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11 Signs It Might Be Time for Assisted Living

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A senior male in a blue collared shirt with a wooden cane fell on the ground.

Because moving into a senior living community is such a big step, it requires a lot of thought and planning. If you or your loved one are considering moving into a senior living community, you may be wondering when you should begin looking.

Some seniors are eager to relocate to senior living communities. Others are more reserved or hesitant. Family members often wonder what signs to look for when deciding whether or not to move a loved one into assisted senior living.

If you are concerned about a loved one living alone and being able to properly care for themselves, or if you are a caregiver who believes it is time for a change, the following information may help. Here are 11 signs it may be time for you or a loved one to move into assisted living.

  1. Memory Problems

Dementia affects approximately 10% of people over the age of 65, and the risk increases with age. If you notice that a loved one’s memory isn’t what it used to be, and they’re not keeping up with daily responsibilities like paying bills on time, you might want to think about senior living with memory care.

If your loved one has been diagnosed with dementia, you can make the necessary arrangements as soon as possible. The sooner someone with dementia moves into a community, the easier the transition will be.

  1. Declining Personal Hygiene

Simple tasks can become more difficult as we age. Personal hygiene can be particularly difficult for many seniors due to limited mobility and, in some cases, energy.

Seniors may lose interest in or completely disregard their personal hygiene and grooming due to depression, isolation, dementia, a fear of falling, or medication side effects.

To determine if your loved one is struggling with personal hygiene, you can ask these questions:

  • Are they still wearing the clothes they wore the day before, perhaps even dirty pants or a shirt?
  • Is their hair frequently unkempt?
  • Is there a detectable body odor where there was none previously?
  • Is your loved one grooming as usual, or have they developed a habit of not getting ready for the day?
  1. Financial Struggles

Many older people struggle to meet all of their financial obligations. Bank and insurance bills can accumulate because seniors are either unwilling or unable to pay them. Dementia, for example, can impair their ability to plan ahead and deal with complex numbers.

This can cause issues when filing taxes or paying multiple bills at the same time. Seniors are particularly vulnerable to financial scams perpetrated by telemarketers or family members. These scams can put seniors in financially precarious situations, preventing them from caring for themselves.

  1. Frequent Injuries

If you or your loved one has had a fall or other medical scare, it can be one of the most concerning signs for family members. Was someone there to help?

What was the outcome? If your loved one was unable to receive proper assistance promptly, and the prospect of another fall looms larger, this can be a sign that you should consider seeking assistance in an assisted living community where they can live safely.

A senior male is sitting on a couch with a food tray on his lap with a plate of healthy meals served by a male caregiver in an assisted living facility.
  1. Unhealthy Eating Habits

If a person is unable to cook, their eating habits are likely to suffer as well. Good nutrition is essential for maintaining mental and physical health.

Moving to a long-term care community will provide your loved one with regular and nutritious meals prepared specifically for their needs.

  1. Trouble Keeping up with Medications

Have you noticed that your loved one isn’t taking their medications on time? If so, investigate why. Is it a financial issue, or do they simply forget to take it? If they forget to take their medication, assisted living can help. The staff can ensure that they take the medication they need.

  1. Agitation or Mood Swings

Agitated behavior may be associated with confusion and dementia, indicating that your loved one should consider moving to a senior living community.

Pacing, insomnia, or aggression—when a person lashes out verbally or tries to hit or hurt someone—can all be signs of agitation.

  1. Isolation

Seniors often find it difficult to continue driving. As a result, they go out less, which can cause them to feel lonely and isolated.

If your loved one is exhibiting symptoms of depression and is feeling isolated, it may be time to start talking about whether it’s time for assisted living. Communities provide a variety of activities as well as opportunities for social interaction—it could be exactly what they need to make some new friends.

  1. Loss of a Partner

Losing a spouse, partner, or close friend has a variety of consequences that family members should be aware of.

It’s vital to be there for them during this difficult time and to carefully monitor their reactions to the loss. Take note of any changes in attitude or behavior. If someone is becoming unmotivated to the point of serious concern, seek help from a local counseling service.

Living on your own can be difficult after many years of living with someone else. Considering a move to assisted living can help surround your loved one with a sense of community and belonging.

  1.  Getting Lost in Familiar Places

It isn’t a normal part of aging for your parent or loved ones to get lost in familiar places (such as going to and from the grocery store), and it could be potentially unsafe.

Seniors in the early to middle stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease may wander because they are afraid or confused about their surroundings. If this happens, it may mean that the disease has progressed beyond the point where your loved one can live independently.

  1. Always Low on Energy

Chronic conditions, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease can disrupt healthy sleep patterns, keeping your loved one awake at night and drowsy during the day. Sleep is essential for both cognitive and physical functioning, and failing to get enough z’s can intensify a person’s condition. 

If it seems like your loved one’s lack of sleep is negatively impacting their well-being, you should consider providing more supervision or assistance that’s available in an assisted living community.

Getting Ready for Assisted Living

We work hard to foster a social community where our members can thrive, as well as a safe, trustworthy environment where they can form long-lasting friendships. Our team members care, and they uphold our value of making everyone feel welcome, safe, and cared for as they carry out their specific responsibilities.

Consider booking a tour at Serenity South if you’re looking for a reputable senior living community where your loved one will be well-cared for while still being able to participate in activities they enjoy. We would be happy to assist you with the transition.

Written by Deborah Shane

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