Is it time for your parent to enter an assisted living facility?
There are many signs that indicate it may be time for your parent to get more help. While an emotionally gut-wrench situation, it can be a welcome relief to them and you as the adult children.
Here are some quick signs that it may be time for assisted living:
Losing things/memory loss
Keep an eye out for your parents leaving a stove/oven on after cooking. Or are they not taking necessary medication or getting lost on a drive to the store would be good signs that they are not as sharp as they need to be.
Personal beauty/up keep
Difficulty or lack of interest in bathing, grooming or dressing can signal the need for personal care assistance. Seniors often have difficulty admitting this or asking for help, so talk to your loved one and watch out for any visible changes. For example, a person who had always crisply ironed shirts who's now in a stained sweatshirt may lack the strength for buttons or may have lost the strength for managing an ironing board and iron.
Have your loved ones taken a fall, had a medical scare, or get in a car collision (or worse)? Have the accidents been increasing in frequency and maybe even damage level? This may be a sign they should be seeking assisted living. Have the number of dents on the car increasing? In the home: keep an eye out for burnt food, clothes or appliances. Fire is a grave risk for seniors.
Withdrawing from friends and regular activities because of declining health, embarrassment over memory or personal care issues, or lack of mobility, can lead to isolation, loneliness and even depression in seniors. Are they gaining too many friends? Are they not mentioning any of their friends? Be aware of fraudsters and scammers! Also ask their neighbors and friends to see if they notice anything.
Check out their refrigerator; is there lots of stale or expired foods. Look for signs that food is not only old but that this is unnoticed -- mold, sour milk that's still used, or expiration dates well past due. How about multiples of the same packaged foods such as 12 bottles o ketchup or 3 jugs of milk. Are there too many frozen dinners and not enough fresh produce? Has the kitchen and bathrooms been getting filthy? Has the landscaping been neglected? What about trash cans? Also check their mail pile and mail box to see if they have been keeping up with bills, notices and letters. Are there too many magazines and too many charities who have thanked them for donations? Perhaps they are not managing their money well.
Physical limitations/medical issues
Problems with movement and balance can lead to a fall, which can have other health consequences. If your loved one expresses a fear of falling or has a history of physical issues, you may want to begin exploring assisted living options.
As a suggestion, take a trip in a car with them to see how they are driving. This can be a great way to see how their mental and emotional state is in many random events.
By watching, listening, feeling and smelling you can see if assisted living is right now for your parent. Give them a hug to get up close and notice any things amiss. Stand far away from them to see how they are walking/holding/navigating their surroundings.
Rest assured there are many different plans and methods of taking care of your parents.