It is always easier to determine the right time for a loved one to move into assisted living when a medical condition is present. Things like dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease have specific indicators and timelines. Medical professionals can help families understand what to expect as these things progress.
Unfortunately, not every family has the luxury of concrete advice when it comes to determining the need for a move to assisted living. Declining physical and mental stability is often very difficult to identify in a family member. When certain things begin to signal that a change in living environment could be necessary, it is important to not ignore them. These signs can happen gradually, or they can emerge suddenly.
Transitioning a loved one to an assisted living facility is one of the most compassionate actions a family can make. If independent living is unsafe for a person and their property, help is necessary for their security and happiness. Here are a few signs that indicate a family member might need to move into assisted living.
Abnormal Occurrences are Common Conversation Topics
Frequent phone calls and visits are wonderful, but pay attention whenever a loved one expresses concern during conversations. They could wonder aloud about why things seem out of place. They could reveal things in passing that trigger concern. This could include little accidents at home, frustration with things that seem to be out of place, or forgetfulness related to common activities. Everyone has weak moments, but when someone ruminates on them, it could be a passive way of asking for help.
Extreme Changes in Expenses
Independent living requires skills like driving, cooking, bathing, and managing utilities at home. If a loved one suddenly encounters huge bills and money shortfalls, it could be a sign that these management capabilities are dwindling. Watch for car fuel expenses to rise. A person can forget that they have made a trip, or they sometimes become lost in traffic. Exorbitant heating and water costs could mean that they are forgetting to turn off heaters, air conditioners, cooking stoves, and baths.
Extreme Changes in Mood and Daily Routines
Polar shifts in mood can indicate that a person is becoming confused about normal duties and activities. This is true for typically high and low personalities. If a grumpy individual is suddenly overly carefree, it could be a sign of an oncoming condition. If a happy person suddenly becomes depressed, this might indicate that life is becoming overwhelming. Similarly, if a loved one loses interest in favorite activities, this could show that they are trying to hide an emerging physical handicap. Changes in mood and activities aren’t always a sign that a living environment change is needed. Family members should be concerned however, if too many personal behaviors shift at once.
Unusual Home Conditions
No two people keep house the same way. Some people have eccentricities at home that are unique. When visiting a loved one, take note of how they keep their home. Stale and putrid smells could signal an inability to perform cleaning duties, forgetfulness in household sanitation, and an unwillingness to groom. A person who sits in the dark all day might be confused about time, or how to do normal tasks. The condition of a home reflects the person who lives there. People who need assisted living often find managing a home space to be frightening.
Non-Family Member Observations
People who might need living assistance often behave differently around acquaintances. Non-family members interact on a neutral level with them, and can spot things that relatives do not. Talk to people who frequently interact with your loved one. Store clerks, delivery people, next door neighbors, and activity companions can provide information about a loved one’s behaviors. Sometimes, it is the little things that matter most.
Deciding to move a loved one into assisted living is never an easy task, but it can be incredibly beneficial for the whole family. It removes a great deal of stress from all parties, and it improves an individual’s quality of life. Adjustments can be difficult. Never be hesitant to ask facility staff members about other signs when researching assisted living communities for the future.