The thought of your mom or dad having to uproot from their home and move to an assisted living community can be hard to fathom. As their son or daughter, seeing your parent as someone who needs assistance can be a difficult shift from your previous view of them. As they were once your caregiver, the idea that they may need assistance now can seem scary and foreign. No matter how independent they may have been throughout their life, aging can affect the physical and mental abilities of anyone.
The upkeep of a home inevitably becomes burdensome as we age, and tasks such as mowing a lawn or even climbing stairs can become a hazard. One serious fall or accident can set a senior’s physical abilities back significantly, and returning to their previous daily life will be challenging, if not impossible. Preemptively planning to prevent such things, or changing course after something has already happened, is one of the most loving, supportive, and responsible things you can do for your aging parent.
But how do you know when it’s the right time to help them move to a safer environment. There are specific indicators that demonstrate that your mom or dad requires more support and assistance on a daily basis–something that retirement communities can provide with compassion. If you’re trying to assess whether your loved one is safe living alone they can continue to live on their own, use the following four signs as starting points…
Forgetfulness and Decreased Mental Ability.
It’s natural to lose mental sharpness and the ability to remember various details as one ages. However, if you notice that your parent exhibits the following, it could be the sign of more rapid decline of memory or even early stages of dementia:
- Experiences confusion.
- Forgets names of friends or family.
- Doesn’t know where they are.
- Loses ability to concentrate.
- Is restless and irritable as the day progresses.
Even early on in the process of memory decline, just a moment of lapse in clarity can have negative consequences while driving, cooking a meal, or taking daily medications.
Difficulty with House and Personal Upkeep.
Your parent’s everyday routine consists of tasks that
may have once seemed easy and manageable, but have becoming increasingly difficult over time. From vacuuming the house, to taking a shower, to preparing meals three times a day, there’s a lot of upkeep required for their house and self. When you visit them, observe their ability in conducting such tasks. If they are struggling, it usually doesn’t mean that things will get better, and a different environment and support system can be greatly beneficial for them.
Challenges with Managing Finances.
Balancing a checkbook and keeping up with bills can be tricky for many people, but pay attention if you notice that your parent begins to forget or become delayed in making payments. Financial stability is important, and
errors in money management can cause stressful situations to arise for your mother or father. Their physical and mental health isn’t the only thing to be aware of–financial health is another tenet of an enjoyable next chapter in life.
Receiving a Chronic Illness Diagnosis.
If your parent receives a diagnosis for a disease like Parkinson’s or experiences kidney failure, it’s important to know what kind of care will be needed. Often, diagnoses such as these require medication management and monitoring, if not round-the-clock care. Even a diagnosis of diabetes, though potentially manageable early-on, can lead to the vision loss. Knowing that your parent might have difficulty with reading the labels on their medication or is struggling to see as they move about the house can be cause for worry.
If, upon familiarizing yourself with these signs, you realize that it would be beneficial for your parent to make the move, there are things to look for when vetting assisted living communities. For seniors that need help with daily activities, assisted living is an excellent option as they can remain as independent as possible with personalized care to fit their needs. Assisted living communities can differ from one another in significant ways so it’s recommended you identify which one would best fit your parent’s needs.
The following list of questions will be helpful in determining if the community you are exploring will appropriately meet your senior loved one’s needs:
- What type of living options does the community offer?
- Is the community licensed?
- What type of care plans are offered?
- What are the details in the final contract?
- What’s provided in the basic daily rate, and what services cost extra?
- What does the community provide that is unique?
Certain assisted living communities also include memory care–a section dedicated to assisting residents with Alzheimer’s and dementia. If your parent is dealing with early signs of such conditions, it’s advisable to choose a community that offers such care.
If you’re looking for advice and guidance on your parent’s particular situation, we are here to help. Download our e-book, Making the Move: A Step-by-Step Guide for a Smooth Transition to a Senior Care Community, to learn more, or call Lexington Square today at 630.576.4800 to set up a conversation!