in familiar places
- Difficulty following instructions
- Repetition of questions and words
- Changes in personality and attention span
Sign #3: Household Difficulties
If your senior loved one can no longer keep up with their activities of daily living (ADLs) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs), this could be another sign that they could benefit from assisted living. According to A Place for Mom, ADLs include activities like bathing, dressing, and feeding — while IADLs pertain to money management, laundry, housekeeping, shopping, and meal preparation. However, assessing your loved one’s IADL and ADL capabilities can help you to determine whether they could benefit from assisted living care or one or more in-home care services.
What You Can Do
If you think your senior parent, friend, or relative could be ready for assisted living, it’s time to have a sensitive conversation with your loved one. When talking about the transition into assisted living, it’s important to remain patient, keep an open mind, and listen carefully to your loved one’s concerns and hesitations. The decision to move into an assisted living community should be up to your loved one, and your senior parent or friend will likely need some time to adjust to the idea. As such, it’s important to broach the topic while your loved one is physically, mentally, and emotionally able to make this decision for him or herself.
Moreover, this could also be a good time to buy a low-value life insurance policy for your loved one. A small policy will provide you with peace of mind as your senior parent transitions into assisted living, especially if they have cashed out their existing whole life policy to cover expenses while they are still living. In the event of your loved one’s passing, you’ll want to know that you have the funds available to cover the cost of their final arrangements.
The process of moving a senior parent, friend, or relative into an assisted living community can be challenging for you and your loved one, but a move may be necessary if you’re concerned about your loved one’s health and well-being. However, keep in mind that it could take several months or longer before your loved one agrees to the transition. To ensure a long, happy, and healthy future for your senior parent, friend, or relative, it’s important to begin the discussion early on — or as soon as you notice any of these three signs.