When a parent or other senior family member begins to show signs that they are struggling to stay independent, loved ones often wonder and worry when it is time to step in. The desire to help a senior loved one maintain their dignity and their independence can conflict with the goal of keeping them safe.
To help you recognize when it may be time for a senior to consider moving to an assisted living community, we created this list of warning signs to look for in your aging family member.
6 Signs an Aging Loved One Needs Assisted Living
- Condition of the Home: Is a previously tidy senior loved one letting their laundry and trash pile up? Are housekeeping chores being neglected? These are often some of the earliest signs an older adult is struggling and may need a helping hand around the house.
- Finances in Disarray: Struggling to manage household finances is another early warning signal. It can also be one of the early warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease. Does your loved one have stacks of unopened mail on the desk or counter? Are creditors calling about past due bills? Have they overdrawn their checking account? These can be signs something isn’t right.
- Medication Errors: Mistakes with medication management is one of the leading reasons older adults are sent to hospital emergency rooms. According to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, medication errors cause harm to at least 1.5 million people every year. The more medicines a senior takes, the greater their risk for error. You can compare the pills left in each prescription bottle against the date and original number of pills on the label to see how they are managing. Too many or too few is a sign they are struggling.
- Personal Hygiene: Has a normally tidy older loved one been showing up in dirty or disheveled clothing? Is their appearance not what you’ve always known it to be? Are they wearing clothing inappropriate for the time of day or season of the year? These are all warning signs to take seriously.
- Unintentional Change in Weight: Menu planning, grocery shopping and cooking can be more challenging with aging. Problems arranging transportation and carrying heavy food bags are just a few of the reasons why. These issues can lead an older adult to turn to fast foods and frozen dinners at mealtime. Most of these foods, however, are high in sodium and fat and low in nutritional value. Check your senior loved one’s refrigerator, freezer and trash to determine what they are really eating every day.
- Balance Problems: Falls pose a serious health risk to seniors. They remain the leading cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries in adults over the age of 65. The home environment can often be the culprit. Many older houses weren’t designed to support older adults. Is your senior loved one a little unsteady on their feet? Do they seem to be struggling to rise from a chair? Are stairs becoming difficult to manage? These can a signal a senior is at risk for falls.
Assisted Living in Ohio, Michigan and Illinois
If these warning signs sound familiar, it may be time to begin investigating senior living options for your aging family member. The supportive environment of an assisted living community combined with the opportunity for friendship and life enrichment can be the ideal solution.