One of the most challenging decisions is knowing when the time is right to move an aging loved one into a senior housing facility. Sooner is better than later. Most seniors want to stay in their homes. They are used to their freedom. They feel comfortable in their home. Unfortunately, staying home may be unsafe for an aging loved one.
What are the signs that a senior needs help?
One of the most prominent signs is help with their Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) or Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs). ADLs include assistance with ambulating, feeding, dressing, personal hygiene, continence, or toileting. Another sign is IADLs which are cognitive issues and includes transportation, shopping, meal preparation, managing finances, housecleaning, home maintenance, communication with others, and medication management.
Signs it’s time to move; someone needs help with their ADLs or IADLs.
Health declines such as a fall, stroke, or heart attack may make it easily visible that a person needs help. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and the decline might be more subtle. It is essential to be involved with your aging loved one. Go to their house and see how they are doing. Watch them as they walk around to ensure the place is still safe. Contact a Geriatric Care Coordinator for an evaluation and address any safety concerns.
Has the housecleaning declined? Were they once tidy, and now their house is sloppy?
Does the yard look neglected? Is it overgrown?
Has the maintenance of the home declined?
Mail out of control? Are there more piles of paperwork?
Do you notice a lot of un-open bills or past due notices?
Do their pets look neglected and not cared for?
Signs that help is needed; visible changes in the person.
Has their hygiene changed for the worse? Does it look like they do not bathe weekly? Does it look like they are not brushing their hair or teeth?
Have they picked up some unhealthy habits?
Does it look like they are losing weight, and there are concerns about the person’s eating habits?
Has their driving changed for the worse? Has their driving competency declined?
Does the loved one get lost or disoriented outside of their home? Are they relying on a computer map to get around?
Does it appear they are having difficulty managing their medication? Why? Can they not afford the medication? Do they forget to take the medication? Are they confused about the medication, such as what to take and the instructions?
Address red flags; changes in loved one’s personality.
Senior isolation can be lonely. Loneliness can lead to depression, so you must check on your aging loved one to ensure they are fine. If you notice a change in someone’s personality, uncharacteristic moodiness, or aggression, address it with their doctor. Another example would be if the person makes excuses to stay home and not be involved, that might be a sign that something else is going on. More red flags to address are changes in one’s morality; for example, their decision-making or questionable social behavior has declined.
Be aware of any abovementioned concerns. If you notice a decline, evaluate if your aging loved one should stay home with a caregiver or move into a senior housing facility. There are many options, so learn which might be the best fit.