Being a family caregiver of an older loved one comes with a lot of rewards. Helping others is one of the most fulfilling things to do. In the words of Booker T. Washington, “If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.”
While it is so important to help those around us, sometimes you will need others to help do the “lifting.” This is where senior care – and more specifically assisted living – comes in. Assisted living is designed to help older adults who need assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs); these include bathing, grooming, dressing, and more.
While it does not offer the exact same services that are found in nursing homes, it is still a way for seniors to receive the individualized care they need. This also helps them to stay as independent as possible while still receiving help.
So, how do you know if it is time to move your loved one to assisted living? In this blog, we will discuss five warning signs that you will want to be aware of.
1. Your loved one is having difficulty caring for themselves.
As people continue to grow older, they often need a little more help than usual with their everyday tasks. However, some older adults may find it very difficult to do many things on their own, and therefore, might need the help that comes with moving to an assisted living community.
For example, if your loved one is no longer able to complete basic tasks on their own such as cooking meals for themselves, cleaning, or paying their bills, it may be time for them to move to a community where these tasks will be taken care of for them. Those tasks are referred to as IADLs or Instrumental Activities of Daily Living.
2. Your loved one is frequently getting injured.
Has mom been frequently hospitalized for a fall or other injury? Can she no longer make her way around her home safely? This is a serious indication that she may not safely be able to live on her own anymore. More than anything, it is crucial that she is safe where she lives.
There is an important question to ask yourself in this scenario: If mom falls again, think about who will help her or how long it may be until she receives help. If you are not able to answer this confidently, it might be time to look into assisted living. With residential care, you can have more peace of mind knowing that there will be staff members nearby to help mom should anything happen.
3. Your loved one is experiencing the effects of isolation.
Senior Isolation is real and continues to affect many older adults, especially during this difficult time when many seniors cannot interact with family members or friends in the ways that they used to. Also, social isolation and loneliness are tied to a higher risk in individuals developing various physical and mental conditions.
With that being said, your loved one may benefit from the relationships they can make within an assisted living residence. Even if they cannot be as physically close to people as usual, many assisted living communities still host various activities where residents can gather together safely.
4. Your loved one suffers from medical conditions.
It is understandable that many seniors are not able to accomplish what they used to as they continue to grow older. In many cases, older adults may begin to develop chronic illnesses; conditions like this can include heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and more.
For some amount of time, you may be able to help take care of your loved one on your own, regardless of their chronic health conditions. However, if their condition begins to worsen, you may find it challenging to take care of them if they are no longer able to do many tasks on their own.
When considering assisted living services for your loved one, make sure to ask each community about the kind of medical care they offer (this is especially important to do during the time of COVID-19). You should be able to get a good understanding of what they can do for your loved one based on their needs.
5. You are experiencing caregiver burnout.
When was the last time you were able to relax without worrying about your loved one? Are you so stressed that you are unable to focus throughout the day or sleep at night? Anxiety, depression, and exhaustion are just a few signs of caregiver burnout. One of the most important things you can do as a caregiver is to receive help if you are overwhelmed with the number of responsibilities you have to do when taking care of your loved one.
There is nothing wrong with receiving caregiver support from family and friends when it comes to taking care of your loved one, and there is certainly nothing wrong with having to transition them to assisted living. Ultimately, moving them to a community could be the best decision for both of you.
Overall, your loved one’s quality of life is important. Knowing when to move your loved one to assisted living can be tricky. Of course, you can continue to care for them yourself in their family home or receive help from others or through home care.
However, there may come a time where having your loved one stay at home is not enough. They may need the additional support that comes with being a resident in senior housing.
While these are just a few of the signs you should look out for, there are many other ways to indicate that your loved one may need to make the transition to a senior living community. If you have questions about this, you may want to ask your loved one’s doctor and continue to look through caregiving resources. It is important that you are making the best decision for your loved one and that you receive advice from the experts.
If you are currently looking through assisted living options for your loved one, please take a look at our brochure to learn about our community. You can request a download here.
1. “What Is Assisted Living? – Assisted Living Defined.” Where You Live Matters, https://www.whereyoulivematters.org/assisted-living-defined/. Accessed 24 August 2020.
2. Hicks, Kristen. “5 Signs It’s Time for Assisted Living.” Senior Advisor, https://www.senioradvisor.com/blog/2015/12/5-signs-its-time-for-assisted-living/. Accessed 21 August 2020.
3. “What Are IADLs or the Instrumental Activities of Daily Living.” Assisted Living Today, https://assistedlivingtoday.com/blog/what-are-iadls/. Accessed 24 August 2020.
4. “20 Questions for Deciding If It’s Time to Move Your Loved One to Assisted Living.” ConsumerAffairs, https://www.consumeraffairs.com/health/time-for-assisted-living.html. Accessed 24 August 2020.
5. “Senior Isolation, Loneliness in Older People Pose Health Risks.” National Institute on Aging, https://www.nia.nih.gov/news/social-isolation-loneliness-older-people-pose-health-risks. Accessed 25 August 2020.
6. “Knowing When It May Be Time for Assisted Living.” Aging.com, https://aging.com/knowing-when-it-may-be-time-for-assisted-living/. Accessed 21 August 2020.
7. “What to Ask Assisted Living Facilities During Coronavirus.” AARP, https://www.aarp.org/caregiving/health/info-2020/coronavirus-assisted-living-questions.html. Accessed 21 August 2020.
8. “Caregiver Burnout: Symptoms and Treatment.” Healthline, https://www.healthline.com/health/health-caregiver-burnout. Accessed 25 August 2020.
9. “Moving to Assisted Living.” Caring.com, https://www.caring.com/senior-living/assisted-living/moving-to-assisted-living/. Accessed 21 August 2020.