Updated October 15, 2022 – It’s never easy to think about moving yourself or loved ones from their own home and into an assisted living facility. It’s a very difficult conversation to have for any family member.
Knowing when the right time is to begin this process is key in having a successful assisted living experience.
If you notice your loved one is having difficulty with any of the following activities, it may be time to consider assisted living.
Obvious red flags like a broken hip or a sudden downturn in health may speed up the decision-making process, but more often than not, there’s no one clear sign. However, there will be clues along the way that can help alert you that a change in living arrangements may be necessaryConsumeraffairs.com
These 17 common signs listed below are good indicators that it may be time for senior citizens to begin considering moving into an assisted living facility.
1. Changes In Behavior
Living with older adults who have dementia can be difficult, especially if they are verbally or physically abusive. Sometimes there’s a sudden change in behavior, sometimes it’s Sundown Syndrome and sometimes it’s just the personality of the senior exaggerated due to their illness.
Most of us would not have enough patience for this type of abuse and need help dealing with it on top our other daily tasks like cooking meals etc.
That’s where trained professionals at an assisted living facility can help. They know how best to deal – so you don’t feel overwhelmed at home anymore.
2. Bathing or Showering
Is your loved one is struggling to bathe or shower independently? Are they afraid of falling in the bathtub? Assisted living facilities have staff members who can help residents with bathing and showering.
This can be a huge relief for caregivers who may not have the time or patience to help with this task.
There are also grab bars and other safety features in assisted living showers to help prevent falls.
Grooming tasks such as brushing teeth and hair, shaving, and applying makeup can be difficult for seniors. Assisted living staff members can help residents with these tasks if needed.
Do you worry about your loved one falling when they try to transfer from a bed to a chair? Are they having trouble getting in and out of the car? Assisted living staff members can residents with transfers to prevent falls.
Is your loved one having trouble getting dressed? Do they need help picking out clothes that are comfortable and easy to put on? assisted living staff can help residents with dressing.
6. Eating and Meal Preparation
Is your loved one having trouble cooking meals? Are they losing interest in eating? Assisted living facilities have staff members who can help residents with meal preparation and eating.
They are provided fresh food 2 or 3 times a day, depending on the facility. Their nutritional needs will be overseen by a dietitian which is often more than they would get at home.
Is your loved one having trouble using the toilet independently? Do they need help with personal hygiene? Assisted living staff can help residents with toileting and personal hygiene.
Is your loved one having trouble walking? Do they need help with transferring from a bed to a chair? assisted living staff can help residents with mobility.
9. Chronic Medical Conditions
Many older adults living with health issues such as a chronic health condition (or more than one) often need more care than can be provided at home. An assisted living facility has the staff and training to help these seniors get the medical attention they need when they need it.
As seniors age, the likelihood they develop a chronic medical condition skyrockets. The AARP reported that more than 70 million people (aged 50 and older) have at least one chronic medical condition, and these can be debilitating issues like Alzheimer’s disease or heart disease.Aging.com
10. Frequent Falls
When you’re concerned about a loved one who has fallen and can’t get up on their own, it may be time to consider assisted living. These communities offer round-the clock monitoring so that caregivers don’t need constant access in order make sure everything is okay at all times!
11. Medication Management
Is your loved one having trouble remembering to take their medication? Do they need help organizing their medication? Assisted living staff can help residents with medication management as well as other medical needs.
12. Isolation and Loneliness
Is your loved one leaving their house less and less? Do you often find them in their favorite chair, alone, with the television on, perhaps in the dark? This could be the initial signs of depression due to isolation and loneliness. Assisted living facilities can provide the social interaction your loved one needs to combat these feelings.
Senior isolation is a common issue as many seniors lose their friends and loved ones to death or relocation. It’s important to watch for signs of isolation and loneliness in order to provide the necessary support.
My 100 year old mom-in-law often speaks of the sadness she feels about losing everyone that she has grown up with. It’s a burden many seniors live with every day.
13. Inability to Keep Up with Household Chores
Difficulty managing finances, cleaning, cooking, or doing laundry are all signs that assisted living may be necessary. An assisted living community can take care of all of these tasks for your loved one so they can focus on other things they enjoy.
14. Unsafe Living Conditions
If you’re worried about your loved one living alone and are noticing a decline in their safety, assisted living may be the best solution. Communities have emergency response systems as well as 24/7 staffing, which can give you peace of mind knowing that your loved one is safe and taken care of.
15. Slow Recovery From an Illness
If your elderly parent is experiencing a slow recovery from a prolonged illness or series of health conditions, it’s time to consider assisted living. You might want them in an environment that they find comfortable and suitable for their needs best.
16. Dementia Care
If your loved one is living with dementia and showing signs of poor hygiene, cognitive decline and memory loss, then assisted living staff can provide specialized care and support.
Read about the signs it’s time for memory care.
17. Family Circumstances and/or Dynamics
It may be that caring for a senior loved one is simply too difficult and imposes greater stress levels on the family than they can manage. There’s no shame in admitting this. Family dynamics may also play a large part in whether or not a senior can be properly cared for by their family.
If you are noticing any of these signs in your loved one, it might be time to consider assisted living. assisted living communities offer residents a safe, supportive environment where they can receive the help they need to live a comfortable, fulfilling life.
How Do You Know If My Parent Needs Assisted Living?
I remember working with many patients in assisted living facilities and I can’t recall any one who was upset about living there or regretted their move. Truth is, they made it wonderful for themselves simply by participating in as many of the activities as they possibly could.
With the rise in senior citizen populations, many people have started to live at assisted living facilities rather than traditional nursing homes.
These retirement communities provide a safe and secure environment for their residents as they age while also offering additional services like nutritious meals cooked by professional chefs daily or a nurse practitioner on call around-the clock for medical senior care.
As I mentioned above, if your loved one is having difficulty with any of the signs that I listed above, then assisted living could be the best option.
If your loved one is experiencing social isolation, assisted living can provide a supportive environment where they can make friends and feel connected. If you are noticing changes in your loved one’s mood or temperament, assisted living may be the answer.
All of these and more are signs that an assisted living community may be a better housing environment for you or a loved one. These facilities can offer an excellent quality of life for the seniors and peace of mind for family caregivers.
If you are questioning whether assisted living is the best option for yourself or an elderly parent, it is best to consult with a professional who can help you make the best decision for your loved one.
Who Is Appropriate For Assisted Living?
The assisted living population is quite diverse, with people of all ages and backgrounds calling assisted living communities home. In general, assisted living is designed for seniors who need help with everyday tasks like cooking, cleaning, and transportation, but who do not require constant nursing care.
That said, there are assisted living communities that specialize in caring for seniors with specific needs, like dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
If your loved one has a chronic condition or disease that requires special attention, you may want to look for an assisted living community that has experience caring for people with similar conditions.
What If Your Elderly Parent Refuses Assisted Living?
I won’t lie to you, this will not be an easy situation to handle. You may even have to abandon the idea at some point and let your elderly parent live their life their own way (as long as they are not cognitively impaired).
But, there are some things that you can try to do to intervene:
If your elderly parent refuses assisted living, try these methods:
- It’s very important that you listen to the other person. You can’t be pushy or aggressive because this will only create tension in a conversation.
- Talk about what your worries are about your elderly parents staying in their home.
- Always try to make your elderly parent feel that they have a choice. They are in control.
- Ask other family members and or close friends to help you.
- Visit other senior housing options just to give your parents an idea of what these places look like and what they offer.
- If all else fails, seek an elder care lawyer, a social worker or a geriatric care manager to help you.
You can read more about how to manage this situation here.
At What Age Do Most People Need Assisted Living?
Well, generally speaking, the minimum age that most assisted living facilities accept residents is somewhere between 60 and 65.
But that is not the age that most people go into assisted living. According to Episcopal Senior Life, 53% of residents are at least 85 years old.
How Long Do Most People Stay In Assisted Living?
On average, people stay in assisted living facilities for around two years. However, this figure can vary depending on the individual’s health and how well they adjust to their new living arrangement.
Some individuals may choose to remain in an assisted living facility for years if they have a supportive environment and access to quality care. As such, it is important to consider the needs of your loved one before making any decisions about their long-term care.
How Do I Choose an Assisted Living Community?
There is no one size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best assisted living community for your loved one will depend on their individual needs and preferences.
However, there are a few things you should keep in mind when choosing an assisted living community:
- Location: You’ll want to choose an assisted living community that is conveniently located near family and friends, as well as nearby stores, restaurants, and other amenities.
- Size: Assisted living communities come in a variety of sizes, from small homes with a handful of residents to large campuses with hundreds of residents. Consider your loved one’s needs and preferences when choosing a size.
- Services and amenities: Most assisted living communities offer basic services like meals, transportation, and housekeeping. Some also offer additional amenities like exercise classes , beauty and barber shops, and on-site medical care.
- Cost: Assisted living can be expensive, so it’s important to compare costs before making a decision. Be sure to also check if your loved one’s insurance will cover any of the cost.
If you’re considering assisted living for your loved one, here are a few signs that it might be time to make the move:
- They’re having difficulty caring for themselves: If your loved one is struggling to take care of basic needs like bathing, dressing, and eating, assisted living might be a good option.
- They’re isolated and lonely: If your loved one is spending most of their time alone at home, assisted living can help them stay social and connected.
- They’re experiencing health problems: If your loved one’s health is starting to decline, assisted living can provide them with the care and support they need.
Assisted living can be a great option for seniors who need a little extra help. It can be expensive, so it’s important to compare costs before making a decision. Be sure to also check if your loved one’s insurance will cover any of the cost.
Assisted Living Amenities
Most assisted living communities offer a wide range of amenities and services, including:
- 24-hour staff availability
- Three meals per day plus snacks
- Housekeeping and laundry services
- Planned social and recreational activities
- Transportation services
- Beauty/barber shop
- Security features
- Assistance with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, and grooming
From help with daily routines to providing a wide range of social opportunities that ward off loneliness, the services and amenities at assisted living communities can help seniors live their best lives.Aplaceformom.com
Some assisted living communities also offer specialized services, such as memory care or skilled nursing care. Be sure to ask about all the available amenities and services when you are considering an assisted living community for your loved one.
Not all assisted living communities are created equal. The level of care and services offered can vary greatly from one community to the next, so it’s important to do your research before making a decision. Here are a few questions to ask when touring assisted living communities:
- What kind of assistance is available?
- What are the staff qualifications?
- How often is medical staff on site?
- What is the policy on visitors?
- What are the dining options?
- Is there a social or activity program?
- What is the cost?
Here’s a great article we wrote on 34 questions to ask when selecting an assisted living facility.
I would recommend to visit several assisted living facilities to get a good list of what each of them can provide for yourself or a senior loved one.
What Are The Disadvantages Of Assisted Living?
There are a few potential disadvantages to assisted living.
First, it can be expensive. The average cost of assisted living in the United States is anywhere between $3,500 and $9,100 per month.
According to Genworth Financial, the national median cost of assisted living facilities in 2021 was $4,500 per month or $54,000 annually in the United States.seniorliving.org
That said, the cost of assisted living varies widely depending on location, type of facility, and level of care required.
Second, assisted living facilities normally do not provide medical care like a nursing home would.
Third, some people may feel isolated or lonely in an assisted living facility. This is particularly true if they are not able to get out and about on their own or if they don’t have many visitors.
Fourth, there may be a waiting list to get into an assisted living facility. This can be particularly true of facilities that are in high demand or have a limited number of openings.
Fifth, it’s important to know that these facilities do have the right to evict someone for a variety of reasons so please make sure to check the section in the contract about Involuntary Transfers which should give you an idea of what reasons they look for.
Books To Help You
Here are some books that may be able to help you review and learn about assisted living facilities.
- Navigating Assisted Living: The Transition Into Senior Living by Kristi Stalder
- Assisted Living: An Insider’s View by Carol Netzer
- Choosing an Assisted Living Facility by Lori-Ann Rickard
When Is Assisted Living Not Appropriate?
Not everyone is appropriate for assisted living. People who require constant medical care or who are a danger to themselves or others are not good candidates for assisted living. If your loved one is experiencing any of the following, assisted living is likely not the right option:
- A need for constant medical care
- A history of violence
- A serious mental illness
- Addiction problems
- Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease
It is best to speak with a geriatric care manager or your loved one’s doctor to determine if assisted living is the right choice.
When Should Dementia Patients Go Into Care?
The answer to this question is difficult, as each situation is unique. However, there are certain signs that may indicate it is time to consider assisted living or another type of care facility.
If your loved one with dementia is exhibiting any of the following behaviors, it may be time to seek professional help:
- Wandering off and becoming lost
- Experiencing delusions or hallucinations
- Increasing difficulty with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, and using the bathroom
- Exhibiting aggressive behavior
- Exhibiting sexualized behavior
- Losing weight or eating less
- Sleeping more during the day and less at night
If you are concerned about your loved one’s safety or well-being, assisted living may be the best option. Assisted living facilities can provide 24-hour supervision and care, as well as access to activities and socialization opportunities.
Assisted living can be a great option for seniors who are starting to experience problems with activities of daily living, or who are no longer safe living on their own.
If you are concerned about your loved one, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. There are many assisted living facilities that can provide 24-hour care and supervision.
How Do You Prepare An Elderly Parent For Assisted Living?
When it comes to helping an elderly parent transition into assisted living, preparation is key.
The first step is to have a conversation with your parent and make sure they understand the benefits of assisted living and how it will help improve their quality of life. It’s important to listen carefully to their concerns and address each one thoughtfully.
It’s also important to have a plan in place for the move. Talk with your parent and other family members about what items they’d like to take with them and make sure that there is enough space in the new living arrangements.
Additionally, you can help them organize their belongings ahead of time so that the process is much smoother.
You can also help your parent take advantage of the many activities and services that assisted living facilities provide.
This could include helping them get involved in group activities, find hobbies to keep themselves busy, or even go on outings with other residents. It’s important to remember that this transition is a positive thing for your parent and it’s important to make it as enjoyable and stress-free as possible.
You may also need to help your parent create a plan for managing their finances in assisted living. Start by being sure that they understand their income sources, such as social security and other investments.
Then, ensure that your parent has a budget for their new lifestyle including new expenses such as rent, meals, activities, transportation, and healthcare.
The assisted living staff may be able to help with this process if needed.
It is also important to help your parent prepare for the emotional aspects of moving into a new home. Talk about their concerns and fears, as well as any changes that are difficult to let go of.
With adequate preparation and a positive attitude, you can help your parent make the most of assisted living.