Knowing Assisted Living Is Right For You
Your loved one may have seemed in good spirits and like “themselves” the last time that you visited them, but age has a tricky way of sneaking up on people. The decline of a loved one’s physical and mental health often takes family members by surprise, especially if he or she seemed fine during the last visit. The key to this problem is staying aware of the small signs or problems that something may be wrong so that your family will be conscious of any decline in health and can properly prepare for the future which might be, in general, signs elderly need assisted living.
These are just a few of the most common signs that your parent or loved one may need more care than they’re getting now. Here are a few signs to be aware of when visiting:
- Disheveled clothing
- House and yard require maintenance
- Extreme mood swings or changes in mood
- Poor personal hygiene
- Dirty or severely cluttered house
- Low energy
- Trouble getting up from sitting
- Confusion when performing familiar tasks
- Weight loss or poor diet
- Trouble paying bills
- Forgetting to take medications
- Loss of interest in former hobbies
- Unexplained bruising
- Broken household items
Caregiving is usually the first step when you believe someone can’t meet their own needs. Spending more time with your loved one, taking care of their housekeeping or errands, and taking some responsibility over their financial wellbeing are some of the first few steps to caregiving. Over time, your loved one’s situation could deteriorate such that they can’t take care of many of the issues listed above, especially if they suffer from Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Caring for a loved one is an obligation we all feel. Your parents raised you, and you feel responsible for providing for them during their retirement and aging. Caring for your parents and possibly children of your own can take its toll, and your health is equally important. By now, over 44 million Americans “provide unpaid assistance and support to older people and adults with disabilities who live in the community,” according to a study by the Family Caregiver Alliance. Many caregivers have no formal training and receive little support as they care for loved ones and members of their community. These less-than-ideal situations can lead to greater physical and mental health problems for both parties.
Having a candid discussion together with your loved one about each of your needs can be a good place to start. You may have financial options depending on retirement planning and other benefits available to your loved one.
- Make sure your loved one is involved in the search. – The more that your parents are involved in the search process for the right assisted living facility, the better the results will be. Of course, you are most likely to do the legwork in the process, but having conversations about preferences and any wish list items that they may be looking for will help. It is also best to present them with a wide range of options to choose from.
- Determine what is possible. – Money is going to be a major deciding factor in the search for the right assisted living facility for many families. It is important that you and your family take look at your finances and decide what you can actually afford.
- Take tours of different facilities. – No amount of time spent looking at pictures, brochures, or floor plans can replace an in-person visit to a facility. It is important that you and your loved one schedule a visit to each of the communities that you are considering. It is a good idea to schedule your visit around a mealtime so that you may get an idea of the culture and community in the facility, as most of the residents will be moving about during these times.
- Make the right choice with your parent. – After completing tours of all of the possible facilities, it is important to weigh the pros and cons of each option. Make sure that your decision is one that best fits their needs and meets their wants. Once the decision has been made, it can be risky to procrastinate or delay making the move, as the delay can lead to medical issues and avoidable accidents.