For some people, it is never the right moment to start discussing the option of moving an elderly loved one to an assisted living facility. This is especially hard when the respective person is your parent. After all, they made sacrifices to look after you when you were completely dependent on them. However, looking after a baby is completely different to looking after an elderly person.
You are busy raising your own children and working to earn money to take care of your family – including the elderly loved one. As a part of this care, you want to provide your elderly family members with the best quality of life in their golden years. And part of this is finding the best assisted living facility for them.
But when do you know that it is time to make the decision? These are the most important signs to look for:
1. An Unkempt Appearance
If your elderly relative appears disheveled or lacking personal hygiene, this is a clear sign that they are having difficulty with the activities of daily living. Specialists recognize two types of these activities:
- Basic – ability to move freely, feed, dress, maintain personal hygiene, continence and toileting
- Instrumental – ability to handle transportation and shopping, personal finances, home maintenance and communication with others.
Any difficulty in performing these tasks indicates the fact that the person requires someone else’s assistance. An assisted living facility has specialized staff trained to provide help with activities of daily living in a competent, efficient and gentle manner, with the utmost respect for the person’s dignity.
2. Weight Loss
A sudden drop in weight means that your loved one is no longer able to cook and feed themselves properly. This is a very serious issue, because it can have a significant negative impact on the person’s health. Poor nourishment is associated with a reduced function of the immune system. In turn, this leads to repeated infections with viruses, including a heightened risk of catching the flu or the COVID virus.
3. Loss of Interest in Hobbies
Everyone has hobbies, from getting together with friends to watch the game on TV to gardening, solving crossword puzzles or baking. If you notice that your loved one has stopped doing the activities that they used to enjoy, it may mean one of the following:
- They have lost the group of friends that enjoyed the same hobbies
- They feel physically unable to pursue these hobbies
- They may display a symptom of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
In each of these situations, this is a warning sign that your elderly relative no longer enjoys their life and may be unable to remain independent for a long time. Thus, you should start looking for an assisted living facility.
4. They Start Having Financial Problems
The elderly can become victims for financial predators. They appear in their lives as helpful neighbors or friends they met at shopping, but actually rob them blindly. If your elderly parent or relative is constantly unable to justify the lack of money or remember how they spent it, they may be victims of such as unscrupulous person.
Or, their cognitive functions may be declining, causing them to have difficulty keeping track of their finances. In either case, an assisted living facility is the right place for them.
5. They Become Isolated
Loneliness is dangerous for elderly people. It increases the risk of cognitive decline and depression. This is made worse by the realization that their lifelong friends have passed away. In an assisted living facility, they can make new friends from the same age group, sharing the same life experiences, tastes and hobbies.
This is the best thing you can do for someone you love dearly – give them the gift of a full life in a place where they are safe, looked after, and where they can continue to socialize.
6. They Need Constant Reminders to Take Medication
Few people reach old age without the need to take medication for various conditions – especially for heart disease. As long as your elderly loved one takes their medication according to the schedule, they can look forward to many more years of life.
But if you find that you constantly need to call or text them to remind them to take their pills, you should also start considering moving them into an assisted living facility. There, kind and competent staff will make sure that they take their medication every day and do not skip any essential treatment.
7. They Become Aggressive
Unexplained aggressive behavior is one of the signs of dementia. These types of outbursts – physical, verbal or both – have nothing to do with the other person. You are not doing anything wrong. It is just an effect of this terrible disease.
Staff at an assisted living facility is trained to deal with these outbursts with professionalism and kindness – protecting themselves as well the elderly person from harm. Your loved one will be properly cared for, and you will be able to visit them at moments when their true personality is present, continuing to build positive memories.