There is no step-by-step template that tells people when it’s time to move to assisted living. However, certain signs may indicate that it’s time to consider alternative living arrangements, especially if the older adult has difficulty with important activities of daily living without significant support and assistance. Some challenges people can face as they age include:
Loss of Vision: Vision can deteriorate to the point where reading is difficult and the ability to navigate within the household is impaired. Errors in taking medications or falls caused by failure to see objects in the paths may occur. Driving may no longer be an option.
Poor Balance: Older adults may have a tendency to imbalance, putting them at risk for falls. Repeated episodes are a signal that the person may benefit from an environment that minimizes the risk of falling.
Memory Loss; Forgetfulness: Simple matters, such as remember to turn off the stove, can become safety hazards. Management of medications, remembering when and how much to take, could also become a risk factor.
Fatigue: Many older adults reach a point when they are no longer able to consistently care for themselves or their homes. Meal preparation, home maintenance, and personal care can become overwhelming.
Loneliness: When regular interaction with others becomes infrequent, older adults may lose their sense of involvement and motivation for activity.
Dementia: When Alzheimer’s disease or dementia is diagnosed, it is often time to consider alternative care to maintain safety and quality of life.
Physician Prescribed: At times, an older person’s physician will determine whether or not he/she can be left at home alone or unattended due to health conditions that require constant monitoring.
Is itime to consider moving into assisted living?Perhaps the best advice is to follow your heart. The prospect of moving from a known situation to an unknown situation may cause the older adult to worry about loss of control and independence. The best scenario is a joint decision. Families and potential residents should visit communities together to determine the type of community that best suits their needs. For family members forced to make a decision for their loved one, such as in the case of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, the burden of responsibility can seem immense.
The good news is that most older adults, once they weather the upheaval of transition, report that assisted living has offered them enhanced quality of life.
Click here to download a checklist of more signs and situations that may help in your decision-making process.