How to Decide When a Loved One Requires Assisted Living

Making the decision to place a loved one in assisted living is difficult. There’s a persistent voice in our head that keeps saying, “Not yet. It’s not time yet. We can wait a little longer.” There’s often another voice—possibly from family, friends, or doctors—that’s saying “It’s time. In fact, it’s long past time.”

We’re not here to tell you that the decision is easy. We wish there were clear-cut rules to follow. In lieu of something so cut and dry, we’ve put together a few questions to ask yourself that may help shed light on whether it’s time for your loved one to make the move to an assisted living community.

Is your loved one’s health at risk?

It’s difficult to identify when your loved one’s challenges become too much to be handled at home. Typically, a little assistance is all that’s needed at first. But eventually, you find yourself worrying constantly. Perhaps falling or wandering has become an issue. Maybe your loved one is forgetting to eat, or has fallen asleep without turning off the burner on the stove. Even if they can manage most of their day with little or no assistance, these types of lapses in safety can have serious consequences.

Is your loved one lonely?

As our loved ones age, their social circles tend to shrink. Even with visits from family members or in-home physicians, the loss of a peer group, as friends pass or make their own move to assisted living, can take its toll. Increasing social isolation can bring on a sense of depression, exacerbating health issues and cognitive decline.

Is your own health at risk?

Being a caregiver is a demanding job. Rest is in short supply, but guilt is usually close at hand. Many of us never feel like we’re doing enough, and consequently, we’re always pushing ourselves to do more. This can often have the unforeseen consequence of causing our own physical and mental health to deteriorate. This can lead us to become resentful of loved ones, or to require care of our own. We’ve seen caregivers forget to eat, develop depression, and suffer chronic back injuries before bringing their loved ones to a nursing home.

What are the long-term costs of continuing at-home care?

We’ve talked with many caregivers who find themselves at a crossroads: To provide their loved one with the care required, the caregiver must either give up their job, or place their loved one in assisted living. Many folks are just entering their prime wage-earning years as they approach this crossroads. In making the decision of whether to provide full-time care, they face the prospect of removing themselves from a professional ladder they’ve worked hard to climb. Attempting to return to the workforce later can be difficult, and in the meantime, money that was saved for years goes away rapidly. This can have long-lasting consequences.

At Lexington Square, we try to make the decision to place your loved one in assisted living easier by creating a vibrant senior community of active, engaged residents. Staff is on-hand to provide help with difficult or dangerous tasks. We provide a robust schedule of activities to help keep seniors active and to help them forge new friendships. If you’d like to learn more about whether one of our assisted living communities here in Chicago, IL is right for your loved one, give us a call at 630.812.7241.

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